October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire

Posted: June 27, 2013 by Arushi in Book Review
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October daye

October Daye by Seanan McGuire is a series that had been recommended to me a while ago. I should have taken that advice immediately – instead I took this long. Regardless, once I started I read all six books in one week. Sleep and I were only passing acquaintances in that time but it was totally worth it.

The series is named after the protagonist, a half-human half-fae changeling. But October is not just any changeling – she is Amandine’s daughter. The only child of the most powerful blood worker in Faery. The book started on a very unexpected note (for me) – the protagonist was in a happy relationship with her human fiance and had a daughter. Both of whom she loved deeply and who loved her back. She is a knight for the Duke of Shadowed Hills, Sylvester and has earned her title on merit. She works as a PI for humans and fae.

Simple, happy, sorted relationships are just not something we see often in Urban Fantasy. Then of course, Toby was turned into a koi for fourteen years and things all went to hell – but that is a lot more probable in this genre.

When Toby changes back into a human, she has no recollection of the time she spent as a fish – except what happened before she was changed. She knows some time has passed but has no idea how much. It comes as a very bad shock when she realizes just how much time is gone.

Her human family wants nothing to do with a woman who left them for over a decade and cannot even come up with a decent excuse. She wants nothing to do with the fae who are indirectly responsible for what happened to her. She was after all looking into the disappearance of her liege’s wife and daughter – Luna and Rayseline. She also does not want to face Sylvester because she believes she has failed him.

Her chosen exile ends abruptly when Countess Evening Winterrose, one of her few remaining friends, is murdered and puts her under a geas to find the killer. Toby is not just drawn back into Faery, but rather thrown back headlong. Still, the killer has to be caught and so in spite of all the attempts on her own life – she keeps at it.

It is here that we learn more about Toby. She might be Amandine’s daughter, but she has not lived a fairy tale. She ran from home when she was a teenager. She became a lot of unsavory things, until she chose to become the person who she is now. She had help, she had friends but ultimately Toby is who she is because of the things that she has done.

Their world too is not traditional Faery. Oberon, Maeve and Titania sealed the inner realms of Faery a few centuries ago before vanishing and the only the Summerlands have been left to the fae. Yet the traditions, the protocol and the madness persists.

Throughout the books, we learn more about Toby, about Faery and about the people – mostly fae but some humans, that she comes across. Every book has a crime (or equivalent) that Toby is called upon to solve. Sometimes someone asks for help and sometime she steps in when no one else would. She makes friends and enemies, both powerful. Her absolute dedication to get things done is her biggest trait and her biggest fault – all together.

It was interesting to see the character to grow in the 6 books all read back to back. How she moved from someone content to someone depressed, to somewhat happy, to passively suicidal and finally to someone content again. She carries her scars, but she does not pick at them anymore.  Her acceptance of the fact that she is a ‘hero’ was perhaps the best depiction of character development.

And this is just the protagonist. There is a complete cast of characters that is built up in the series, bit by bit, piece by piece until the reader is almost as invested in them as he/she is in Toby.

For example, Quentin is Sylvester’s ward. A snotty teen fae who thinks that the Daoine Sidhe are above the rest of the fae, and definitely above humans. It takes him a few books and constant exposure to Toby to realize that he has it wrong – that everyone can be equal even in their inequality.

Sylvester is the father figure in Toby’s life but he is far from predictable. He is a fae with his own secrets and reasons. Still he is one person who has always wanted good for Toby.  There is Connor, a selkie who happens to be Toby’s somewhat Ex and is married to Rayseline. Tybalt, the king of the local court of Caite Sidhe also is always around though his motives are usually his own.  There is the Luidaeg – a sea witch so powerful and so temperamental that the fae fear even speaking her name – who ends up becoming a friend. And this is just a taster.

Each book has a brilliant, intrinsic plot and every book tangles the reader and Toby deeper and deeper into Faery. There are secrets that you can only see the edge of, mysteries that you cannot wait to see solved, character you want more of – sometimes out of love and sometimes out of hate. This a series that once started does not let you stop until you are stopped by the unavailability of the next book.

Still, six books are out. Best start now. Next one is coming out on September 5 2013.

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