“Two years ago, October ‘Toby’ Daye believed she could leave the world of Faerie behind. She was wrong. Now she finds herself in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, sharing an apartment with her Fetch, and maintaining an odd truce with Tybalt, the local King of Cats. It’s a delicate balance – one that’s shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended.
Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head one more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile. But if Oleander’s back, what’s her game? Where is she hiding? And what part does Toby’s mother, Amandine, have to play?
Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher. For the Queen of Mists has her own agenda, and there are more players in this game than Toby can guess. With everything on the line, she will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most – because if she can’t find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she never thought she’d have to face again…”
All October Daye, All the Time. Imagine those words in flashing, neon red lights, and pretend I hung them up sign-like on the blog during the month of April. It really was the Seanan McGuire/Toby show around these parts, with reviews of the first three books in the series going up one after the other in an awful rush. And so I put off reviewing Late Eclipses for two reasons: 1. My mind scrabbled for new superlatives to apply and came up blank, and 2. I figured regular readers of the blog may appreciate a breather. A month and a handful of days later, here we are again.
Why is that such a problem? Well. Toby’s heritage has always been something of a puzzle; piece by piece, it’s begun to come together. In Late Eclipses, the snick of one of the bigger pieces snapping into place reverberates across the last quarter of the book. Which is swell. Except for the avalanche of questions it unleashed. And those piling on top of the numerous wait, does that mean? moments I was already sifting through. Like I said. Damn.
Shortly after I met Toby in Rosemary and Rue, sitting in her car on a magically enhanced stakeout, I admired her. Love took root not long after; it’s a full-blown thing now. For every knock she takes – and this installment’s knocks would make a heavyweight prizefighter proud – Toby finds a way to get back on her feet. She’s not invincible; she sways and stumbles, but she stands when others might fall. In these pages, Toby’s brand of strength and vulnerability found its sweet spot. It’s no great shock that I continue to be a pom-pom wielding, card carrying member of her cheer squad.
But. Forget Toby’s high ranking among my favorite UF heroines. Forget the secondary characters; each one a blinding light in a field of fireflies. And nevermind the bloody fantastic world-building that deepens and enhances the plot in each book. If you’re anything like me, there is one inescapable reason to read this series: Tybalt. King of Cats.
A man who knows when a woman needs to understand the way of things on her own terms, before even she realizes it. A man who doesn’t push, but remains resolute in his protection of her. A man who is outrageously sexy in a million little ways. Someone fetch the smelling salts. In Late Eclipses, the tension between Tybalt and Toby had me strung tighter than a violin string. Bonus: he has a nephew I adore.
As I wait on One Salt Sea, what do I find myself doing? Fretting. Which is to say, if you’re looking for an emotionally engaging series that delivers on every level, look no further.
|The series so far, linked to my review:|