on March 9, 2011
When I began this series, I wasn't sure what to think. It wasn't my type of book at all. I can't get into fantasy and romance, and was scared this was going to wind up going the way of shiny vampires or other furry lovers. While the supernatural plays a huge role, instead of chasing me away, it's managed to draw me in, and this book is no different.
Toby Daye, the main character, is back in this latest installment. Once again she's faced with fighting against her half human side, and her half fae (fairy/not human). She's torn between 2 worlds, neither seeming to want her, both seeming to need her. Most of the time she feels the same. The book is so wonderful because some questions that are hinted at from the very beginning of the series are brought to light and answered, but it's so frustrating because the ones that are so glaringly obvious still aren't. As one of her dearest friends is killed she is forced into action. When she discovers she is being framed and others are being targeting she is forced to question everyone she knows, including herself. Throughout the book Toby finally learns the answers to questions she herself has never known, but leaves the reader wanting so much more. What about her family??? What about Tybalt??? There are times you want to reach through the pages and shake the author for dragging the obvious questions out. Yet she answers one you didn't even know exsisted. It's beautiful and sad at the same time.
This book didn't feature some of my favorite characters as much. I personally love seeing the Luidaeg a little more, and I do tend to favor Tybalt, but it did feature and answer a little more about Rayseline, and Julie. Some characters were brought back for brief appearances and if you haven't read the past books, you will get confused as to who they are and why they're around. This is one of those books that you really need to have the back story to understand what is going on. It's a wonderful addition to the series, but it leaves you waiting anxiously for the next.
on March 1, 2011
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy:
From the first book, ROSEMARY AND RUE, it has felt like I jumped into the October Daye series "in media res." Quickly swept away by action and character development, I had for the most part forgotten Toby's mysterious past. LATE ECLIPSES not only brings it all back, but also explodes Toby's own preconceived ideas about herself and her heritage. While not a cliff hanger, this book ends poised at the top of an arc, and I can't wait to read where all of this forward momentum is going to take the series.
If book #3, AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT, took us out of Toby's daily life and deep into the mythos of fairy, LATE ECLIPSES stays very much on her home turf. Unfortunately for Toby, that doesn't mean there isn't danger and intrigue, it just means her friends and family are in the line of fire. Flitting about Toby's consciousness, amidst mysterious sicknesses and political attacks, hints of Oleander de Merelands are appearing. One of the people responsible for Toby's fourteen year stint as a gold fish, the loss of her husband and child, and the twisted madness of her beloved liege lord's daughter, Oleander is one of the boogeymen of fairy, an evil individual and twisted assassin. No one wants to believe that Oleander is back, and even Toby is unsure of her own sanity at the suggestion, adding a psychological twist to a story that I already found compelling.
While the action is certainly non-stop, it was the characters that held my undivided attention. The book starts with glimpses of the home life Toby and May have built for themselves, and in the deadly cascade of events that follows, the possibility that they could lose that relationship was the one thought that really tugged at my heartstrings. In addition to May, Tybalt and Connor both share significant page time. I felt like I learned more about Tybalt and Toby's past relationship, as well as saw hints of it's future. However, McGuire isn't committing Toby to any one romantic path. Connor has always been the one that got away, and despite being married, the sexual tension (and his criminally insane wife) keep things interesting. Tybalt and Connor are two very different men, it may prove to be a Peeta and Gale moment when this tension is resolved.
Overall, Seanan McGuire has done a stellar job of developing her characters while interweaving action and suspense. As much as I enjoyed the romantic tension in LATE ECLIPSES, it was the details about Toby's family, both blood relation and adopted, that truly touched me. The story as a whole has me on the edge of my seat for ONE SALT SEA in September, I am eager to find out how all this will play out.
Sexual Content: Kissing, mention of prostitution and sexual relationships.
