Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire – Review

By on September 6, 2013


Chimes at Midnight author Seanan McGuire wrote that this book marks the start of the second stage in Toby’s journey. I find, after finishing the seventh book in the October Daye series, that I agree. The first few – if you think of six novels as a few – introduced the main hero Toby and her polyglot supporting characters. Readers watched Toby re-discover herself and her county after spending 14 years transformed as a goldfish, and the early books focused on Toby acquainting herself with all of the changes 14 years had wrought. They also focused on Toby discovering her own faerie heritage and her own power.

In the seventh book, Toby and readers alike have a firm grasp of history, and it is time to start looking to the future. Please note, I use the word “history” in the loosest sense here. By no mean do I imply that everything in October’s past, her family’s past, or in the history of Faerie is clearly understood. In fact, if you read this book, you will encounter numerous hints that the past Toby has mostly come to terms with is not the whole truth. By “history” I really mean “the history that Toby knows and thinks is mostly true,” which, in the end, may not mean much at all.

Now, as previously mentioned, Chimes at Midnight  marks a new place in Toby’s life, one that  finds her in a rare state of happiness. Surrounded by family and in a serious relationship with the local King of Cats (three cheers for Tybalt, everybody!), she finds her only problem to be the rapid spread of a deadly faerie drug known as goblin fruit. In an effort to stem the flow of the drug and prevent deaths, Toby confronts the head of the faerie court in San Francisco. But the Queen of the Mists has never been a friend of hers, and now Toby must fight her most political battle yet – but don’t be alarmed, it isn’t boring…unless you consider rescuing princes, rousing sea witches, declarations of love, and threatening war to be boring. The action readers have come to expect in October Daye novels is present, and we are finally confirmed in our suspicions on who Quentin’s parents really are (not that any of us had doubts, but it was still gratifying).

I still consider Ashes of Honor to be my favorite Toby novel so far, but I am a sucker for Toby/Tybalt action, and that book was the tipping point in their relationship. Also, since it was the conclusion to October Daye Act One by the authors’ own admission, it makes sense that it had a little more oomph. But Chimes at Midnight was a solid addition to the series, and I liked it immensely. Maybe partly because almost every character from the past six books makes an appearance and partly because it left me with tons of unanswered questions – especially about Amandine and Toby’s father – but also because it was tightly plotted and well-written. I am dying to know what happens next. The bonus short story at the end of the novel titled “Never Shines the Sun” just cracks the lid on a very large and possibly deadly can of worms.

If you liked this book, you might try: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire, Grave Witch by Kalayna Price, Trouble Lost Magic Found by Lisa Shearin, Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

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