It sometimes seems like Faerie reserves the hardest choices for the children.
It’s been a year since the events at the end of One Salt Sea — events that left October Daye deep in mourning. Since then, she’s been taking unnecessary risks and feeling directionless in her life. But now a new emergency has arisen that requires her attention. Etienne, a fellow knight of Sylvester’s court, has a changeling daughter he never knew about. He only just learned of her existence because she’s gone missing.
It’s surprising enough to Toby that the straitlaced Etienne was incautious enough to father a changeling in the first place, but the real bombshell is that the daughter, Chelsea, possesses a staggering amount of teleporting ability. She could be anywhere, and her travels are opening doors into Faerie realms that were supposed to stay closed. Her talent also makes her a target for ambitious fae who would love to have someone like Chelsea as a weapon. Tied in with this plotline is a crisis in the Court of Cats, in which she also becomes embroiled.
Toby has developed fantastically as a character over the course of this series. This is no longer the character who, I used to complain, would just miss big clues that were staring her in the face. This is a character whose weird adventures have left her with an equally weird collection of knowledge and resources, and she’s gotten really good at thinking outside the box and figuring out what contact or ability can help her with a seemingly impassable obstacle. Her emotional development is also a thing of beauty, as she learns that she doesn’t have to do everything alone and it’s OK to lean on her loved ones and to ask for help when she needs it. And here, in Ashes of Honor, she takes a big step forward in her romantic life as well.
The OCTOBER DAYE series just keeps getting better, and this is the best one yet. Seanan McGuire delivers a suspenseful mystery, haunting magic, hard choices, a dash of humor, and just the right amount of romance. Ashes of Honor grabbed me and kept me glued to the page.
It also has a bit more brightness in it than some of the other books in the series. Sometimes it feels like Toby pays a high price for every step she takes in her life, but here, it actually feels like she gets a few breaks for once. Some situations work out less tragically than I expected them to, and Toby takes time to appreciate the moment in a very significant way. I was smiling when I finished the book.
Also: I want an Afanc.