Science fiction and fantasy
Any Other Name
by Emma Newman
Amelia and Cornelius Alba-Rosa are facing ruin, and they depend on the generosity of Will Reticulata-Iris to keep them out of servitude. But Will has been set the task of becoming the Duke of Londinium, which is one of the most powerful positions in Nether society. If he doesn't do whatever it takes to achieve this, his family will punish him. Max and his gargoyle soul are still investigating the murders of hundreds of Arbiters, who are like the fae and Nether police. So there are lots of threads that make for a pleasingly twisty story.
To begin with, this seems to be a straightforward rant against mysogyny and oppression. That seems like a strange target to aim at when our society has already moved on a couple of hundred years from the way the backwards Nether families behave. However, nothing is quite as simple as it first appears, as Cathy soon learns.
The characters in this novel continue to grow and demonstrate more sides to themselves. I really like Max's gargoyle, who shows all of the emotion that the Arbiter is cut off from. He often comes across as charming or funny, and I would have liked to read more about him. I also cared more about some of the other characters who may have come across as uncaring, shallow, or villainous in the first novel, but who become more sympathetic when we read more about their point of view.
Any Other Name is nicely paced, neither too slow not too breathless. It's an intriguing story that had me gripped throughout. The fae are both beautiful, unusual, and pathologically sadistic, an apt metaphor for a kind of aristocratic society that can only exist at great cost to those unfortunate enough to be forced to support it.
23rd October 2013
If you like this, try:Some Kind Of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
A young woman returns to her family after a long absence. But can she walk back into her old life after all she has seen?
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A cursed woman becomes a governess to a very peculiar child in this dark fairytale.
Review © Ros Jackson
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