That’s right, Lovecats and Biblio-fae-ls (just go with it). Forget Meghan and Harry. THIS is the wedding of the century. Of the millenium! Of the eon, perhaps (when the First of the Firstborn herself is officiating, you know it’s a big faeking deal)!!!
After twelve IRL years and fourteen books of will-they-won’t-they/hate-to-love/whoops-have-to-avert-another-war-first shenanigans, October Bloodletting Is My Love Language Daye and Tybalt This Is Why I Packed A Metric Ton Of Wet Wipes Stratford FINALLY make it to their own wedding.
Commence deadly political plot involving the High King of the Westlands!
I mean, is it really a legitimate ceremony if Toby doesn’t have to foil an attempted coup in the process?
Seanan McGuire. When Sorrows Come. New York: DAW, 2021. Nook.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 times Toby blinks in bewilderment. Or notes the admittedly extravagant maple and amethyst accents. Or has to explain to the High King of North America how crime scenes work and why sending your subjects blindly into rooms that are
probably definitely booby trapped is a Very Bad Idea.
Coffee Pairing: Still going with that Tim Horton’s latte, containing fifty pumps of maple syrup in a raw amethyst goblet (basically just a scooped-out geode), and maybe a few rose petals on top because this is a FANCY OCCASION, PEOPLE.
- “Eric’s Song,” by Vienna Teng
- “Head Over Feet,” by Alanis Morissette
- “Lovecats,” by The Cure
- “Rose Red Dress,” by The Jenkins Twins
- “Up Here, in Canada,” by Clark W.
So, to be fair, A Killing Frost was a very hard act to follow. I mean, how do you top the discovery of the honest to gods King of All Faerie in your aunt’s spare bedroom?
By comparison, When Sorrows Come is a standard Toby adventure. But, you know what? Toby deserves a break after finding out her secret immortal human grandmother was the one who broke Faerie and sent the Creators into hiding all those centuries ago and is now married to Toby’s ex fiance; saving her daughter from a second kidnapping and near-death by turning her into a different species; resurrecting a nearly-extinct race; and recovering one of those aforementioned gods from his comatose human disguise by temporarily giving up her memory.
A simple plot against the High King is probably a palate cleanser.
Toby’s friends and family stage a relationship intervention and throw together a wedding plan without her. Because when you’re dealing with someone who has to dodge poisoned arrows and diffuse major political incidents on a near-daily basis, you eventually just have to say, “Screw it. The wedding’s in three days. Your bags are packed and the guests have been notified. High King’s orders.”
As surprise parties go, this is pretty well played.
So, after a token protest, Toby heads to Toronto with her small entourage, including Quentin who by the way had to physically alter himself with the Luidaeg’s help so no one would recognize him as the Crown Prince of North America because political reasons and whatnot.
Anyway, of course things get weird as soon as they apparate into the royal knowe. The Gwragedd Annwn who greets them — the High King’s dangerously gorgeous (the fae, amirite?) seneschal (i.e. first officer/right-hand lady) — mistakes the Sea Witch for Toby, and Oberon Himself (disguised as a nondescript fae who’s definitely not feline in any way) for Tybalt.
She also seems a little out of it with regard to recent events such as, I d’know, the resurrection of the Roane…something the hand of the High King should absolutely have known about, considering the royal demesne includes the coastal province of Nova Scotia (and considering she herself is supposed to be from Nova Scotia).
But whatever, we’ve got a wedding to make somehow definitely finally happen, which at this point is probably the most Herculean challenge Toby’s ever faced. That, frankly, anyone associated with her has ever faced.
Srsly, they act like the fate of all Faerie hinges on Toby actually saying “I doth.” Which, I get the odd sense, may not be a total exaggeration… 🤨
But anyway. Weird misunderstandings aside, preparations continue. Guest rooms are settled. Fancy dinners are attended. Assassination attempts are attempted.
It’s like they knew the bride would go completely zilla without a quick knife fight between dress fittings and venue tours.
But it’s fine; the Doppelganger (a literal type of fae whose power is exactly what you think it is) is disarmed and sent to the dungeons and the CSI portion of the wedding officially begins. Like I said, it’s pretty standard stuff.
