Once Broken Faith

Courtesy of goodreads.comSeanan McGuire finally came out with the latest Toby Daye novel,¬†Once Broken Faith. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, at least it feels like it. ūüôā

If you recall at the end of the last novel, where Toby almost dies for the umpteenth time, her friend Walter figured out the cure to elf shot with the help of Toby’s nose for magic. Handy, since that was used to cure her. The problem with the cure is that it takes away the one tool the pure blood elves can use against each other with impunity. It didn’t matter to them that elf shot kills anyone with a lick of human blood in them, so long as they didn’t kill each other – per Oberon’s law.

In order to make a decision as to how, when or if this cure should be used, High King Sollys (Quentin’s father) calls a conclave in the Kingdom of the Mists. Queen Arden manages to snag waking her Seneschal, Madden, before Sollys arrives, but her brother will have to remain asleep until after a decision is made.

Being one of the people to bring about this cure, Toby is summoned to attend the conclave with her squire. Tybalt invites himself along as king of cats for the area. He doesn’t give the pureblood kings and queens the choice and really, to be polite they should have invited him in the first place. The Luidaeg also invites herself along, but who is going to stop her.

All is going smoothly for a large political convention – well, as smoothly as can be expected – when two things happen in quick succession. One, a king from the Los Angeles area (the Kingdom of Angels) gets killed and Dianda, Duchess of Salt Mist gets elf shot. Because she’s the only prominent changeling in the conclave, Toby gets immediately suspected of killing the pureblood king, even by those who know her. Which – what the hell? You know her, love her and believe in her…unless a pureblood is involved? Fuck you and your fairweather friendship.

In order to make sure the murder gets solved and they don’t accidentally start a war with the Undersea, Sollys taps Toby to solve the murder and the elf shooting. The second one is easy. Because Dianda is sleeping, Toby gets her niece, Karen the dreamwalker, to get her into Dianda’s dream to see if she saw anything. Karen is at the conclave because Evening Winterrose, who is elf shot herself, is haunting the poor girl’s dreams and demanding she speak for her at the conclave.

They find out that one of the Dukes from an inland kingdom elf shot Dianda on the assumption that Undersea can kiss his ass I guess. High King Sollys orders¬†him to be elf shot in return, a final disposition to pend Dianda’s decision on what to do when she wakes up. Whether that is soon or in one hundred years has yet to be determined.

The murder is harder to figure out. The dead man didn’t see anything, just a weird rustling sound like tin foil being ripped and a couple of flickering shadows. After a near miss where Toby nearly dies (again. I think McGuire needs a new trope. Seriously.), she and her usual cohorts figure out that someone is using faery rings to freeze the victims for a few seconds, just enough to kill the person. Faery rings are simple ring constructs that can freeze a victim for a chosen period of time, but unlike elf shot, they are limited to the physical space of the ring. It isn’t very useful so people don’t use it very much anymore and the Luideig herself has almost completely forgotten how to do them, she’s that old.

After riding her own blood for information, Toby realizes that the King and Queen of High Mountain (Colorado) are the responsible parties. She goes after them with a vengeance because they shot and nearly killed Tybalt. Clearly they haven’t heard not to fuck with Toby’s family. It turns out that their barrow wight handmaiden was the one actually doing the deeds, but the king and queen were threatening her sister to make her do it.

Toby ends up falling out of a tower window in order to keep the elf shot victims (Arden’s brother, Tybalt, Dianda and a few others including now Quentin and Walter who happened to be in the way) safe from the crazy ass queen and her handmaiden. She survives…barely (*sigh*)…and manages to sleep her way through the end of the conclave.

The decision is made to use the cure on those who were wrongfully shot. People who were shot on accident or who were attacked as a means to get them out of the way (Arden’s brother, Dianda). Those who committed a crime for which elf shot would be the punishment (the duke who shot Dianda) would serve out that punishment. This is fair, I think, but there’s definitely loopholes that can be exploited I’m sure.

At the end of the book, we get our happy ending plus an offer from Quentin’s mother the high queen to hold her wedding in Toronto, where Quentin’s family rules from. I think in the next book, we might possibly get to Tybalt and Toby’s wedding! Holy crap won’t that be fun? And probably deadly for someone. Or perhaps we might see what the Luidaeg finally wants Toby to do. Either way, I’m excited to see what’s next.

Things I particularly liked about this book: Seanan McGuire just tosses in that Quentin is in a same sex relationship with Dean Lorden, Dianda’s son. I love that this is such a “who cares that they’re both boys” world that the bigger issue is that Quentin will some day be high king and what will that do to their relationship? Also, the book opens up with Toby holding a “slumber party” of the full and partial blood teens that she knows to give them a night of just being kids. Just a nice, normal night for the most part. I also like that Quentin’s mom is a half blood turned pure blood via hope chest, and is therefore a very approachable woman. This is one of my favorite Toby Daye books so far.¬†Rating: A+

Chimes at Midnight

I love the October Daye novels. They are awesome. Beware SPOILERS. ¬†The latest out by author Seanan McGuire is called Chimes at Midnight. This one starts out with Toby doing her knightly/detectively duties. In a way. It’s really a personal crusade she’s on. See there’s a drug out on the streets. One that is perfectly good for pureblooded fae. It gives them a nice little trip to la-la land. But it’s instantly addictive and eventually deadly to changelings (fae that are partially human).

