One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire – review

By on October 17, 2011

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire review

Publisher’s Description:

October “Toby” Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She’s actually dating again, and she’s taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse.

Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby’s search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days’ time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her–and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws…

What I Expected:  I fully expected another enjoyable ride while following Toby Daye around in her world full of magic, surrogate families, and cutthroat political maneuvering.  I also expected to meet some new and interesting faerie folk.  I expected that Toby would be saddled with a nearly impossible task and that her fate and that of those she loves would be dependent upon her success.

What I Got:  I got everything I expected and more.  Not only are the fates of many of her friends riding on her detective work, but her actions also carry many unintended consequences.  Toby is facing growing up, which comes with trials, tribulation, and heartache.  I was very happily introduced to the fae who inhabit the sea with their very different lives.

What I Enjoyed:  I love how Toby has configured “her” knowe with the pixies and the bogeys sort of ruling the rest.  I was glad I had read the short story in Home Improvement: Undead Edition before reading this book, as it details how that happened.  Otherwise I might have been a bit confused.  Mild Spoiler Alert:  I loved that the pixies, when released from their lamps later on in the novel, work to help those that freed them.  Some of my favorite parts of these stories are the little behind the scenes details like this.  I love that Toby is using her talents in new and interesting ways.

What I Did Not Enjoy: There wasn’t too much I didn’t like in this outing, although I can’t say that the love triangle, mild though it was, was a favorite part of the tale.

Cover Thoughts:  I wasn’t terribly fond of this cover.  While I love the font and how it has stayed truthful to the style of the first books, and the quality of the cover art is there, the image of Toby lying dead in desert sand (yes, that is exactly what it looks like to me) does not seem to match the story.  I think I understand what the artist and designer were going for, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Would I Recommend this Title?  Of course I would.  This book would appeal, for the most part, to the fans of the earlier books of the series.  You definitely don’t want to read this as a standalone, because there are so many large and small pieces of the story that will not make sense to the reader without that background.  However, if you have not tried these books, you  may just want to give them a go.  A little outside of the ordinary paranormal investigator, Toby Daye is fun to follow around with her hang-ups, her insecurities, her competencies, and her motley adopted family.  Out of the many female investigators of varying sorts and styles out there in urban fantasyland, Toby feels very much to me like the girl you would see in the neighborhood store, or the one you see on a regular basis stopping in at the coffee shop.  She seems like real people.  I like that.

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1 comments
Maria (BearMountainBooks)
Maria (BearMountainBooks)

Yeah, that cover does zip for me. And I'm pretty much done with love triangles. Too many of them in the last 10 years worth of books--very avoidable. Good review!