With a main character named October Daye, you just know a series is going to bring a slightly different perspective to things. Of course, whether you’re going to enjoy that perspective or not is a matter of taste, but I highly encourage you to give it a shot anyway.
Seanan McGuire‘s excellent urban fantasy series is an exploration of modern day faerie. October, or Toby to her friends, is a changeling, the daughter of a faerie woman and a human man. To most of the supernatural community changelings are outsiders, the addition of mortal blood to their faerie nature dooms them to outlive most of their mortal friends, but the fact that they still age and die makes them an uncomfortable reminder of mortality to the ageless fae. Worse, if they choose to live their lives as part of faerie they are expected to maintain the masquerade that the fae are gone, so they cannot live honestly with their human friends.
It’s a hard life that Toby and her friends must face, and she hasn’t had it any easier than others. It’s true that she was taken in by an honest to goodness Duke, and made a knight in his court, but even there she’s not entirely respected or treated fairly. And then the Duke’s twin brother conspires against him, kidnaps his wife and child and turns Toby into a goldfish for fourteen years.
No, Toby doesn’t have an easy life at all. But when she finally gets over being a fish (which apparently takes longer than recovering from being a newt) her trials aren’t over. In fact, they’re just beginning. In spite of the things she’s already suffered in Duke Sylvester Torquille’s service Toby keeps finding herself entangled in the politics of the Faerie Court. Between murders, conspiracies and confronting her own doppelgänger, it’s a wonder she can find time for anything else at all. But she keeps it up, if for no other reason than to save the children. Really, one of these days they’ll just stay put with their parents, but in the mean time the faeries of San Francisco continue to rely on Sir Daye to track their kids down when they turn up missing.
The two greatest selling points of Toby’s adventures are their pacing and their solid grounding in the rich legend of the British Isles. All the books maintain a breakneck pace that introduces Toby to clever and dangerous problems. As the only trained private investigator the Faerie Court has to draw on (they’re a very old fashioned people in some respects), it’s only natural that she wind up involved, even if the people who hire her don’t always care for her much.
McGuire does an excellent job evoking the feel of British myth, even in a story set in Southern California. While it’s hardly faithful to any one particular interpretation of the myth that actually serves as a strength, allowing McGuire to add, subtract and improvise the stories to suit her own needs.
Oh, and every book’s title is taken from a Shakespeare quote. How great is that?
If you’re into urban fantasy, I highly suggest checking it out.
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