To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.
Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.
Toby thought the last year was bad.
Christal’s Review – 5 Skulls – A
ASHES OF HONOR is the newest release in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. This series has slowly become one of my absolute favorites in urban fantasy. It has fabulous world building, characters that constantly grow and adapt, and a storyline that continues to deepen and evolve with every book. These books are an auto buy for me and I cannot recommend them highly enough!
This book finds Toby in a very sad state. She is still healing from the events of the previous book, One Salt Sea, and the losses that she experienced. She’s pulled deep into herself and managed to shut out almost everyone who cares about her. Etienne comes to her with a very personal request, recover his newly-discovered, changeling daughter, and Toby cannot resist a friend. Even though Chelsea is only half fae, she has more power than the Tuatha have seen in centuries. She’s on the run from someone or something and Toby has to find her before she rips unrepairable holes throughout Faerie.
“You can’t save everyone and leave yourself lost, October. It isn’t fair. Not to you and not to the people who care about you.” – Tybalt
The kidnapped child is a plotline that Ms. McGuire has used before, but she changes the details of this one substantially and makes it feel new and fresh. Seeing Etienne deal with the fact that he actually has a daughter, let alone that she has been kidnapped, was very interesting. We learn quite a bit more information about him, his background, and what life was like at Shadowed Hills while Toby was a fish. I liked the resolution of this story and am interested to learn more about Chelsea’s powers and the sealed realms of Faerie.
The real strength of the October Daye novels lies in the characters. Toby herself is strong, caring, incredibly nuanced, and has a fascinating background. She has joined the hallowed ranks of incredible heroines like Kate Daniels, Rachel Morgan, and Chess Putnam. She is completely believable and her emotions run the absolute gamut. I mourned with her, I hoped with her, and I loved with her. I felt everything that she did. I found myself almost in tears, both happy and sad, many times throughout this book.
Toby’s life wouldn’t be complete without the rag tag family she has collected around herself. As I said before, we learn much more about Etienne but we also have appearances from both Sylvester and Luna. May, Toby’s former fetch, is a large part of her life and has basically become her sister. Quentin, Toby’s squire, is endearing and quick-witted. He continues to come into his own with each book. Raj, the Prince of Cats, also look to Toby as his unofficial knight and I love seeing the vulnerability in him that only comes out around Toby and Tybalt. The Luidaeg and Walter, the Sea Witch and a chemistry-teaching fae respectively, make appearances to offer their valuable services to Toby and her investigation. We also get to visit with April, the countess of Tamed Lightening and the only cyber-dryad. Since April is mainly a computer system, it is hilarious to see her trying to understand the nuisances of human interaction.
“’He said that he was sure you would be amendable to this course of action.’ April paused, eyes widening, before she said indignantly, ‘I believe he may have lied to me!’” – April O’Leary
I know, I haven’t mentioned Tybalt yet… Oh Tybalt, the dashing King of Cats, how swoon-worthy you were in this book. I’ve been Team Tybalt since the very first novel and I am happy to say, we get a very large amount of development on the Toby-Tybalt romantic front. Tybalt has been Toby’s rock, her calm in the storm, the one person she can always count on to show up with both chaos and assistance. They spar and argue and flirt and fight, the romantic tension is delicious. The payoff though, that was unbelievably beautiful.
“’It’s been a long time since I’ve loved someone, but I know what it feels like. When you turn from me, it hurts. When you think badly of me, I think badly of myself. When you do stupid, suicidal things, I want to slap you upside the head and demand to know how you can be so brilliant and so blind at the same time.’ Tybalt’s expression was calm. ‘If that’s not love, what is it?’” – Tybalt
I am emotionally invested in this series entirely and this book just confirmed my devotion. If you enjoy fae-influenced, mystery-based urban fantasy with a strong lead heroine and a motley cast of supporting characters, check out this series. The first book was a little rough, but Seanan McGuire soon smoothed out the edges and has created an amazing series that deserves more recognition.
Series Reading Order:
1. Rosemary and Rue
2. A Local Habitation
3. An Artificial Night
4. Late Eclipses
5. One Salt Sea
6. Ashes of Honor
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