Sunday, 8 September 2013
#CBR5 Book 114. "Chimes at Midnight" by Seanan McGuire
Rating: 4 stars
This is the seventh book about October Daye and as such, not the best place to start the series. If you like a paranormal series focused more on mysteries and adventure than on romance (not that there isn't romance too, once you get a few books in), then this is a good one. Go check out Rosemary and Rue if you haven't already. Also, as this is the seventh book, spoilers for previous books may occur.
As the only changeling (half human, half fey) knight in existence, October "Toby" Daye concerns herself with a lot of quests and issues that others don't bother with. Changelings are dying all over San Francisco from their addiction to goblin fruit. A fruit that's only pleasant and harmless to full-blood faeries, the goblin fruit is extremely addictive to changelings and humans, and the addiction gets so strong that they die from eating nothing else. Toby wants it off the streets and goes to the Queen of the Mists to have the problem dealt with, only to discover that the Queen is the one peddling the fruit, as she sees nothing wrong with changelings and humans dying. She also banishes Toby for her insubordination, giving her three days to remove herself from the kingdom.
Having started out a loner, with no recourse but to dive into danger by herself, Toby now has a squire and a boyfriend and a growing band of allies who can help her in situations such as these. When they discover that the Queen's claim to the throne isn't in fact valid, and that the children to the last King are still alive, but in hiding, Toby and her friends realise that they're going to have to stage a full scale rebellion. They just need to keep Toby alive long enough to succeed.
One of the features of these books is that Toby is normally in near to almost certain mortal danger at least twice over the course of each book. When I'd read nearly half of this book and nothing more serious than a banishment was causing her difficulties, I was starting to wonder what was going on. I needn't have worried, Toby is hit with a doozy of a challenge, which in many ways is made more complicated because of her unusual and unpredictable magic.
While a lot of the previous books focus on a mystery that Toby (who works as a private investigator when she's not a fairy knight) has to solve, or a quest she has to complete (usually involving missing children), this one is all about the removal of one false Queen to restore the rightful heir to the throne. As someone who tends to love a good gallery of supporting characters, I'm so glad that Toby now no longer has to solve her problems by herself. She's got a devoted and just achingly romantic boyfriend, she's got Quentin, her squire (who's parentage is finally revealed in this book, and I'm so happy that I called it at least three books ago!) and Raj, the Prince of Cats - her two teenage sidekicks. There's Luidaeg, the Sea Witch, and May, Toby's indestructible fetch (a death omen who now lives with her). Her liege lord, Duke Sylvester, only really makes a brief appearance in the book, but we get to explore exciting new locations, such as the Library of Stars (I want one!)
I now look back with envy to the days when I hadn't caught up with this series, and didn't have to wait impatiently for a whole year to read what comes next. The October Daye books, like Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels books and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson books are now books that I not only pre-order, but clear my entire schedule to have time to read. I don't want anything taking my attention away from the books. Now, having devoured the book in one day, I just have to settle in for the long wait for book 8. Sigh.