Rating: 4 stars
Date begun: February 13th, 2012
Date finished: February 14th, 2012
This is book 5 in a series, so don't start with this one. Also, this review contains minor spoilers for previous books in the series, so if you mind that sort of thing, you may want to skip to the final paragraph.
After the events of Late Eclipses, Toby is trying to get used to her new role as Countess of Goldengreen, where most of the subjects who lived in the Tea Gardens now reside. She's dating again, and trying to get to grips with her new appearance. Sylvester talks her into taking Quentin as her squire, and she agrees once she realizes the young faerie wouldn't agree to squire to anyone else anyway. Things are seeming quite promising, when The Luidaeg (the sea witch) arrives to tell Toby that the sons of the Duchess of Saltmist, one of the Sea kingdoms, have been kidnapped. Unless the boys are found within three days, the Sea fae will go to war with the land fae, and no one wants that.
Having spent 14 years trapped as a fish, Toby is none too fond of water, but she has to get over that aversion to go to Saltmist to investigate the abductions. It doesn't take Toby long to rule out Duchess Dianda's main suspect, the Queen of the Mists. However, once she realizes who the real kidnapper is, she has to give her liege lord, Duke Sylvester, some very bad news. As her search for the boys continues, the stakes get higher, and much more personal for Toby as well.
With Late Eclipses, Seanan McGuire's books had really started to get their hooks into me. After finishing One Salt Sea, she's moved into pre-order territory. So many narrative threads set up in the previous books play into this one. Another fascinating area of McGuire's faerie world, the underwater faerie kingdoms, are explored. Toby is constantly adapting and developing and learning, and has to make some very big sacrifices in this book. The love triangle set up between Connor, Toby and Tybalt may also have been resolved, and while I've seen many people on the internet upset about the ending of this book, I can't really bring myself to be. I think it sets up an interesting new beginning for Toby, and am very much anticipating the next book, which unfortunately isn't out for another six months.