4 out of 5 Winter Stars
This is book 8 of the Toby Daye Series
“Love is love. It’s rarer in Faerie than it used to be – rarer than it should be, if you ask me. If you can find it, you should cling to it, and never let anything interfere. Besides, he has a nice ass.”
You have to know that things can’t stay peaceful in Tobyland for long. I mean, things are better than they’ve ever been, and appear to be headed in a better direction than they’ve ever been for her and her clan of gathered family.
Yeah, don’t get too comfortable. Also – so much forshadowing and I did not see what was coming. Not for a minute. I am such an idiot. The clues are all there, even in the title, and I didn’t see a one.
First of all, Simon’s back. Yeah, The fish-turning, evil-minded, child-kidnapping, Oleander-conspiring s.o.b. turns up on Toby’s doorstep and claims he wants to be friends. Then he tries to turn her into a tree. I mean, I don’t think that’s a spoiler. You can’t expect a leopard to change its spots. He’s claiming this is all for her own good but how far can you trust a man whose magic smells like rotten oranges?
So much of secrets! There is so little I can tell you, but I’d have titled this, if it didn’t have the Shakespearean references “Sometimes They Come Back” like the Stephen King short story. You can never really be sure if shit is really dead, you know? Even when you have a BODY. That’s BLED everywhere. This is so out there that even the Luidaeg takes herself out of the equation. She almost dies but then when she doesn’t, she’s all, “I’m out” and just goes to sleep. It’s like, you handle this shit on your own, Toby. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for her to do that this whole series.
Since I can’t tell you very much about the plot or even character interactions because of spoilers, I’ll just mention the stuff I really liked about his one. There is so much more hinting at future events. Like we know something is up with the Luidaeg- she’s been hinting at things in the far future with Toby all along. The last book she finally let drop there was a reason she is “in retirement” and those things are starting to affect future events. There is the sense the Luidaeg is laying building blocks. Since Simon is back in the fold, we learn more about what led Toby to be turned into a fish, and more of his past. We also learn about Amandine, her mother. Not why she’s gone crazy, but there is something huge we learn that I can’t tell you cuz spoilers. May is kind of teaching Toby more about magic. Toby is nearly superhuman at this point. She can heal from just about anything and now that’s she’s nearly all fae, she can do things that she couldn’t before, like learn how to undo other people’s spells. It’s just cool.
We also go back to the Library of Stars. I’m just going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time.
“There is no fighting in the Library. Anyone who starts a fight or responds to a challenge will be thrown out. You may think you can take me. You’re probably right. But none of you can take the Library.”
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