I needed that.
Not sure whether to be sad a series is ending or glad it went out on a good note.
When last I read, Zeb had given himself to Jasper rather than turn one of the VIK over for torment. He's been imprisoned and tortured since then - a year.
In the meantime, Michael gave Vikar orders that no man should try to rescue him. Regina - one of a small number of female vangels - decides it offers a loophole - she's no man (musta read ROTK). She asks permission and when not granted it, goes off to find him anyway. She succeeds - with some help from a group of dissatisfied lucipires known as the Crazy Coven.
She's his lifemate of course.
Michael's reaction was to yell at Vikar for waiting so long. Now there's a full-on war. Since this is the last book in the series, obviously the good guys win.
And...after the VIK form of judgement day, he does some soul searching before hunting her down.
So... entertaining, steamy, lots of action, and navel-gazing kept to a minimum.
I a stalwart fan of Emma Newman through her powerful work, Planetside. Although the tone and plot of the Split Worlds series are very different, I loved them all, devouring the previous four books in less than one week. After waiting for the final book for almost a year, I found it a satisfying conclusion to the series. As with the previous books in the series, All Good Things deals heavily with themes of feminism, environmentalism, agency, and responsibility.
This book is the completion of a long story arc, and I don't believe it should be read without the rest of the series. All of the characters from previous books have returned. As always, I wasn't quite sure if I actually liked Cathy, the major protagonist of the series and the is the driving force of the story. Cathy is a fierce feminist who wants to bring change to the changeless Nether world, but to me it feels like she is driven by a selfish, myopic ideology that often stops her from seeing the harm her actions inflict on others. This selfishness is examined in the novel: Cathy seeks to bring dramatic change, and this is bound to have negative impacts on others. What right does she have to make these types of decisions for so many others? As one character puts it:
"To create change, to disrupt a system of control, one must carry out radcal acts. One must be prepared to destroy so that something new can be created. Those in control will never give up the power afforded to them voluntarily. It must be taken. If that requires the deaths of a few to give freedom to the many-- and survival of the many--then so be it. This is not a gentle act."
But who has the right to decide to make that sacrifice? Does having the power to carry out the act give you the right to do so?
Fortunately, the other characters-- Sam, Lucy, Kay, and the gargoyle -- are more sympathetic. However, there's a big "anyone can die" and "anyone can betray" vibe in the novel. There is no easy division into protagonists and antagonists in the novel: everyone is driven by their own motivations and secret loyalties. Because of this, there have been many different antagonists in the story, with protagonists easily morphing into enemies. Sometimes, the changes felt too facile to me, the deaths of characters too superficial, the betrayals too unrooted. I particularly disliked how anticlimactic some of the dismissals of characters we've grown to care about throughout the series were, and how easily the characters were forgotten and set aside.
For all the strong feminist themes of the novels, if you look at who dies or is forgotten, you'll see an impressive number of women. Bea's death was simply pathetic. Kay got refrigeratored, something I find particularly hard to stomach from an overtly feminist series. But it's Lucy I found most troubling. She has been such a strong character throughout the series. To have her thrown away and forgotten because of an out-of-character and clumsy betrayal in which she became the pawn of a man? Not good. For me, the saving grace of the novel was that Will was revealed as the absolute villain of the piece. I was worried throughout that his rape and control would be seen as "extreme love" and that he would end up as the protagonist, as is so often the case in urban fantasy romance novels. As Cathy notes, rape is rape, and it should not be whitewashed.
At the same time, I loved some of the twists of All Good Things: one of my favourite aspects of the book is how antagonists morph into allies and how an abrupt twist brought the one true villain of the series into sharp relief.
At its core, the novel is all about control and ownership and responsibility, and however surprising the ending, I found All Good Things a satisfying end to the series. If you've read the other Split Worlds books, I don't need to tell you about this book because you're going to read it anyway. As for me, I can't wait to see what Emma Newman has in store for her readers next.
~~I received an advanced reader copy of this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Diversion Books, in exchange for my honest review.~~
Cross-posted on Goodreads.
Title: Nine-Tenths of the Law
Author: L.A. Witt
Length: Novel (250pgs)
Publisher: L.A. Witt (15th March 2017)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
Blurb: “I believe you have something of mine, Zach.” The stranger’s accusation throws Zach Owens for a loop. He’s never seen this man in his life, and he’s not prepared when he finds out what they have in common—their boyfriend, Jake. Make that ex-boyfriend. With the jerk out of the picture, Zach hurries after the stranger to apologize… which quickly leads to some sizzling hot revenge sex. Despite starting on the wrong foot, Nathan Forrester can’t get enough of the sexy movie theater owner. Still, he’s jaded and distrustful—especially when Jake keeps materializing in Zach’s presence despite Zach insisting that relationship is over. With a devious ex-boyfriend trying to sabotage their fledgling relationship, Zach and Nathan need to learn to trust each other, or they’ll both wind up with nothing. This 61,000 word novel was previously published, and has been revised to include an extended ending.
Review: Zach’s night looks to be a disaster when he is confronted by his boyfriends other boyfriend, leaving his now ex-boyfriend behind he hurries after the stranger and Zach’s night suddenly looks up with a hot bout of revenge sex. Nathan is bitter about his ex’s betrayal but he can’t get Zach out of his mind, and they embark on a rebound fling… but it soon gets more serious between them.
This is a great story of finding love in an emotional turbulent time, where love is developing but lack of trust is rearing its ugly head.
Nathan and Zach in a fleeting moment are rivals, they both are seeing the same man, Jake, Nathan for four years and Zach for six months before they both discover the truth and they both walk away from the man who betrayed them. Nathan has a hard time letting go of the broken trust and as he begins a relationship with Zach he finds it difficult to believe Zach when he says he’s working late… especially when Jake is feeding his fears.
I liked this story and enjoyed watching as Nathan and Jake both embarked on a relationship together, they were a hot couple and meshed well together when they are together. When they are apart though Nathan’s fears of betrayal claw at him and it leads him to some stupid arguments with Zach. Zach is pretty easy going for the most part, he’s bounced back from Jake’s betrayal and now just wishes the pain in the arse would stop bothering him and that Nathan would trust him 100%.
Whilst I enjoyed the story I do think Zach could be a little bit more understanding of Nathan’s feelings, it’s really not easy to trust when it’s been shattered and unfortunately it usually does carry over into the next relationship, especially when your ex is feeding that paranoia. I also got a little annoyed at Zach for continuing to play to Jake’s tune by answering the man’s phone calls and agreeing to see him… he should have just cut off all contact.
So there’s a relationship developing, some angst and drama, and lots and lots of hot sex, the storyline is good and the characters are great, so really what more could you ask for?