They find the real Gwragged Annwn locked in a storage-closet-turned-aquarium, the guards with red shirts get booby trapped, the High King almost actually gets assassinated but is saved by Toby’s blood magic with the inconvenient side-effect of some accidental memory-sharing (Oh hai Quentin; didn’t see you there! Still don’t recognize the Sea Witch’s strangely boring companion, though, so that’s ok)…
Then there’s some Canadian faery tale historical research (apparently the High Kingdom was supposed to be in New York, but what with the iron-rich human epicenter that a certain harbor city would become…well, you understand. Lucky there were a few Roane around to predict such things!), which all leads to a final showdown with the former king of New York (a.k.a. the lost Kingdom of Oak and Ash), who’d disguised himself as the Court Lie-Detector to make a strongly-sworded protest against the man who’d beat him to the High Throne.
On a totally minor side note, the non-High King apparently had a long-ago fling with Eira I Eat Poisoned Apples For Breakfast Winterrose. I’m guessing that’ll be important later on.
And then it’s FINALLY cake time! Sure, there’s a brief last-ditch attack by the Sore Loser’s supporters (bc if anyone’s wedding is going to feature an actual objection, it’s October I Attract Chaos Like My Genetic Code Is Just A Carbon Copy of Murphy’s Law Daye’s), but it’s ok bc Toby’s dress is literally stain-repellent (her friends truly get her), and then the star-crossed couple FINALLY FOR REAL says they do.
And With Reveling that befits such a miraculous occasion, the end novella/epilogue dishes out all the magically delicious cake, heart-meltingly sweet mini-speeches, and awkward encounters with that one uncle who probably should’ve just sent a card (*sigh* Oh hai Sylvester) a hopeless shipper could wish for.
Phew! So, that was the long-awaited Wedding Episode and it was as delightfully chaotic as one would expect — a true credit to its liege, the Almighty Seanan McGuire. It was a little tame after the last book, but, again, Toby deserves a somewhat non-cataclysmic wedding day after all she’s done for Faerie.
Other fun moments:
- Captain Pete (a.k.a. Amphitrite, Firstborn of the Merrow) making an appearance at the reception and throwing herself at Oberon like a screaming teenager at a Beatles concert, confusing everyone who still just sees him as that strangely forgettable dude following the Luidaeg around for some reason.
- Toby explaining human wedding customs to a horrified Tybalt (They do what to each other with the first bites of cake??)
- Realizing Simon and Sylvester have basically switched places in Toby’s life — the one who turned her into a fish for fourteen years lovingly walking her down the aisle, while the one who all-but-raised her going all Duke of Gaslit Hills on her. Dangit, Seanan McGuire and your feels-wrenching narrative powers!
- Realizing my dream wedding cake was dark ginger “with a boiled frosting center,” topped by “vanilla cake with extra vanilla, and a strawberry rose center,” topped in turn by “chai with a raspberry jam filling,” which is itself crowned by “almond and honey,” all of which somehow vibe perfectly with chocolate icing, all along.
- And, finally, an outfit shout-out! A grudging tip of the hat to the Luidaeg (yes, I’m still salty about that whole “Liz knows better than to tell me no” business) for her official self-introduction/intimidate-the-royals dress: “a purple-black medieval gown with a subtle pattern of tentacles worked all through the fabric.” Annie sure loves her ironic Disney references.
- Ok, fine, it’s also sweet as shell that she’s been sending Amphitrite messages in bottles like they’re an actual pair of Disney mermaid besties.
So! What do you think, Bookwyrms? Was this the most fun royal/celebrity wedding you’ve ever vicariously attended? What would your fantasy layer cake be? And, to the Canadian Bookwyrms: does it really just smell like pancakes all the time? ‘Cuz that sounds delightful AF, and I used to live in a town that smelled like Nestle’s every other day (bc of the Nestle factory).
Aladdin GIF from gifer.
Spoilers GIF from giphy.
Hotel Transylvania GIF from wifflegif.
You Guys GIF from tenor.
Put a Pin In That GIF from yarn.co.
Let’s Party GIF from google?
I guess GIF from gfycat.