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+

A Red-Rose Chain

Courtesy of goodreads.comI just finished the latest October Daye story from Seanan McGuire,¬†A Red-Rose Chain. Literally just finished as I set down my Kindle and came to pop out a review. This book is so, so new (less than two weeks now), that I’m going to give a bare-bones description but please be warned that there could be¬†SPOILERS here.

So, we start out with Toby and company fighting off a pack of Mauthe Doog, giant black dogs from the depths of Faerie that had been locked away by Oberon centuries ago. I’m still hoping that McGuire will get Toby to find out¬†why¬†Oberon sealed off much of Faerie so long ago. I think it would be fascinating.

She figures out that these dogs aren’t evil creatures. They’re frightened. They haven’t seen the mortal world in centuries or longer and to be suddenly dumped out in modern San Francisco scared the crap out of them. Scared animals will fight back, so naturally, they’d caused a dust up. And because she’s a hero of the realm, Queen Arden of the Mists called in Toby for help.

Once they Mauthe Doogs are taken care of, the next catastrophe rears its ugly head pretty immediately. Like, within 2-3 hours immediately. The Kingdom of Silences to the north has declared war on the Mists because, though Queen Arden is confirmed as the rightful ruler and heir of the prior king, Gilad Windermere, the deposed queen had run straight to Silences and the puppet she’d put on the throne.

Arden sends Toby as her chosen diplomat to Silences in hopes of averting a war. Which, given Toby’s experience is probably¬†not the best course of action but Toby touched the queen¬†without permission (a major taboo in the fae world). So this post is punishment essentially.

With her are new fiancee and King of Dreaming Cats (I believe is the kingdom’s name) Tybalt, squire Quentin and former Fetch May. Let’s face it, May is around because 1) she’s hard to kill and 2) she’s the only person who has a hope in hell of making Toby presentable to royalty. Together, they have three days to try and talk Silences out of their ridiculous war or there will be hell to pay.

I won’t say more because otherwise we get into major plot points and I don’t want to ruin it. It’s a delicious book that took me about four hours to plow through total (stretched over a few lunch breaks). I love the October Daye novels. All of them. There hasn’t really been a bad one, though some of them are definitely better than others. I think at one point in time Amazon had this listed of book 9 of 9 of the series, so I’d gone into this a bit sad, expecting a grand wrap up.

Luckily, I don’t think this is the case. There are too many loose ends. We still don’t know what it is that the Luidaeg really wants Toby to do. We don’t know what’s going on with Amandine. And (spoilers) Toby and Tybalt didn’t get married at the end of the book. So there’s lots left to come. I’ll be interested to see what happens. So, Ms. McGuire, I can haz next book please?¬†Rating: A

Ashes of Honor

Okay, so putting this out there ***MAJOR SPOILERS***. You have been warned.

Oh. My. God. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod.¬†Ashes of Honor is fantastic. This might just be my favorite of Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books. We pick up with plucky Toby some months after Connor has died and Gillian has chosen to be human. At the very start of the book, she is doing something dangerous, confronting a group of teenage Changeling druggies. But these drugs aren’t the usual drugs of pot or heroin one might think of as being rampant in a city just as San Francisco. This drug is called goblinfruit and while harmless to purebloods, it is addictive and fatal to Changelings.

Toby is confronting them without back up and with only her knife. These kids are armed with mortal weapons and are of the opinion that Toby needs to die. Why? Because in the very first Toby Day novel,¬†Rosemary and Rue, Toby killed Devin, the man that took care of most Changeling kids. So they shoot Toby but it doesn’t kill her. Toby’s mom messing about with her blood to make her more than a mere Changeling makes her very hard to kill. That doesn’t stop her friends from worrying.

Speaking of friends, Tybalt has been sent after her by May and Quentin, arriving just in time to dispense some Cait Sidhe justice on the stupid young drug dealers. He then takes her home where another surprise is waiting for her, Etienne the Senechal for Shadowed Hills. Etienne has a problem. Namely, he had a daughter by a human some sixteen years ago and never knew it. And now, that daughter has come into her fae powers and has disappeared.

Disappearing happens to be Etienne’s trick. He’s Tuatha de Dannan, a teleporter. And his daughter is too. Only she’s a lot more powerful than dear old dad. Apparently on occasion Changeling children are more powerful than their full blood parents because something goes (genetically, I’m assuming) wrong and they have none of the innate blocks on their powers that pure bloods have.

The problems start piling up as Toby takes Quentin to visit her aunt, the Luidaeg (Sea Witch) for a tracking charm. It seems that an out of control Changeling Tuatha can rip the very fabric of Faerie apart at the seams. Etienne’s daughter, Chelsea, has apparently already been to places that the long gone Oberon had sealed off for his own mysterious reasons. And because everyone in Faerie lives by Oberon’s Laws, this could mean tons of trouble.

Toby has to track down Chelsea and the ones who took her while dealing with a Tybalt who has finally, FINALLY confessed his feeling to her. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I have been waiting for this forever and a day! Not to mention that one of his subjects is attempting to usurp Tybalt’s throne and the Countess of Dreaming Glass, Treasa Riordan, is up to something.

This was an amazing book and I am sooooo tempted to re-read it right now. Seanan McGuire, you had better write the next book because I’m drooling for more! Rating¬†A+

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!