Written by: Seanan McGuire
Paperback: 368 pages
September 2009, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Series
“October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.”
I have said it before and I will say it again, I love the fae. But that is because faeries are dangerous, manipulative, beautiful and scary and thanking them would really not be a good idea. Tinkerbell they are not. I grew up on the mythology of all things faerie, of pixies and the Wild Hunt, of selkies and bansidhes. There is something about the different courts, of light and dark, summer and winter...all of the intrigue. More than that just because you might be Seelie Court, bright and shining doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the good guys. While the Toby Daye series is far different than the fairytales I read as a child, I like it. Kind of the same way I am digging Lost Girl on Sci-fi.
October Daye (Toby) is a changeling, part faerie and part human, working as a private detective in San Francisco. She is not fully accepted by the fey world, and she marries a human and has a daughter, but loses them both when she is cursed and vanishes for 14 years. Nothing like being a goldfish in San Francisco to turn things asunder. When she returns, she has to start over and learn how the world has passed on without her. And then her friend Evening Winterrose is murdered, and Toby is cursed to solve her murder or die trying. . .
Things I loved: Toby talks about her weaknesses, which she undoubtedly has compared to most of the big bads or even little bads that she faces or that are around her. But she recognizes those weaknesses and compensates for them. This is not a woman who is afraid to run away, but in doing so she has strength. And lets face it Toby would be lost and dead without her friends and companions who make up for her weaknesses.
I think one of the huge reasons I like Toby though is because of her sense of right and wrong and her utter loyalty to those she cares for. There is a very big reason why Toby ended up making friends with the Sea Witch. As I said Toby is alive because of those she has helped and befriended. While yes she is sarcastic like so many urban fantasy heroines but aren’t we all? I wouldn’t object to Toby being both my friend and my hero. She is a nicely layered character, one that I look forward to getting to know as the series continues.
The story doesn't feel rushed which I love. And I am so happy to finally understand all of those gaps that had me bewildered in the second book. But it is nice to read another series where the characters don’t fall in love in 256 pages. Things are not tidy. There are still questions I have. And I dig that. The mystery is awesome in this book as well. there are so many shades of grey, not necessarily clear cut bad guys.
Finally as a Shakespeare nut, I loved the references. Especially when Toby does some of her spells.
Things I didn't love so much: I will say that I am very glad that I read the second first as this one was okay, but not amazing and I am not sure that I would have picked up the rest of the books. Which would be a shame as I am in the middle of the third book and loving it enough that I may have to just go out and buy the rest of them to feed my fix. It just has first novel jitters. The writing can be a bit repetitive and i don’t think Toby’s voice and characterization is as strong as it is in latter books.
I am thankful for my love of mythology and blame my mum for telling me tales of the fey when I was a kid. So many of the characters and creatures are familiar to me. And while the pronunciation guide gets props, I would have loved to have seen brief descriptions of some of them as those who aren’t familiar with mythology may be fairly lost.
While Toby is certainly growing on me, in this book she aggravated me to the Nth degree. Really? You didn't see that final betrayal coming from a legion away considering your history together. And while I understand that in your head you can make a decision that someone needs to die, while your heart hesitates long enough for you to fail in being the hero, I was still angry at her. But maybe thats why I am growing to like her because she is so flawed at times. And I don’t think it is ever easy for Toby to take a life even when they are a very big bad guy. As I said there are some first book jitters and it felt like Seanan was trying to cram a bit too much.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. Though it is not the strongest of the books, it would be like not reading Storm Front or Magic Bites.
Part of: A Series.
Book One: Rosemary and Rue
Book Two: A Local Habitation
Book Three: An Artificial Night
Book Four: Late Eclipses
Book Five: One Salt Sea
Book Six: Ashes of Honor (Sept 2012)
Also Recommended: For more fey action, I would suggest Melissa Marr’s YA series that begins with Wicked Lovely. For similar series I would suggest the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews and the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. And yes I would even recommend the Mercy Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
The Soundtrack for this Post: Blackout by Breathe Carolina, Today by Poe, Color Me Once by the Violent Femmes and Pauline by Eleni Mendell.