I like this series a lot. I follow a lot of series, but this one is one of the ones that I look forward to reading the most. Yes, there are some holes in the plots sometimes, and things can be a little obvious to the reader, while October still hasn't caught on, but these books are very creative and entertaining. I also like how they don't have sex scene after sex scene like some other fantasy books with strong women as the main characters, and I just love books about faeries. I'm not going to sum up the story, since other reviewers have done that already, but I do definitely recommend this book.
on March 3, 2011
This was truly a great novel. Wonderful writing and story telling from start to finish. It's really rare for me to run through such a gamut of emotions when reading a novel, especially in the urban fantasy genre, but this novel succeeds in taking you through a great emotional roller coaster without ever tiring you out. Each novel that McGuire writes just brings this series to a new level in quality. When you can't put your Kindle down for more then fifteen minutes even when your body is screaming at you to eat and you only stop when your vision starts to get blurry and you get headaches rivaling what Toby must experience when casting too much magic...you know you've got a fantastic book on your hands.
Not everything is bright and perfect though. Ms. McGuire still isn't that great at the 'mystery' elements of her story. Things felt really rather clear cut from the get go and solutions were a bit too easily solved. That's not to say the story didn't move logically and the characters therein didn't act in character, but still in the future McGuire could work to improve her mystery skill quite a bit as it would nicely strengthen the story. However, considering that is the only fault I can discern in her evolving writing style it can be easily overlooked. In the future though perhaps McGuire might tone down those elements a bit as this is a great fantasy series without them and they feel a little awkward when used. The other story elements were however so strong though that this concern is greatly minimized and the authors great narrative, storytelling ability, and witty voice carry her characters through brilliantly. I am slightly concerned with the empowering and revelations regarding her origins that Toby received in this novel as part of the charm of the story was Toby's seeming typicalness and underpowered ability compared to those of her friends and kin. While a logical and natural seeming evolution it'll be interesting to see how future novels handle this or if the series will start to fray with the increasing powers of the protagonist.
Speaking of protagonists it seems time that McGuire starts writing up the other characters a bit. Perhaps a novel or short story with them as a narrator would be a nice switch. The personality that McGuire instills in her characters is wonderful and I'd love to see her grow her other characters the same as Toby has within their own story.
Another wonderful aspect of all of Ms. McGuire's works to date is believable female protagonists. As a male reader of this genre it always shocks me when a female author writes a female character that is so shallow and stupid I question how they can continue to survive. Usually their survival is all in the hands of some strong male figure pulling them along with them putting up resistance or flailing against this assistance only to run back in the end to the character they at first considered 'evil'. Such female characters disgust me for their shallowness and would I think greatly anger the average modern woman so it's always a shock to see that type of character used so often. So it's VERY refreshing to see an author who beats that stereotype dead. Yes, Toby has love interests but she is under no myopic unseeing view of their faults nor does she rely on them to save her overmuch. Yes, their are incidents where they are there for her but the relationship feels naturally symbiotic compared to the parasitic female leads in the vast majority of other urban fantasy fare. Toby is no parasite and she is no shallow scatter-brained wide eyed innocent that will not hurt or deal with problems and constantly put them on the back burner because of some concept of goodness. Toby feels like the sort of bad ass character you'd want saving you or working for you not a meek self-serving goodness proclaiming fool that makes up so much of this genre.
Again an excellent novel and most assuredly worth a read. The length of the novel itself is so wonderfully filling and the quality above so above many of the other urban fantasy dreck out there that both make this purchase a no brainer. Get it now and get totally absorbed into Toby's world for the next six or so hours. Just don't plan on sleeping, eating, walking the dog, watching TV, or anything else really until you've digested this novel.
on April 12, 2016
There are some series that start out really strong and then start to lose momentum and then there are others that start out a bit slow but build over time to become better and better. I would say that the October Daye series definitely falls into the second category.
This series seems to be a bit darker than some of the other UF series I’ve become attached to. There seems to be a slightly grimmlike quality to it and not all the characters that you thought of as staples to the series are going to make it out alive. But that is part of the reason I like this. No character is completely safe and Seanan McGuire might kill someone I care about off at any time.
“What's the point of holding on if I can't save the ones that I can't afford to lose?”
