What a beautiful, brutal book.
This is Seanan McGuire’s first novel, and it’s the first thing I’ve read by her. I fell in love with it very quickly, fascinated by the world building and rules of magic and diplomacy that the characters live by. It’s an intricate, dangerous world coexisting alongside the human one, always in danger of discovery but surviving nonetheless.
The Fae come in a wide range of bloodlines, pulling from fantasies from all over. As such, there’s a big cast of characters, but none of them feel underdeveloped. Many of them have a graceful brutality to them, not all of which is shows itself in physical forms. Tybalt, Devin, Dane, and the Luidaeg all stand out as prime examples, though all of the characters are fascinating.
Then there’s October (Toby) Daye, protagonist and narrator of the novel. If you enjoyed the first season of Jessica Jones on Netflix, I think it’s safe to say you’ll like Toby’s snarky voice, PI work both in the mortal world and in Faerie, and sense of justice. She’s an amazing character, and while she’s put through almost literal hell to solve the mystery of her friend’s murder (not always willingly), she comes out stronger on the other side, finally breaking free of her former mentor and lover’s abusive hold. His influence kept her from trusting her friends and believing she had a support network. She wins free of that, and while the book’s ending is far from happy, it is fitting.
I gave this book four stars on Goodreads because there were a few moments that were a bit too convenient to be believable (like the rose goblin showing up for the first time) and some of Toby’s narration can get a bit TOO wandering and repetitive for my taste, but it really is a wonderful book by an extremely skilled author. I can’t wait to read more!