Week 2: All is Fair Read-Along
Our read-along of The Split Worlds series continues, and this month we’re diving into the third book All Is Fair! If you’re interested in joining this Read-Along, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.
With thanks to Coolcurry for the read-along banner!
Caught in the insidious designs of powerful puppet-masters and playing a life-or-death game for control, Cathy and her comrades face their greatest challenge yet: changing the balance of power in the Split Worlds.
Now at the heart of the Londinium Court, deceit and murder track Will’s steps as he assumes his new role as Duke. Faced with threats to his throne and his life, the consequences of his bloody actions are already coming back to haunt him…
Meanwhile, Cathy, wrestling with the constraints of the Agency and Dame Iris, comes to terms with her new status in Fae-touched society and seeks others who feel just as restricted by its outdated social rules. As Max works with Cathy to uncover the horrors that underpin Fae-touched society, he bears witness as the final blow is struck against the last Sorcerers in Albion…
Week 1: Monday 4th July, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Monday 11th July, Chapters 7-14, hosted by Hisham El-Far
Week 3: Monday 18th July, Chapters 15-22, hosted by The Illustrated Page
Week 4: Monday 25th July, Chapters 23-End, hosted by x + 1
1. We finally meet the Sorcerer of Mercia (Rupert?) – He is VERY different to Ekstrand. Not only does he seem younger and more adaptable to the modern world, he seems comfortable working with scholars from and In the Nether! As we compare and contrast the two Sorcerers, what does this say about Ekstrand – and does it change our views of his actions, behavior and decisions? Is he completely bonkers?
Mogsy: So I was pretty intrigued by the theories I saw last week that Ekstrand might be behind all the murders, and the thought had crossed my mind as well, though the whys and the hows remained elusive. I have to say the evidence is pretty damning against him right now, especially laid out like that by Margritte. Still, I have my doubts that it’s that simple.
For one, I am skeptical of the Ekstrand-Iris conspiracy theory; I think there’s a better chance of him simply being bonkers and paranoid. Meeting the Sorcerer of Mercia has shown us that not all of them are like Ekstrand. While Rupert’s certainly eccentric, he’s no more unusual than anyone who has become taken with Mundanus society, much like Cathy. According to Max, however, Ekstrand has been progressively becoming more unhinged, and after this week I think he may have really lost it.
2. Cornelius and Amelia have been well and truly rumbled – Will knows how badly he’s been manipulated by the siblings, and exactly how! Do you think that either or both of the siblings might bounce back somehow? What about Will and Amelia’s baby? Did Amelia benefit inadvertently from the “help” Will received from Lord Iris’s faerie? If Amelia benefited, Why didn’t Cathy?
Mogsy: I can’t tell you how much I abhor the Rosa siblings, I sincerely hope they don’t bounce back! But knowing Amelia and the way she operates, she probably has an ace up her sleeve. She’ll probably end up blackmailing Will or something, by threatening to tell Cathy everything or worse, knowing that a bombshell like her pregnancy would destroy whatever fragile trust the couple has built so far.
As for the baby, I’m not sure. I do anticipate that the Lords Iris and Poppy would be very angry if they ever find out, especially since it is speculated that their grand plan revolves around a son conceived by Will and Cathy (perhaps Amelia might find some way to use that against Will?) I have no idea why the faerie’s “help” benefited Amelia and not Cathy, maybe it was a “one-time” use charm and Will blew it on Amelia? Er, no pun intended…
3. Skullduggery and Subterfuge! Sam has uncovered Leanne’s secrets and mission – Cathy is unearthing the secrets and like minded thinkers that Miss Rainer has kept hidden. Margritte and Bartholomew seem to have been likely allies to Cathy’s cause – is it possible Lord Iris/Poppy and the other Fae are Intentionally manipulating events to keep the current status quo/gender in-equality in Londinium? If So, to what end? As for Sam – what is he going to do with his new knowledge about Leanne or her findings?
Mogsy: Bartholomew’s death was unfortunate, but I don’t think he and Margritte were intentionally removed because they were too progressive for Nether society; it’s more likely that they were just collateral damage of whatever machinations Lord Iris and Poppy have planned for Will and Cathy. I have a feeling the fae are far too complacent to worry about the status quo in society; instead I think this has everything to do with the son they so desperately want Will and Cathy to conceive. Is this child some kind of “chosen one” or something? Seriously, this thread is what’s bothering me the most.
As for Sam, I know I didn’t have much sympathy for him in the first book, but I’m slowly coming around. I have to wonder though, why in the hell didn’t Leeane tell Sam what she was up to? It’s one thing to want to protect your husband from the dangerous things you have going on, but as far as we know this as been going on for years and years, almost right after they got married. She knew her secrets were chiseling away at their marriage and yet continued on with her subterfuge? I’m sorry, but the right thing to do would have been to either trust Sam and come clean with him, or end things with him the moment she realized she was deliberately driving a wedge between them. But she let it go on, and Sam had to go through all the worries and heartbreak. I feel bad for ranting, since Leeane did end up paying the ultimate price, but I just couldn’t help feeling rattled when I got to the part with the warehouse and her letters. All those years of writing to Sam and pouring her heart out, and for what?
4. Where do you think the main characters are going to go now? Will Cathy meet Rupert? Will Rupert destroy Ekstrand? Will any more/new hidden players in this drama come into the center stage?
Mogsy: I don’t think this peace between Cathy and Will is going to last. Will seemed pretty dismissive of Cathy’s dreams when she told him her plans to bring gender equality to Nether society, but I think that’s just one of many things that could drive them apart. There’s also the silencing spell the Agency cast on Cathy, and the matter of Amelia and the baby. Plus, we mustn’t forget when Will drugged Cathy. I still think that’s going to come out someday and be the ultimate powder keg, because it’s going to make Cathy realize that Will’s no different than her parents.
I also think Cathy will meet Rupert (or they should anyway, if for no other reason than the fact they’re such kindred spirits) but I have my doubts that it’ll happen quickly. No idea what’s going to happen to Ekstrand and Max and the gargoyle at this point. I imagine Max will keep working for the sorcerer; until he realizes Ekstrand has gone off the deep end, I doubt he’ll suspect anything. As for Sam, I think he’s going to find out that Lord Iron has been yanking his chain. I really don’t trust that guy, he’s probably got his eye on Sam as his next victim.
And who knows which other characters will come out of the woodwork at this point?! Things are getting so twisty. I did enjoy Margritte as a new POV though, and her interactions with Rupert.
5. So much happened in this weeks chapters It was hard just limiting my questions to the above – What did you find to be the most interesting event/revelation? Or is there anything else you want to talk about?
Mogsy: Yes, SO much has happened in this section, I wish I’d thought to take notes on everything I wanted to talk about. But, considering how much I wrote this week, I think I got most of my questions/speculations down. Like I said, for me the most interesting revelation was Cathy and Will’s talk about why they think Lord Iris and Lord Poppy paired them together. Cathy brings up a good point: the two of them have centuries to settle down and start a family, so why are the fae rushing them to have a child like RIGHT THIS INSTANT? What’s so special about the two of them, and what will be so special about their son?
I’m also glad that Cathy found Miss Rainer’s secret group. She now has a time and a place to show up to and meet like-minded women like her, and I can’t wait to see how that turns out. Also, as much as I can’t stand Will, I cheered for him this week when he chewed out Amelia. There’s been a complete turnaround on my interests this week; it used to be that I couldn’t care less about the drama in Nether society, but things have gotten really crazy these last couple of weeks and now I’m more hooked on Cathy and Will’s story lines than I am on Max’s or Sam’s.