“Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas…
Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn’t stopped, January may be the next victim.”
With introductions seen to in Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation thrusts October’s services as a PI/Knight Errant to the forefront, setting the stage for a locked room-esque mystery that dangerously escalates as the pages turn.
Where Rosemary and Rue was character driven, establishing October’s past, present and personality alongside other key players, A Local Habitation is plot driven. If, like me, you read for character, don’t be concerned; growth is achieved, insights are there to be taken apart. I was plenty pleased; my appetite for what yet may develop thoroughly whetted. And if, like me, you happen to enjoy detective novels or mystery stories, you will be pulled into the events of this book, avidly attempting to unravel the tight knot of lies, secrecy and murder alongside Toby and Quentin, who, to my delight, had a larger role in this book. Once again, it’s all good.
The action essentially begins when October’s liege, Sylvester, sends her to a small, contained County to make contact with his niece, whose calls abruptly stopped three weeks prior. Quentin is tasked with tagging along, and so they pack up and head out to Fremont, cognizant of the fact that they’re traveling into a political disaster zone with no back-up and no hope of a quick rescue if something goes wrong. And, don’t you know it, something goes drastically wrong. Toby and Quentin aren’t in Fremont for more than two days when the first murder occurs. The staff of ALH Computing – owned and operated by Sylvester’s niece, January – knew nothing, saw nothing, and not a shred of evidence was there to be found on the body or at the scene. Unfortunately for Toby, matters have only begun to get complicated.
Toby is a PI, yes, but she’s not an expert on murder, and admits repeatedly that she’s working blind, relying on logic, skills specific to her heritage, and determined stubbornness to puzzle out motive and opportunity. Her inexperience slows her down, which is unfortunate because the killer is operating at an increasingly faster speed, but she stays put when another might have run. The story is tense, but I found it dense, too, thanks, I think, to the necessity of wading through all of the possibilities at Toby’s pace. I was always engaged, no doubt about that, but I didn’t zip through A Local Habitation the way I did Rosemary and Rue. That’s neither a complaint nor a criticism; just a personal fact.
I mentioned before that Quentin, the young Daoine Sidhe who fosters at Sylvester’s Court as a page, has more page time in this book, and I could not have been happier about that. His character matures the most under the harsh hand of the events that unfold and, as October observes, he has so much potential. I can’t help but wonder what he’s going to be like when – I hope not if – he’s older; how the tentative bonds he’s formed with Toby may come in to play. And Tybalt. If he hadn’t won me over completely in Rosemary – oh, but he did! – he would have sealed the deal in Habitation with his snarls, his awesome lines, his jacket and his tight trousers. (I would have read the book for the exchange that brings up those tight trousers alone.)
A Local Habitation kept me up late – far too late considering work the next morning – but I had to finish it in what amounted to a sitting and a half, broken as it was by work shoehorned in between. (Folks, take a lesson from me: Do not start a new book hours before you’re due in at work. Next time I’ll even try to take my own advice.) I suppose it’s not hard to guess my next move. In fact, I’ve already if only briefly begun An Artificial Night.* Or even the move after that, which will soon find me at a book store, buying Late Eclipses so I can move to it without pause as soon as the third book is done. That is the best testament I can give to how much I am enjoying the October Daye series.
*Actually, since scheduling this to post I’ve finished books three and four. And have promptly begun to experience withdrawal symptoms.
Previously: My review of Rosemary and Rue