Monday, January 20, 2014

Chimes at Midnight: A Review

Chimes at Midnight
Written by: Seanan McGuire
Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: DAW
Language: English
September 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Series/October Daye Series

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down...at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.
+++++++++++++

Lately I have not had the best luck with urban fantasy that is outside my favorite couple of series. Or books in general. Not sure why as I am trying really hard to read outside out of my favorite niche. Maybe it’s my mood. Here in MT, it has been cold, snowy and blah…perfect reading weather right? Except that I go stir crazy and have to play several rounds of Call of Duty before the lag makes me rage quit. And then I am back in the same boat. You would think that after living in beautiful Bozeman for 6 years that I would become a Ski Bum. But that would require money and also courage to travel up the canyon or really any of the roads when it is icy and snowy. I have neither of those things.

I look to old friends when I get in a funk. And Toby is one of those old friends. In this outing Toby is trying to desperately get Goblin Fruit off of the streets. Its bad news not only to humans, but to Changelings so it hits really close to home. And this isn’t just your ordinary narcotic. It will kill you and once you are hooked, that’s it. No fancy treatment centers. You’re just done. Like most people Toby goes to her Queen for help, but why would she care – Changelings aren’t pureblood and thus beneath her concern. She also really dislikes Toby so because of October’s outburst she is now banished from the kingdom. She has three days. Now that hurts.

I guess there is only one thing that Toby can do…find a new Queen of the Mists. It is about damn time. Of course other throwing a monarch isn’t that easy is it?

Things I loved: I could go on forever about how much I dig the characters and the world building of this series. Tybalt is adorable, though don’t tell him so. And every book I get to know some new people, Mags….yep she better make more appearances. However, after the last book I was expecting to see and hear some of the fallout of that book and I didn’t even get a mention of Etienne, Bridget or even Chelsea and that was a bit disappointing. But seriously, I love Toby, Tybalt, the Luidaeg, and everyone else. The gang makes me happy. And the world continues to be exciting for me. I loved pies as absurd as that was. Though I am not surprised about Quentin, it was still nice to finally put that out there in the open and I am curious if it will change anything in the future.

While I am not a fan of Toby and Co always being in mortal peril, it was very interesting to have Toby see the world of the Fae from a mortal perspective. It also shows that Toby is a lot more Sidhe than she ever wanted to admit. I dug the change in perspective though. For Toby, being human was like losing your sense of sight. Everything changed. Everything was different. She remembered her old life, when the sense of magic was strong and fragrant, when she could see through the glamour that kept so much of Faerie hidden and then it was all gone. It had to have been quite devastating.

Finally, for those who love the Luidaeg as much as I do, there is a small short story at the end of the book that is told from her point of view and drops some hints about what is to come and how our dear Toby may be involved. Loved it. It’s the same foreshadowing that has been brewing over the past few books and that makes me giddy and will keep me reading on. We know October plays a part whether she understands it or not and her mother and her aunt have been keeping some very big things from her. We also know there is a prophecy and that the First Born are involved. I have to say anything that makes the Luidaeg nervous and a bit of a worrywart makes me nervous too. Because nothing scares the Sea Witch.

Things I didn’t love so much: Three days is a pretty short time to overthrow a crappy monarch and it makes the whole Kingdom of Mists seem pretty weak. Why hasn’t anyone else tried this before? How are the High King and Queen allowing such things to go on for so long without deposing her? I know that Toby is just now really starting to understand how powerful her Dochas Sidhe powers are instead of feeling like she has the worst changeling powers ever, but for all of the mortal peril she and the gang go through with every book it seems, that was pretty easy. I suppose everyone has a breaking point and that is why Miss Bitca was allowed to rule, but…3 days? Less epic than I was imagining.

And speaking of that whole mortal peril thing, I would love for Toby and the gang not to be in grave mortal danger in at least one book. Not every who dunnit mystery has to involve Toby bleeding all over the place no matter what is coming and how important she may be to the story. Seanan is not going to kill off her main character so when you are constantly putting her in mortal peril and she fantastically manages to get out of the whole dying thing, it gives it less weight. I become less invested and it no longer holds the punch it was supposed to. There are far more interesting things you could do to Toby that could be game changers that would hold that weight and that emotional investment.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. This series continues to be great

Part of: Series

Also Recommended: Seanan also has a new series called the InCryptid series and she is also Mira Grant who wrote Feed and Deadline. For other great series I would grab the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. For more fey, go for Melissa Marr’s fey series starting with Wicked Lovely.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

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