A Local Habitation: An October Daye Novel
by Seanan McGuire
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Gayle Surrette
DAW Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756405960
Date: 02 March 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
October "Toby" Daye should have learned long ago that when a job looks easy, that's when you should write your will, pay up your insurance, and run the other way. But when Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, and her liege, asks her to check on January O'Leary in the County of Tamed Lightning because he hadn't heard from her in a while -- it seemed simple and she should have known better.
Needless to say, when Toby and Quentin arrive, no one expects them, they don't believe that they're who they say they are, and complain that Sylvester has been ignoring and not answering their calls. The fact that Tamed Lightning is an area that is in contention in the usual convoluted fey politics, means that it has been a territory that takes in a lot of misfits -- as long as they're good with technology and magic. But what Toby notices is that the cats are acting funny, but maybe that's because she has a rather strange relationship to the King of Cats.
Toby has managed to pull her life together since Rosemary and Rue. But when you've lost everything and everyone that you loved, it's not easy to move on. Toby is basically a loner and Sylvester is pushing her to become involved. The fact that Toby is also a changeling, or a second class, or non-citizen to most fey, doesn't help when she's working with full-fey royalty. Let's just say Toby is no diplomat.
There's a mystery to be solved in Tamed Lightning, and it needs to be solved as soon as possible; if Tamed Lightning doesn't look solidly placed to rule itself, there's going to be war. It's up to Toby and Quentin to figure out what's going on and come up with a solution before that happens.
Once again McGuire manages to pull the reader in and keep them involved in the story from the start. Toby is an engaging character. She has a foot in both worlds, moving between the two while maintaining a strong belief in who she is and what she stands for. As the first changeling to attain knighthood, she has a strong sense of justice while some of the legal niceties may escape her grasp.
This series is turning out to be one of my favorites because Toby seems so real she could walk off the page. But then there's nowhere she'd ever fit in, which is what makes her so memorable and so appealing.
Coming in September 2010, is the third book of the October Daye series, An Artificial Night.