Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

Late Eclipses
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I already read this, shortly before it came out, thanks to an ARC contest on the author's blog. But, with the next book coming out today, I wanted to refresh my memory, and see what bread crumbs I could pick up on by rereading the series. I've been picking them up on audio, because Mary Robinette Kowal's narration is lovely, and these are well-produced audio books.

This is the fourth book in the October Daye series. Toby is summoned to the court of the Queen of the Mists, who rules over the fae of California. The Queen is clearly plotting, but, before Toby can fully get to the bottom of it, she's whisked off to see to Lily of the Tea Gardens, who's fallen ill. Soon, everyone around her is getting sick or dying, and clues point to her losing hold on reality enough to have done it. The only other explanation is that it's Oleander de Merelands, the cruel pureblood responsible for Toby's 14-year stint as a goldfish.

The story marks a major turning point for Toby, for her and for the reader. She realizes that many of the things she's taken for granted all her life aren't true, which changes a lot more than just her outlook. She faces death several times in the book, and the presence of her Fetch, usually an omen of impending death, is explained.

But a lot more questions are raised in answering questions, most of which aren't answered in One Salt Sea. This is one of the major strengths of the series. The narrative tension doesn't make me want to scream about the wait for the next book, but it does make me speculate and hope.

Each book in the series has introduced someone new and interesting, and Late Eclipses is no exception. In this book, we meet Walter, the alchemist and chemistry teacher. We meet the imperious Dugan Harrow, who gives Toby plenty of reason to hate him. We also get a glimpse into the inner workings of Shadowed Hills, the duchy of Sylvester and Luna Torquill.

Though I knew the heart-wrenching scenes were coming up, they still hurt to read all over again. After the scene in the Court of Cats, I had to hug my own fuzzy beasts for comfort. Seanan McGuire can slice right through your defenses in a few well-chosen words.

She can also make you laugh with those few words, and, dark as Toby's world is, there are still moments to smile about. This book ends on a far more hopeful note than An Artificial Night did, though the world is no less complicated by the events in this book. If anything, Toby has even more reason for dread.

I'm going to have to skip over rereading One Salt Sea, because the next book is out now, and I don't want to wait to read it. Well, no longer than it takes for my husband to finish reading it, anyway.

I highly recommend you give this series a try. It's one of my favorites, by an author who's become my favorite.

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