A Little Knowledge by Emma Newman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
This is book four in The Split Worlds series. If you haven’t read the first three, don’t read this review!
I’ve been anxiously waiting to read this book since I read the first one last month. I’m so glad I didn’t have to wait very long between books because of my good timing, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed. This series has been pulling me along with good momentum and with interesting characters and plot, but for me, this installment didn’t measure up.
For starters, not much happened to advance the story. Yes, there’s Cathy’s ongoing battle for women’s rights in the Nether, but not much came of it, aside from angry men. This book had quite a lot of angry men in it, as well as women who were victimized in one way or another. The gender dynamics in the Nether have been this way since the first book, but they’ve never been as obviously displayed as they were here. Even characters that had seemed like they might be decent are misogynistic, and women who had seemed to be very meek are suddenly all about standing up for themselves. It was frustrating to read.
And Will — ugh! He really has turned into the villain for me. Most of the things that he’d done weren’t great before, but there were glimmers of hope for him. I’d thought that maybe he was redeemable, but nope. This book really showed Will for who he really is, and that’s not someone I can support in any way. I’m sad that he didn’t turn out to be a revolutionary, and I hope Cathy manages to change things in spite of his dedication to the status quo.
The Elemental Court is weird and I’m not sure I can see how it plays into the larger story anymore. I can definitely see how Sam is relevant, and there were a few inklings of how he’s going to continue to play a big role in the evolution of the Nether, but the rest of them just seem like corporate bullies. I’m not sure they’re necessary at all. I still like Sam, and aside from Max, I think he’s the only male character that doesn’t drive me totally crazy.
This book was still enjoyable, but I wish a lot more had happened, or at least that something big with a real impact had happened. I think that the end of this book foreshadows something very interesting, but the earlier bits were uncharacteristically dull. It was a lot of men doing something stupid, or Cathy doing something reckless, and that just isn’t interesting enough for a full book. I’m excited to read the next book (whenever it comes out), but for me, this one just wasn’t up to scratch. I gave it three stars.
*ARC from NetGalley