Late Eclipses (October Daye #4) by Seanan McGuire
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 once 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 the 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 thought she’d never have to face again…
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I adore Seanan McGuire and the world of Faerie she’s built up around October “Toby” Daye, her changeling (half-human, half-fae) heroine. She’s put Toby through the wringer in each of the three previous novels and, after the events of A Local Habitation, I wasn’t sure things could be more stressful for Toby but I was wrong. So gloriously wrong. She has once again created a layered adventure for Toby to navigate, all the while answering questions that I, at least, have been wondering, like what happened to Rayseline and Luna when they were kidnapped, what will be the repercussions for killing Blind Michael, or what’s the Caite Sidhe court really like. There are other questions answered in the novel but to mention them here would be to spoil, which I try not to do, though I may have just spoiled the end of A Local Habitation for you just then. (If that’s the case, I apologise, but then have to ask: Why are you reading a post about a book that comes after one you haven’t finished??)
The writing in Late Eclipses is top drawer, and I was so hooked I finished the novel in one sitting. I’ll be re-reading it again soon since I’m sure I missed out on some of the details, devouring it the way I did, but I just loved it so much I couldn’t stop to take a breather. I love May, Toby’s Fetch, for her drive to become an individual, for her sense of humour, for her ability to make Toby’s life easier and more complicated all at the same time. I also love that we got to see parts of Toby’s past come back to haunt her and how she deals with it the way she deals with pretty much everything – a little bit of fighting, a little bit of fumbling, a little bit of help. Late Eclipses is a beautiful addition to the world’s mythology, teaching us more about undines and Toby’s past and the Cait Sidhe and the nuance of court life, and also a glimpse into Sylvester that gave him a lot more depth and emotion. Is it any wonder that I force this series on everyone I know, much to their delight? And is it wrong that I want to kidnap Seanan McGuire so that I can know what happens next, in One Salt Sea?
Plus, the cover…Chris McGrath has delivered yet another fantastic cover for the series. I love the mood he creates, and the fact that he used one of Toby’s outfits from the book. It’s awesome that Daw has kept the same artist for the whole series (at least so far). It really takes a series to that next level when the covers set a consistent tone.
Yet another book down for the reading challenge. It sort of feels like cheating when I would have bought this anyway. 🙂