Serial Reading: October Daye #4-#9

Pandemic life has brought me back to reading series in a big way, and I've been continuing to work through Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. I am enjoying these books, but I don't have enough to say for individual reviews. But on the other hand, I do want to remember what I thought of each later, so... time for a lightning round!

Book 4: Late Eclipses - Toby races against time to find a poisoner.

A lot happens, but I don't have much to say about it. Running! Reveals! A villain who last appeared in book 1 that I didn't remember! There's a lot of death in this one, and the scenes where Toby is tortured by iron poisoning are very effective. 

Book 5: One Salt Sea - Toby races against time to find some kidnapped kids before a war starts. 

I liked this one quite a bit. It introduced a whole civilization of sea fae, new characters, new powers, etc. Toby only doubled back on herself like a video game character replaying a level once and only passed out once. Spoiler: We say goodbye to Connor, which... was anyone surprised? Really?

Book 6: Ashes of Honor - Toby deals poorly with loss until a changeling kid in crisis needs help before someone else kills or exploits her, possibly destroying Faerie in the process.

I was so relieved to have Connor off the board (finally) that I kinda skimmed through all the self-destructive behavior that opens this book. I liked the new characters and getting more about the past of Faerie and the structure of the world.

Book 7: Chimes at Midnight - The Queen's animosity toward Toby comes to a head, but luckily for our heroes, she's not actually the rightful heir to the throne.

There's something slightly forced about the inciting incidents here, but the discovery of the truth and assembling of allies works well. The complicating mess around Toby getting dosed with magic drugs and turning herself mostly human is somehow both repetitive and compelling at the same time. It's my biggest ongoing uncertainty about this series: I can't decide whether I think the repeated plot elements and themes are effective or annoying. I do like that at least the power creep so common to this genre feels baked into the character premise.

Book 8: The Winter Long - A friend from the past is a foe and a foe may be a friend. Toby learns more about her mother's life before she was born and takes a dangerous stand.

Apparently, the series was building to some of the revelations in the book, and it does feel like everything kind of comes together here. New characters and returning characters and some status quo changes that feel earned. Possibly my favorite so far. I did find it fascinating that the meta message in this book is that the people who were most helpful to Toby when she was struggling with depression and trauma aren't necessarily all people who are healthy for her to be around now that she can stand on her own. 

Book 9: A Red-Rose Chain - Toby, not exactly the pinnacle of diplomacy, is sent to the Kingdom of the Silences to stop a war. 

Hey, some different plot stuff! This book brings a lot of dangling plot threads together to create some new status quos and some big open questions for later books to deal with. I liked it a lot. 


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