Review: A Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire


red rose chain

4 out of 5 Rosie Stars

This is book 9 of the Toby Daye Series

Sometimes, the people in faery do dumb shit.

In the book before last, we got the Queen of the Mists deposed, drained of her Siren abilities, and then she escaped with a bunch of her followers. No one really seemed surprised. What does surprise everyone is when Madden, the Cu Sidhe seneschal to the Mists is elf-shot as a declaration of war. The puppet government of Silences, set up by our former, crazy Queen, (which is where, surprise, surprise, she has fled to regroup) are the ones who did the shootin’. And who does the new Queen Arden send to Parley but Toby.

Because diplomacy is so not something she’s known for.

And if you thought the Mists was prejudiced against the changelings when the former Queen was in power, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The man she put on the Duchy seat, Rhys, is a fascist. Changelings are nothing more than servants there. And not just changelings – they loathe anyone with mixed blood (which is weird – he is obviously only buddying up and probably bumping uglies with the former Queen to keep his power.) There are no animal fae or mixed animal/humanoid fae there, either. They are seen as beastly.

What’s beastly is the way Toby and her entourage are treated. The whole crew goes. Toby and Tybalt are engaged now so of course he has to go with her. May goes as her “ladies maid” so she can spy, basically, and Quentin is her squire. Finally is Walther, and boy do we find out some secrets. First of all, Walther’s aunt and uncle were the King and Queen of Silences, but they have been elfshot and stuffed in the basements of the castle while Rhys rules. They don’t exactly rest in peace, thanks to the experiments Rhys has performed on them. However… if they could just wake the sleeping King and Queen, part of this power play would be taken care of. And all they need to do for that to happen is to find a cure for elfshot. No big deal, right?

Of course not.

This is one of the best ones as far as pacing (which is always good) and our crew working together. I love the dynamic, and I love that May wasn’t just sitting at home answering the phone. A former fetch is a great ally to have on your side. I think my favorite was Toby going up against Rhys’ political bumbling. I mean this written too long ago to be a direct statement against Trump but he reminded me of Trump with his smug smarmy ass. I wanted to elfshoot him,

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 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


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