Still even with all the potential death looming in the air there is still a frivolity and hilarity to Toby. She has even made a new friend in an unlikely place…her Fetch May. Who else do you think would befriend her personal incarnation of death??? Only Toby I think. But I love the addition of May’s character. She might have all of Toby’s previous memories up to the time May was sent to guide Toby to her death but now she is her own person and she isn’t quite like Toby in many ways the most obvious is that she is really quite happy and full of witty retorts and fun observations.
Toby has a few solid friends but she has also made plenty of enemies. It seems that one of them has decided to hit Toby where they think it will hurt the most by taking out her friends. When two of Toby’s friends that are never supposed to get sick fall deathly ill she is thrown into the mix trying to discover what is harming them. But with more enemies to count it is hard to discover who the main culprit behind this latest onslaught is.
But when you are down and out it seems that everyone comes out of the woodwork to take a shot at you. The Queen has found it a perfect time to place a trap for Toby and maybe a few others from her past want in on the torture Toby fun.
Still Toby soldiers on and finally we get a few answers and a lot more question about Toby’s mother and her true heritage.
“Oh, my dear, what she did to you, what you didn’t know she was doing, and how you fought! Like a lion you fought, never knowing the battle.” Lily sighed. “You were the last of her protections against roses and crossroads and all they meant, and when you failed her, she didn’t know what to do. My foolish princess who thought she’d be a shepherdess, if only she could make you a sheep.”
I will say that I’m really very invested in Toby and the overall arc of the Fae. I’m enjoying the world, the characters and the smaller book to book plots a lot better than the first few books. Overall everything has started to pick up some speed and it will be interesting to see going on what will happen with all the revelations and changes made in this book.
Other great things are scattered throughout too. There is of course Tybalt and I'm still totally on the TnT train, that can't happen soon enough. Surprisingly though besides May I am really loving both Quentin and Raj. I have some new theories about who Quentin might be and I'm thinking maybe we have a future King lurking in our midst. I am completely loving the mentor relationship between Quentin and Toby and love how devoted he is to their friendship. We all need friends like that. Raj on the other hand broke my heart a little in this...like I said before anyone can die and some deaths hit me harder than others but Raj's reaction to one in particular might have hurt the most.
On to the next one as I'm loving all of the stories more and more.
It's safe to say that I'm a serious Seanan McGuire fangirl. After being turned onto the series by a friend, I devoured each book. I mean, devoured. It took me maybe a day to finish each of the books, I was so into them. I stayed up way too late because I just couldn't put them down.
Late Eclipses was no exception to this, and I think this is my favorite book in the series so far. Everything that I loved about the first three books came together in a perfect storm of awesomeness in Late Eclipses. The plot is smooth, engrossing, and terribly exciting. The characters just keep on growing and evolving fantastically. Heck, I even cried a couple of times while reading this. My book weepies are usually reserved for particularly tragic scenes in the Harry Potter novels, but the fact that I was so involved with McGuire's characters that they made me cry repeatedly is seriously impressive. (Now, crying during movies isn't a particularly rare thing for me...) This book? Is amazing.
I have to say, it's tough to try to summarize the book without spoiling some of the big surprise moments. So, I'm going to point you to the book description and just dive right into my thoughts instead of trying to sum up. The plot is tightly paced and kept me hanging on every page (I had to force myself to go to bed around midnight; otherwise, I would have stayed up all night to finish it), and I think that the overall story of this book is definitely the strongest of the series so far. There's a mystery, much like in the other three books, but the mystery is intimately linked with Toby's own life. Instead of Toby getting thrown into another situation by her own sense of duty, this situation is ALL Toby, and we get to see how having the rug pulled out from under her affects her. I love, too, that Toby just keeps getting more and more complex
Which brings me to the utterly awesome characters in this series. I love that no one in this series is incidental. Characters that you thought were just one-offs in an earlier book tend to show up with bigger roles later, like Marcia, who takes tickets at the Tea Garden, or Danny, the bridge troll taxi driver. Quentin, the young daoine sidhe squire from earlier books, continues to grow up and become a really great character. May, Toby's fetch (a being that usually heralds a fey's death), is absolutely great, and she makes a fantastic counterpoint to Toby's personality. We get to see more of Sylvester, Toby's liege, and he finally becomes something more than a guy we occasionally see and that Toby loves and trusts. And Tybalt, the king of cats. Oh, Tybalt. If it's possible for me to love the guy more, I'll be pleasantly surprised. I liked him very much at the beginning of the series, but the more we see of him, the more I fall in love. You know that line from Shrek about ogres being like onions? Yeah, that's Tybalt, only less smelly and slightly less likely to make you cry. Every time he shows up in this series, Toby sees a little bit more of him. Those hints are so tantalizing!