Toby doesn’t like the stuff. Changelings have it hard enough in the world without killing themselves for a stupid high. So she’s trying to rid the streets of San Francisco of the stuff. She finds proof that it is actually killing changelings with the body of a young changeling in an alleyway. She thinks that this will be enough for the Queen of the Mists to actually do something about it.

How wrong she is. The Queen so actively hates Toby that not only does she refuse to do anything about the goblin fruit (which she doesn’t see as a problem because hey, pureblood queen here) but she actually¬†banishes Toby. Toby has three days to clear out or the Queen will do something very nasty to her. Probably lots of nasty things.

Well Toby won’t go down without a fight. Not her, not ever. That is not who Toby is. So what does she do? Oh nothing. Just plans a little insurrection. The Queen of the Mists (and apparently the correct title is Queen¬†in the Mists. Who knew?) is a pretender to the throne. She claimed to be the daughter of the previous king, who died without actively presenting any children to his fellow nobles.

Turns out though, that she was lying. I mean pants on fire lying. The previous king (Gilad Windermere) was pureblooded Tuatha de Dannan. The current sitting Queen is Siren, Banshee and Sea Wight. ¬†That being the case, Toby sets out to find Gilad’s real kids because the Luidaeg (which is apparently pronounced¬†loo-sha-k. Not seeing that…) assures Toby that he really did have two legitimate children.

Finding them (now grown since Gilad died during the 1906 San Fran quake), is relatively easy. The Luidaeg provides Toby and Tybalt with magic fireflies that will track down her magic. Why the Luidaeg’s magic? Because she provided those children with very powerful protections, so powerful that the Luidaeg herself can’t track them. But those bugs can. So they find the heirs easy enough but there’s a problem. The boy, Nolan, was elf shot in the 30s and will be asleep for some time and because of that, his sister Arden is frightened of standing up for her rights.

Toby eventually talks Arden into at least hearing her out and takes her to Goldengreen. Once there, she asks for Queen Dianda and her consort Patrick Lorden from the Undersea duchy of Saltmist. ¬†Once all and sundry are present, Dianda helps Toby talk Arden into insurrection and pledges the forces of Saltmist to Arden’s cause.

Meanwhile, Toby is still running around trying to arrange things when a human man hired by the Queen hits her in the face with a pie. Yes, a pie. But not just any pie. A goblin fruit pie. Its even worse for Toby than it is for most changelings. As we found in previous books, Dochas Sidhe, which Toby is, are bloodworkers. Powerful ones. More than once, Toby has shifted the balance of her own blood to be more or less fae as needed. Well, the goblin fruit causes her to try shifting entirely human to better enjoy the high. She shifts so far that she doesn’t register as fae to most anyone else, she ends up something like 15% fae.

She doesn’t give up though, doesn’t give in to the craving for goblin fruit. Blood is always the key for Toby and she finds that drinking some, usually her own, helps keep the cravings at bay. Walter, her alchemist professor ally at UC Berkeley, makes her some lozenges from her own blood to keep her going while they finish this insurrection. The Luidaeg thinks that’s such a good idea that she does the same for Toby from her own blood, which is far more powerful than Toby’s is.

And those blood lozenges work decently well. Their effectiveness starts waning quickly because Toby is all go, no quit. She really needs to overthrow the old Queen now because the Queen has a hope chest in her treasury. The hope chest can help Toby change the balance of her blood now that she no longer has the power to do so. Only the Queen is a crafty bitch and keeps chasing Toby and her allies around, capturing Dianda and Nolan and causing Arden to flee.

Finally, Toby convinces Arden (again) that this really is the right thing to do. Arden agrees on the condition that Toby retrieve Nolan from the clutches of the old Queen. Toby agrees because Nolan is in the Queen’s knowe, where the hope chest is.

Toby and Tybalt manage to free Dianda and Nolan and find the hope chest, which Toby uses. It isn’t that simple, it never is where Toby is concerned. But the lot of them manage to get back to Muir Woods where Arden’s knowe is only to find things have gone a little wrong. See the sitting Queen is part Siren and she can make people do things, even things they don’t want to do, but singing. Toby knows this and stops up her ears but no one else has managed to do so (which you’d think they would have thought of because really, they all knew that the old Queen was part Siren…).

Toby has only one thing she can do. To break a Siren’s song, you have to kill the Siren or have her remove it. Well the Queen sure as hell isn’t going to do that and Toby will not break Oberon’s Law (no killing of other Fae). Toby is a bloodworker. She removes all trace of Siren from the old Queen’s blood, thereby breaking the spell. There are quite a few people present who are quite shocked at, even more so than having fallen into the Siren’s song in the first place.

