4 out of 5 Salty Stars
This is book 5 of the Toby Daye Series
I squared my shoulders, trying to ignore the fact that I was standing in the apartment of the sea witch, wearing a fairy-tale prom gown, waiting for the attack of the mermaids.
Is there a better quote to carve out of this series to represent what it’s really like? I think not. The fae inhabit every part of our world – including the oceans and lakes. Yes, we finally get some mermaids rather than just selkies… because I’m sorry, but selkies are boring. I know the Luidaeg might come for me for that, but it had to be said.
I love so much about this series – as I was reading it I wrote down a few words – just things about the series, especially this book, that made me happy.
Mermaids (yes, twice)
There is very little not to love, especially when we finally get to visit a whole new realm and see more fairy tale creatures. Sadly, the reason we are doing so is because war’s a brewin’ – I apologize for trying to sound like a pirate. Someone has kidnapped Paul and Dean, the children of Duchess Dianda of Undersea and her Doaine Sidhe consort, Patrick. The Undersea thinks the batshit Queen of the Mists has taken them. Toby isn’t so sure, but the Queen also won’t do anything to put off their suspicion – foolishly and stupidly assuming going to war is something they are honor bound to do. It’s idiotic, as the Undersea is twice as strong as the land fae, after centuries of very little warlike activity, and the Undersea having like, landsharks and twice as many people. The part underwater was probably my favorite – the Duchy of Undersea is just awesome.
Toby is dedicated to stopping the war, and has a short period of time to find the boys. In the meantime, people are shooting elfshot at each other, and allegiances are being tested. Many fae are hightailing it out of the Bay Area before shit goes down. Connor, Toby’s selkie boyfriend, is in the middle of all this. He might be Rayseline’s husband (a diplomatic marriage in name only) but technically, he’s a member of the Undersea. You can’t blame him for not keeping true to his marriage when the crazy bitch tried to kill her own mother and then took off. Now, his realm has called him back. He has to pick a side. Then there’s Tybalt. He’s proven to be an unshakable ally, but the Cait Sidhe are separate from the divided courts.
So much of this series is about lost children and stolen childhood… and how abusers can grow up to abuse. Faery is just not fair to its children. The pureblood children are rare and treasured while the changelings are fodder for their schemes. It’s also about all the secrets everyone is hiding. Something is going on with the Luidaeg and the selkies. There is always hints from the Luidaeg that she has helped and saved Toby for a reason. I have a feeling this has something to do with them.
Also, Toby is nearly indestructible now, thanks to her mother adjusting her blood in the last book. She knows she’s isn’t Doaine Sidhe but Dochas Sidhe. Only she doesn’t really know what that is. Finding out just might kill her.
Regarding the diversity quotient in this series – it takes place in San Francisco – we’re a very diverse place. I believe Dare and Manuel (their half human side) are Latinx, Luna, the Duchess of Shadowed Hills is Kitsune, which is an Asian fox-fae, and Lily of the Japanese Tea Gardens is from Japan. There are also raven maids, who are Indian. There is a Chinese fae who can alter luck. This series does have pretty good representation throughout. Also – lots of gay rep through the whole series, including a trans character in later books.
UPDATE: Sadly, Seanan McGuire has received some bad news. One of her beloved kitty’s, Alice, has been diagnosed with cancer. There is hope, but she is in a bad way and the vet bills are piling up. A few months ago, Thomas, her other Maine Coon had an intestinal blockage. So she could really use some help and support. Please buy her books, promote and review her books or, if you’re a big fan and would like to support her financially, she has a Patreon at: Seanan’s Patreon . This is a really hard time for her, and she asked that we don’t ask her what is going on – if you want to know, please check out her twitter page and she will update when and as she is emotionally able to do so. You can follow her here @seananmcguire