I've only been to San Francisco once, but I loved the city. It really stuck with me, and I'm hoping I can live there one day. McGuire's writing really breathes life into my memories of San Francisco, and the descriptions not only of the city but of how the fey world overlaps are vivid and evocative.
If you're already a fan of the Toby Daye series, Late Eclipses definitely won't disappoint. If you're a newbie looking for some great, original urban fantasy, get thee to a bookstore and pick up this series. You won't be disappointed.
(Review originally published at The Discriminating Fangirl.)
October Daye wears many hats. She's a half-fae, half-human changeling private investigator and an oath-sworn knight of Duke Sylvester Torquill. Roommate to her personal harbinger of death, the Fetch May; friend to the feared and the friendless. Mostly she's a hero, and the mantle weighs heavy on her, though never more so than when a powerful Faerie monarch, the Queen of the Mists (by far not Toby's biggest fan), elevates her to the peerage as Countess and cedes her the Goldengreen lands formerly held by her friend Evening Winterrose.
It wasn't out of the goodness of her heart, for sure, but before Toby can suss out the dangerous machinations of an insane Queen, her world is rocked by the death of an old friend and shaken by fear when another falls ill. Everything she thought she knew about herself is called into question and her life is on the line...again...as she races to solve the mystery of who is poisoning those closest to her before the Queen can execute her for crimes that Toby's almost positive she hasn't committed. As old enemies and bitter rivals play deadly games, Toby struggles to find answers before a monster's death toll climbs and more friends fall.
I have such a good time reading about Toby and her various and sundry sarcasm-laden exploits. She's the sort of flawed but determined, fallible heroine that I find most interesting to read about and most rewarding to root for. She's also the biggest reason I've been enjoying this series as much as I have.
The biggest...not the only. I also thoroughly appreciate the imagination and creativity of the world building and mythos in this rich, complex series, and both recognize and admire the deft technical skill required to create and maintain recognizable, realistic, likable characters as they are being thrust into difficult and dangerous situations. That it is all told with an intelligent, witty, flowing narrative and deliciously caustic, sometimes humorous, always natural dialogue is another facet that delights.
But it's Toby that takes it to that next level. I pretty much adore her, and I so rarely say that about heroines, especially in urban fantasy. She doesn't have all the answers - hell, she doesn't even know half the questions. She's not the strongest, smartest, or quickest tool in the shed, either. She's got some issues (and by 'some' I mean holy hell, therapy is our friend!), can be a little self absorbed, and she's really not all that happy a person. Or nice. Or pleasant to be around. And she's so adorably clueless about some of the most blatantly obvious things...and kings I could name (meow).
She fights the good fight, though, and she does what she does not only because she can, but because she feels that drive, that sense of responsibility for people who can't. I admire that about her, and I love this series because of her.
Sure, there are some issues that pop up now and then; I had one or two with the main plot of this book. Though it was an action-packed and pulse-pounding thrill ride almost from the gate, I had a hard time understanding motivations and actions of all the interested parties. I get that some people think Toby is Public Enemy No.1, but I'm not totally sure why she's such a target, given her 'lesser' status as a changeling, her time as a fish, and the many years since. I'm unclear on Toby's inherent importance in the grand scheme of Faerie, but I'd previously thought she was more a weapon or tool for others to use when needed. It seems more and more lately that she's a focal point for hostilities and evil plot machinations, but beyond some nebulous new developments about her and her mother's bloodline, I'm not sure why that would be.
