Review: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

chimes at midnight

4 out of 5 Stars

This is book 7 of the Toby Daye series

Faerie calls. It is your burden, and your blessing to answer.

I gotta admit. I thought this one was a bit of a stretch. Not that I minded plans to overthrow that psychotic bitch, the Queen of the Mists, but Queenbreaking is a dangerous line of work to get into. Basically, Toby has a problem with goblin fruit, a fae fruit that is sort of like valium for purebloods and black tar heroin for changelings, only way worse. One taste of goblin fruit and anyone with human blood is addicted. It’s an addiction that always proves fatal. When Toby raises the fact that changelings are dying in the streets, not something the Queen of the Mists gives two shits about, the Queen takes this opportunity to exile her from the kingdom.

So Toby decides to exile her from the throne.

Huh? I mean, that seems a little… intense, doesn’t it? I know finding a new apartment in a new city can suck but to put yourself on the line like that, to work against a monarch, which if she’s discovered doing means treason, which means death and then forget finding a new apartment. Of course, it’s not like Toby has to do it alone. Everyone seems to have been waiting for someone to challenge this nameless woman, who oh, by the way, claimed she was the child of dead King Gilad, a pureblood Tuatha de Dannon, only no one thought about how the Queen is a blend of several races but doesn’t have a drop of Tuatha blood. Oops. But of course, if they can make Toby do the messy job of getting rid of this crazy woman…. Why not?

This has some really cool stuff in it. First of all, Borderlands books is part of the setting. It’s a bookstore of mythic proportion in the Bay Area  (I live In the
Bay Area, so that is part of why I love this series so much) There is also a magical travelling library called the Library of Stars. The reason you need a library is twofold. I mean, if you want to depose a Queen, you need to find another heir to take her place so you need geneologies, and if you want to find a way to deal with addiction to goblin fruit, you need some reference books.

As usual, there’s lots of fun magic. Any Toby book requires a trip to the Luidaeg, who is only too willing to say, out loud, that the Queen is full of shit but she can’t say anything more. What she can do is work on a tracking spell to help Toby find who and what she needs. Walther is also working on a cure for goblin fruit addiction. There are magical trees in the Muir Woods with deep secrets. (I mean I knew it! That place is full of magic.) And of course, there’s danger to Toby’s life, sometimes caused by her own amazing abilities, which can only be cured in the most dire and death defying ways.

Our crew draws ever closer. Tybalt and Toby are finally a thing. I mean, finally!! And he really puts himself on the line for her in this one. We find new depths to Quentin, her squire. He’s more than just a pretty face. I mean, he’s been through the wars, this kid, and had to sacrifice his first love to the fairie/human divide.

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. Anyway. 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 kitties, 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

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