Week 3: All is Fair Read-Along

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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!

All Is Fair

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Iris, comes to terms with her new status in Fae-touched society and seeks others who feel just as restricted by its outdated social rules.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…

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schedule

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

Questions

1. What do you think the fae could be breeding people for? And why Cathy and Will?

Mogsy: Finding out that the fae might be trying to breed people was disturbing, but sadly not a surprise. I’d been contemplating these questions since last week, ever since I became convinced this all had to do with Cathy and Will’s future child. I don’t really know why the two of them, though. And why a son? If we presume that the fae wouldn’t be bothered to do anything unless it benefited them, I started working at the problem backwards. What poses the most threat to the fae? The Sorcerers and their Arbiters? The Elemental Court? Maybe they are trying to breed a “Chosen One” to be a champion against their enemies? I really have no idea here.

2. Cathy’s third wish starts to provide some hope right when things look most desperate. Do you think she has a shot? Will the book group end up being of any help?

Mogsy: I thought it was really bizarre how her third wish suddenly “unlocked” just as she had her epiphany about herself. While it made sense for her silencing curse to break, I call bullshit on the ease of getting Carter on her side, whether or not that was indeed an effect of her wish as well. I guess if the wish also granted her these miraculous powers of persuasion, then yes, maybe she has a shot at getting help from the book group? It would feel a bit too easy though.

3. Will’s landed in some dire straits. Do you think he’ll be able to wiggle out of it? Do you want him too?

Mogsy: He’ll probably wiggle out of it. Unfortunately. We’ve always known him for a self-serving egotistical bastard, even without the fae pulling his strings, and so this section was simply classic Will being Will. I was so irritated with him this week because he all but admitted he was wrong, and the least he could do was an innocent man’s name. Honestly, Margritte could have demanded more, and she certainly had the right to. That he refused to do even the barest minimum asked of him is so disappointing. As far as I’m concerned, he deserved what was coming to him. I say let him rot, but he’ll probably get out somehow.

4. So much has been revealed about the Elemental Court. Do you think Sam’s making the right decisions? Will he be able to use his new power to create some change?

Mogsy: While his heart is in the right place, I doubt Sam’s preachy, haphazard attitude is going to get him anywhere with the Court, as he’s barely getting anywhere with me at the moment. I think until he learns the ropes and finds out exactly what he’s into, not to mention pull his act together so we can all take him seriously, he’s just going to keep spinning his wheels.

5. Any other thoughts?

Mogsy: Speaking of the Elemental Court, I still don’t understand them fully. The way the explanations are thrown together right now seem so hokey. And is what happened with Lord Iron an allegory for “power corrupts”? Could we expect to see Sam gradually change into the jaded and callous figure like his predecessor, or is there really something about him that makes him immune to those effects? If so, might that resistance have anything to do with his ability to shape iron, unlike those who are good with art or engineering or anything like that?

I also wonder at a possible alliance between Cathy and Margritte. Their meeting was super awkward, and it seems unlikely that their relationship would improve once Cathy finds out what Margritte has done with Will, but what if they in fact team up to pressure Will into joining their cause, in exchange for his freedom? Cathy has always been frustrated at Will’s lack of support when it comes to bringing feminism to the Nether, and if she ever finds out about him drugging her, or about Amelia and the baby, or any of the other crap he’s been up to behind her back, I doubt she’d still stick up for him.

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6 Comments on “Week 3: All is Fair Read-Along

  1. Given how far along we are I’m starting to wonder if half of these threads will be tied up – that being said book 4 is at least on the horizon. I really haven’t got a grip on the elementals at all and I wonder if all of these threads are going to come together or whether there are some red herrings. I really don’t understand the ‘baby’ thing. I’m a big puzzled mess at the moment and looking forward to a few ‘ahh’ moments coming up!
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I raised an eyebrow at how easily Cathy suddenly talked all her staff around. We’d been given numerous examples of how thoroughly brainwashed they were, but she mentions wages and workers’ rights and suddenly they’re lining up behind her. I have decided to assume that the wish is clearing the way for her, but that seems an awfully powerful deux ex machina cop-out in a way.

    Still mulling over Will and Cathy’s son. If we accept that Cathy’s unique in wanting to challenge the Nether, perhaps the pressure to have a son (not just a child) is because it’s assumed a child will inherit her stubbornness and vision, and a son will have the freedom to do something about it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly – I’m going to be annoyed if things turn out all deus ex machina cop out-like. I really hope it wouldn’t, because all that build-up we’ve been given for Cathy’s story would be completely wasted in my eyes.

      And with regards to the child, I can see where Cathy’s genes would be advantageous to have in a child…but I have to say I’m skeptical of what Will could bring to the table lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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