Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William – a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family’s intentions for them both.
Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency – a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules – and none of them favourable to Society.
Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife’s employer – something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.
God, I love this series! The first novel blew me away with how intricately the world was set up and how twisty the plot turned out to be. I loved learning about mirror Bath, Aquae Sulis, and in this one, we get to learn more about mirror London, Londinium. I like any book that doesn’t let its heroes out of their problems too easily, and Newman certainly isn’t doing Cathy any favors. Cathy and William Iris are now married, and Cathy continues to fight her role in Society. Now, we all know I’m a feminist and a lot of this Victorian sensibility crap is really annoying, but if Cathy would stop complaining and try, she might have an easier time of it. Just saying. And I really liked how Cathy’s crazy idea that she’s the only one who has ever felt oppressed by Society is thrown back at her by Lucy. Of course other women have felt restrained and hated it. Why does Cathy think she’s special or unique? The other women just know how to hide it better. I liked Cathy’s little insight into her father as well. It explained a lot and I think it helped her a little too. William is learning how to navigate Londinium with a wife who doesn’t even try and a mistress whose good name has been forever ruined. Lord Poppy is on his way out, but not before demanding Cathy make good on the painting she’s supposed to give him. Lord Iris scares Cathy so much she lets William comfort her later. Lady Rose is just gone.
Sam, meanwhile, is growing further away from his wife (who we learn interesting things about), and is trying to get back into Exilium to save the kidnapped blonds from the first novel. This doesn’t go very well, and Sam is required to basically be a slave to Lord Poppy for five years of his life in exchange. He’s also spending a lot of time with Max, who is still trying to figure out what happened to the destroyed Chapter. I really like Petra. She’s capable and smart, and she keeps the sorcerer in line. Ekstrand is crazy, plain and simple. The gargoyle continues to be hilarious, though he seemed a little more like hokey comic relief in this one. I’m still really interested in finding out about the corrupt Chapter and what role the Gallica-Rosas had in it. That was probably the storyline I followed the most closely, despite really appreciating Cathy’s women’s lib aspirations. Cathy actually grew a lot in this novel, I think, and that made me happy because while I felt for her in the first novel, I also found her selfish and whiny. William is another who seemed to grow and change, though in little ways. He continues to let himself be led by his patron and Patroon. Terrible things are happening, and treachery is everywhere. This one was just as engrossing and thrilling as the first, and the third novel, All Is Fair, comes out in September. You better believe I’ll be reading it.