The downtown San Francisco Safeway was practically deserted.
–Seanan McGuire - Late Eclipses - c.2011
The fourth October Daye novel.
If you haven’t read any of the previous books in this series then this review will contain spoilers. If that doesn’t bother you continue on, but I would really recommend reading the whole series, the more you get to know Toby and her world the better it becomes.
At the end of An Artificial Night Toby escaped the clutches of Blind Michael and in doing so killed him. That goes against Oberon’s decree. Killing a purebred is forbidden. Of course it was in self defence and she was saving the children of many others, purebred and changelings alike, so it was more than justified. But that won’t stop the Queen of Mists. She is ever so slightly insane and she already really doesn’t like October. Any excuse will work.
And not only that, but October keeps getting hints that Oleander de Merelands is back. No one else seems to have seen her though, is it all in Toby’s imagination? Is she going mad herself?This is my favourite of the series so far. Although that may just be because the more you read in the series the more you can immerse yourself in the character and the world. And this book is all about Toby beginning to understand who she is. Part of being a changeling is trying to balance two identities, the mundane world versus the fairy. Toby straddled that divide for as long as she could. Before the series began she had loved and had a child with a mortal man, but she had always had to hide part of her life from that family. But she could never fully embrace her fae side either, too much snobbery in fae society for them all to accept a half human.
So she was constantly straddling that divide, as the series has progressed Toby has increasingly been pulled into the fae world. And now she is really beginning to reflect on what it is to be who she is. Not trying to be one or the other, but to be who she is.
And of course who she is is a hero.
She’s always had a bit of an issue with heroes. They don’t tend to live long. They get other people killed. She’s not that fond of either of those negatives. But they also do the right thing and save people. And that is what Toby is great at. Sure, she makes mistakes, but she learns from them. And she has learned a lot since the first book.
She did have a lot to work her way through, being a fish for so long isn’t something you just brush off, nor is losing your family in that way. But she has come to terms, to a certain degree, with the past. She’s learned she can still have friends, and that you can make a new family.
I’m looking forward to the next book, and the book after that