Of course Toby’d wear a bloody Tolkien t-shirt under that leather jacket.
Five Octobers ago, sj introduced me to a wonderful selkie novella called In Sea-Salt Tears, and thus pulled me into Seanan McGuire’s amazing Faerie-verse. Like a totally normal reader, I immediately started my October Daye adventure with Book 5 (because that’s where all the mermaids are, duh), and promptly got confused (but pleasantly so) by all the references to knowes and changelings and such, but also absolutely delighted with all the everyday details of McGuire’s world-building – the scent of each person’s magic; the way they swear using phrases like “Oak and ash” and “Root and branch” and “Oberon’s balls”; the way they blend 21st-century mortal life with the older/more timeless Faerie forms; the way the faery characters are both unearthly and totally human in their feelings and actions; the way Faerie completely accepts LGBT characters as just a natural part of society…
I love the way this world is structured, from its roots to its youngest branches, from the Big Three to the Firstborn to all the faerie races, from the purebloods to the mixed-bloods to the changelings, from the deeper realms to the Summerlands to the mortal-side San Francisco apartments. I love the urban fantasy adventures we get to go on that blend mundane mystery/adventure plots with supernatural settings and details – murder mysteries involving magical weapons, missing children trapped in half-mortal shallowings, drug rings selling goblin fruit…
These books aren’t perfect. The series, like October herself, goes through a learning curve, working out the plot holes and the characters (*cough* Toby *cough*) making stupid decisions and Maeve’s teeth the repetition and Captain Obvious comments (see my October Daye drinking game for some more fun Toby tropes). Even the newest books have a few kinks in the story thread, a few places where I went from
But the memorable characters and incredible world-building make up for the pitfalls, and keep me wanting to know, What happens next? Will the Luidaeg end her contract with the selkies? Will Simon Torquill be saved? Will Luna and Rayseline ever forgive Toby for waking him up? What the freaking oak and ash is going to happen with the county of Tamed Lightning after April and Toby’s totally world-altering actions in Of Things Unknown?
So far, we’ve seen Toby avert two wars, solve a bunch of murders, find dozens of missing children, thwart a plot to turn Faerie completely digital, battle the ancient and nasty inspiration for the Snow White story, perform a few resurrections, consistently turn the male-hero-rescuing-female-damsel trope upside down, and now… and now. And now, she’s finally getting to the heart of Faerie’s biggest issues. Now she’s getting closer to figuring out why the Big Three left in the first place and locked up the deeper realms. I have a feeling we’ll be meeting Oberon, Titania, and Maeve in person by the series’ end. I’m calling it. I’m ready to place bets. I’m with this series for the long haul.
P.S. On a totally random note, this is my mental movie cast:
Jennifer Connelly as Toby/May Daye
Benedict Cumberbatch as Tybalt, the local King of Cats
Cote de Pablo as the Luidaeg (seen here, singing “Poor, Unfortunate Souls” at Toby’s bachelorette party. Best moment in the whole series).
Jeri Ryan as April O’Leary, the cyber Dryad