Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire

Once Broken FaithOnce Broken Faith

by Seanan McGuire
http://seananmcguire.com/bio.php #10

Mass Market Paperback, 350 pg.
Daw, 2016

Read: January 14 – 17, 2017

My name is October Daye. My father was a human; my mother was, and is, a Firstborn daughter of Oberon, making her one of the more powerful people among the fae, and a definite pain in my still-mortal changeling ass. I was born and raised in San Francisco, which explains my willingness to stay in a city that’s historically been full of people who insist on trying to kill me at the slightest provocation. Faeries are real. Magic is real. My tendency to greet dangerous situations by plunging headfirst and seeing how long it takes to get myself covered head to toe in blood is also real.

I live an interesting life.

It drove me crazy to not be able to get to this for four months — and now having read it, I think I’m even more mad that I put it off. But the important thing is that I got to read it. Now I have to try to do something more than sound like raving, mindless fanboy here. Which will be difficult, because when it comes to Toby Day, that’s what I’ve been since book 3 (and was pretty close to it since halfway through book 1).

It’s been a few weeks since Toby overthrew the King in the Mists and things are pretty calm — she, her Fetch, her Squire, her fiancée and the rest of her friends are happy and comfortable. Which we all know can’t last for long.

What ruins this state this time is a giant conclave of North American Fae royalty being held in Queen Arden Windermere’s knowe — overseen by the High King and Queen. Kings, Queens and other nobles that we’ve met and/or heard of already — and many others — are meeting to discuss and decide what to do with the cure for elf-shot. The political and legal ramifications of the new cure are far bigger than anyone — including readers — thought. The discussion will prove to be a clash of traditionalists, reform-minded people, class-conscious rulers, those in favor of helping Changelings, and those who can’t be bothered to care about Changelings.

As this is a Toby Daye book, it doesn’t take too long for dead bodies to start to show up — and the blood (much of it Toby’s) starts to flow. As the hero of the realm, it’s Toby’s job to find out who’s responsible and stop them from shedding any more blood.

So there’s political intrigue, a closed room (well, knowe) murder mystery — but that’s not where the heart of the book is. It’s in Toby and her family. Toby and her liege are still on the outs, Arden’s brother and closest friend were elf-shot, Quentin’s parents are in town and watching him closely, Tybalt has to keep her at arm’s length to preserve his independence as King of the Cats in this setting, and so many other things. There’s plenty of drama in each area of the book, enough to satisfy any reader, but when you add them all together — it’s that special blend of magic that only someone as good as Seanan McGuire can conjure.

This one ticked every emotional check box for me — including the ones that made me very aware of all the dust in my immediate vicinity. I can’t think of a problem with this one — I’m not so much of a fanboy that I can’t see problems with McGuire’s work, but the last few in this series have been so great. There are few books this year that I’m looking forward to as much as/more than the next Toby Daye, and books like Once Broken Faith are the reason way. It doesn’t get much better than this.

—–

5 Stars

Full of Briars by Seanan McGuire

Full of BriarsFull of Briars

by Seanan McGuire
Series: Toby Daye, #9.3 (but it takes place before The Winter Long)

Kindle Edition, 44 pg.
DAW, 2016

Read: August 8, 2016


I’m pretty torn about this one, to tell you the truth. Toby’s squire, Quentin, is our narrator this time out — and it’s worth reading just to see Toby, May, and Tybalt from his perspective. His parents have come to make everything official with the new Queen of the Mists — and while they’re around, they might as well check in on him and maybe bring him home.

There’s no action, no violence, Toby doesn’t come close to dying — it was so weird. There was a lot of talking — which was fun. Toby was Toby, being irreverent and nigh-disrespectful to Quentin’s parents, as she argued for them to leave him where he is. Tybalt was more Tybalt-y than usual, making sure that Quentin’s folks knew how little he cared about their status. Quentin’s growth as a character, as a person — his maturation, thanks to age and his service to Toby — is what’s on display here.

It was fun to read, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from it — but I’m not sure it added a lot to my understanding of Toby or anyone else (including the central character). This is the first non-full length story I’ve read in this universe, and it doesn’t really make me think about trying another one. Still, it was entertaining enough — and had one killer line (and a few that were really good) — so I might.

—–

3 Stars

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

Chimes at Midnight
Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Series: Toby Daye, #7

My rating: 4.75 of 5 stars

Seanan McGuire is a writing monster — she’s pumping books out like crazy — she’s got the Toby Daye books, the InCryptid books, the Indexing serial, other short fiction — plus the stuff she puts out under the name Mira Grant. And they’re all really good (well, I assume the Grant ones are — not my taste — but based on reviews/awards, etc. they’re just as good). It’s really not fair. But I’m not complaining. As much as I’m enjoying Indexing and the InCryptid books are just plain fun, neither are in the same league as the Toby Daye books — and somehow, I forget just how good that series is between novels. I’ve been hooked since, maybe Chapter 3 of Rosemary and Rue and the addiction just grows each time.

Chimes starts off with Toby looking into the Goblin Fruit trade, seeing what she can do about it. It turns out that the situation is worse than she thought it was, and so she decides she needs to take it to the Queen. Which makes sense, unless you think about how well things go between those two, but Toby does her duty — and things go from bad to horrible (skipping right over “worse”) in a New York minute.

The series grows by a few new characters, most of whom I fully expect to see returning often, if not in every book from now on — all interesting, powerful, and I want to know more about. The stakes are higher than normal here, which is saying something, because they’re usually pretty high — and the long-term ramifications of the possible (and actual) plot developments are significant. You can feel the significance of the choices Toby’s making on almost every page, she’s pushed to new limits and deals with them in her own inimitable way.

A couple of highlights for me: I swear at one point at the end of Chapter 5, Toby channels Leverage‘s Nathan Ford, which was a lot of fun to read, and says a lot about the improbability of what Toby’s trying to pull off. Also, we’re introduced to a new Sidhe — the Cu Sidhe (the canine equivalent of Tybalt’s Cait Sidhe) — and it might be my favorite thing ever that Maguire’s created. Sure, I’m a sucker for well written dog characters, and the way she introduces and uses this particular character? Magic.

The only quibble I have here is how quickly things are resolved — to get the ending that we do, I’d expect another 70+ pages of action, maybe even another book before we get to the conclusion we have here. I don’t want to say that McGuire rushes or hurries through things here, because I see (I think) how and why she did what she did. It just seems to be that it’d have been better to spend more time on it. Then again, considering the tension I felt during the last 100 pages or so, maybe it’s better that things went they way they did.

McGuire calls this this start of the second stage of Toby’s adventures, and in retrospect, I can see an element of closure in Ashes of Honor. Based on the shake up in royalty, the deals Toby has to make to get things done and save those she cares about, and the revelations about one particular character — there’s plenty of fodder for a great second stage, even without whatever new ideas she has in store.

I cannot wait.