There were a couple of abrupt emotional about-faces in this book that didn't feel natural, where two separate ancillary characters who have been vehement in their animosity towards Toby were suddenly talked out of it - or at least talked down from the killing edge - with relatively little effort, despite both being issues for more than one book. I'm fairly sure I got lost somewhere in the revelation about Toby's blood and her mother's influence, because I'm still confused about what happened there. I also have an intense personal dislike for romantic triangles, so some of the developments in the book that more clearly define the Tybalt/Toby/Connor dynamic made me a little nervous. I'm holding my breath to see how that's going to shake out.
On the other hand, among the many and varied wonderful things about this book (and this series), I admire McGuire's ability to refresh the mind of a reader familiar with the series or bring a new reader up to speed on the series without overloading the story with exposition and unnecessary description, definition, and discussion. She doesn't weigh down the beginning with a ton of recap, instead she folds in nice little reminders of past history and descriptions of previously introduced characters as the story progresses and when its apropos for that particular moment. This allows the plot to kick off and the action to start and stay at a nice, fast, streamlined pace even as it provides necessary information.
I would still strongly recommend anyone new to the series start from the beginning, because while what happened in the first three books can be summarized, the development between the characters - and the characters themselves - are all too intricate and three dimensional, and in many cases have formed very deep bonds through their previously penned exploits. Too much of the nuance and depth of the story would be lost if unfamiliar readers don't start with the first book of the series, Rosemary and Rue - not to mention all that excellent reading they would miss. And it really shouldn't be missed. It's going to feel like a very long wait until the release of ONE SALT SEA, the next book in the October Daye series, which is set to release in September of this year.
Reviewed for One Good Book Deserves Another.
on January 30, 2015
Toby Daye is a true hero. Often black and blue, cheating death my millimetres, she manages to root out evil and protect Faerie in the nick of time. Though this novel is not as dark as the preceding book in the series, there is a dark side toFaerie and Toby finds herself there much too often. These books are best read in sequence. The first couple it doesn't make much difference but such has been Toby's life that subtleties and nuances will be lost and the significance of events missed altogether if you read this book first.
Like all the others, the book is superbly written, with characters that grow and develop. There are romances, but they do not drive the story. If you haven't read McGuire before, think urban fantasy crossed with epic fantasy. A world in which women can be Knights, and Fetches can be wrong.
on October 23, 2012
I absolutely loved this book. It is definitely my favorite of the 5 books released so far and was just about perfect.
Toby normally gets dragged into situations because of her sense of duty. In this book, the situation was very personal. She was at the center of the problem and all of her near and dear were affected. Those she loves are being poisoned or struck down by illness and Toby must find out who is behind it all. An old enemy seems to have returned, but something is messing with Toby's head and she can't be sure what's real and what's not. Someone at Shadowed Hill also has to be in on the scheme, but who would be so heartless? Toby also has to deal with being made Countess of Goldengreen and the treachery she knows is lurking behind the Queen of the Mists. These are just a few of the brilliant plot lines woven together in this book. There is so much more, including surprising information about Amandine and Toby's background, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. Everything comes together smoothly and beautifully. Nothing feels out of place or unnecessary.
The characters in this series are wonderful and almost everyone makes an appearance here. As much as I love Toby, I think Tybalt would get the honor of my favorite character. We learn just a little bit more about him in each book. May, Quentin, the Luidaeg, and Sylvester continue to come into their own as strong characters and we learn a little more about Lily, Marcia, and Etienne.
LATE ECLIPSES was a 100% engaging, unique, and touching novel. Quite a few instances had me on the verge of tears. This series has come a long way from the first novel and I can't wait to continue with Toby's adventures.
on July 5, 2014
Great read... great Series
I have come to love the Toby Daye series and recommend it to friends all the time. I'm not usually a Fae world enthusiast, however, Toby leads the reader through the fantastical with a good grounding in the real world, making it easy to follow. Lots of action, romance, plot and well defined characters make this well worth reading... I just love Tybolt, the Cat King! Can't wait for the next one!