So the good guys win, the bad guys lose and there is a new Queen in the Mists. I’m not entirely sure I really like Arden but she’ll at least not be batshit like the last Queen. Toby kicked the goblin fruit habit because she shifted herself close enough to pureblood that it couldn’t affect her anymore. Now she wants lots of steak and coffee. I can’t wait to see where this goes next. Team Toby! Rating:¬†A+. Also, if you get the Kindle version of it, you get a bonus short story in that universe, but from the perspective of the Luidaeg instead of Toby. I love the Luidaeg, she might be my favorite character in the universe. ¬†ūüôā

One Salt Sea

Just recently finished the new October Daye novel One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire. Oh. My. God. AMAZING…and yet FRUSTRATING.¬† It is clear that McGuire is going somewhere very complex with Toby Daye. I think¬† I’m mostly frustrated that I haven’t figured it out yet.¬† That being said…I can live with the frustration. My husband hates watching movies with me (sometimes) because I figure out the ending half way through. So not being able to see what’s coming in this series out weighs the frustration.

So, Toby is trying to settle in as Countess of Goldengreen…just as war breaks out with the underwater fae. Unfortunately for her, the knowe of Goldengreen is right up against the Pacific. Of course. ūüôā Enter Tybalt, King of Cats. And will he EVER admit that he’s totally in love with Toby?! Okay, rant over. Tybalt offers to have his Cait Sidhe, some of the fiercest warriors in the faerie realm, to guard Toby’s knowe since most of Toby’s wards in Goldengreen are half-breed Changlings or less.

Meanwhile, The Luideag calls in the favors Toby owes her. What does Toby have to do? Stop a war. No biggie. Turns out the reason behind the war is that someone, presumably a land faerie has made off with the two sons of the Duchess of Saltmist. The Duchess suspects the Queen of the Mists (the land queen). The Queen of the Mists just wants war. Despite having some sea fae blood in her, she apparently has bigoted feelings towards the sea fae as a whole. Too bad the sea fae are BAMFs and the land fae have been sitting on their collective arses since the last war more than a hundred years ago.

To keep her friends from getting killed, Toby uses her detecting skills to find the missing boys. On the way, she takes a squire (Quentin), turns into a mermaid to visit Saltmist and (*spoiler alert*) loses her paramour, Connor. Now Connor was a nice enough person but ever since the first interaction with Tybalt, I was rooting for the two of them to get their acts together.  Connor was a little wimpy for my tastes but hey.

So this one is a must read. It’s really good. And it has a nice little cliff hanger. A+ Buy it!

New Books

Okay, it’s been a massively long time since I’ve last updated my blog here.¬† Work, work, work and a nasty respiratory infection will do that to you. So instead of just one book, I’ll review a few books/series.

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire. This is the next installment of the October Daye series.¬† I was waiting so long for this one, or so it felt. I really love this series. Toby Daye is a fairly complex character and her relationships are equally complex.¬† This book is about Toby trying to figure out who or what is killing off her friends and trying to frame her for it. Not only that, but she has recently been promoted to Countess of the knowe Goldengreen. This knowe previously belonged to Countess Evelyn Winterrose, who died in the first book and brought Toby back into the Fae fold. It was a wonderful mystery, and a bit sad too. I can’t wait to read the next book! Rating: A.

Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton. This is book 5 or 6 of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. I can’t remember because I stopped in the middle and I haven’t gone back yet. It isn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it, because it is starting out to be another wonderful book. Truth was I just needed a break from Anita Blake. Anita’s werewolf ex Richard is being set up as a murderer in Tennessee and Anita is determined to help, against Jean-Claude’s wishes. So far, it’s a solid B book.

A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang. This was an interesting premise. Heroine Abby is living in a town where the supernatural is a part of every day life. Supernatural creatures can only come and go in this town through Touchstones, sort of like magical anchors. Abby is a Touchstone for a Faerie named Moira. Trouble is, Abby is spectacularly ignorant and gets in way over her head when patron Moira disappears. There are incubi, angels (called Celestials), Faeries, pixies, miniature unicorns and more.¬† Like I said, interesting premise. The writing could be a bit better. I’m mildly interested in seeing what happens next in the series, but I’m not going to be running out to get the next book. More likely I’ll wait until I’m desperate for something new to read. Rating: C-.

Demon Bound by Caitlin Kittredge. This is the next installment of the Black London series. I like this series because its very gritty. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old pulp novel.¬† Both main characters, Jack and Pete, are hard living, drinking, smoking, cussing people. The novel starts out with Jack having been dragged to Hell (end of the last novel) and Pete trying to pick up the pieces. Trouble is, being Jack’s girl is closing more doors than it opens. I really want to see what happens in the next novel. Rating: A to A+.

That’s all for now. More in the next post. If anyone has suggestions, I’m looking for new books to read.