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review 2018-11-13 21:48
Night and Silence / Seanan McGuire
Night and Silence - Seanan McGuire

In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie's involvement are everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.

 

I guess the fact that I’ve read to book 12 in this series would be an indication that it’s a hit for me. I don’t know how much longer McGuire can continue to spin the faerie tales, but I am a willing victim.

This installment takes us back right to the beginning, as it once again involves Toby’s human daughter, Gillian. In an earlier book, Gillian had made the choice to become fully human (the changeling’s choice) and Toby honoured that wish, despite her own heartache. But thinking that the Fae would leave Gillian alone seems to have been wishful thinking and once again some difficult decisions need to be dealt with.

At least Toby has her beloved Tybalt back at her side, although I didn’t find his sudden switch back to be the most believable plot point that McGuire has written! She’s going to need his support as her life becomes even more intertwined with The Luidaeg and she tries to re-establish family bonds with her genetic family, not just her chosen family.

There are certainly plenty of loose threads, where McGuire can pick up the narrative and spin us more of the adventures of Toby. I, for one, will be waiting impatiently for the next volume.

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review 2018-10-25 15:42
Daughter of the Forest / Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest - Juliet Marillier

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all...

 

I read this book to fill the Grimm Tale square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

To understand how much I love this novel, I must tell you how much I loved a Classics Illustrated version of The Wild Swans that I had as a child. It was one of the first things that I ever read all by myself and I read that comic book until it was tattered. This book is a retelling of that Hans Christian Andersen tale, which he probably heard as The Six Swans through the Brothers Grimm.

This version sets the story back into a pagan Irish setting, another thing that I absolutely adore. I’m a firm lover of the Fae, who seem to be behind most of the action in this version. I’m also enthusiastic about the details that Ms. Marillier has added to the tale. In the Andersen version, the brother left with a swan’s wing at the end is eventually fully restored to humanity, but Finbar in this version is left longing for his swan mate, since swans mate for life. I think the poignancy of the story is also improved by the modern realization that a person couldn’t spend years as a swan without having significant emotional issues.

I’m not sure how many New Zealand authors that I’ve actually read, but if Juliet Marillier is any indication of the talent available in that country, I will be seeking out more. It’s hard to divide the charm of the story from the quality of the writing—both are top notch in this book. This is yet another example of young adult literature providing excellence that I can fully appreciate.

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review 2018-10-22 18:56
Staked / Kevin Hearne
Staked - Kevin Hearne

When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn't mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it's not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki's mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won't come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

 

I read this to fill the Dead Lands square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

There’s plenty of vampire action in this installment of the Iron Druid chronicles to qualify it for my Dead Lands entry for Bingo. Plus it was a great choice for a Friday evening after a long week’s work!

I think this is one of the best books in this series—for once, I was perfectly content with the ending, even though at least one of my favourite characters was lost along the way. Granuaile and Archdruid Owen both get their own chapters and concerns. Owen’s troll troubles were highly amusing and his new Druid school was encouraging. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about Granuaile’s campaign against her step-father, beyond finding it quite realistic that it would take up more time and energy that she had anticipated.

Atticus seems to have finally have got things settled down, at least until the opening of the next (and last) book. A good choice on the author’s part, I think, to finish up before the ideas get feeling to repetitive. There’s only so much fleeing & smiting that he can do before he’s fought & fled from everything and everybody.

I think it’s a toss-up between the first book and this one for my favourite Atticus tale.

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review 2018-10-10 22:39
The Brightest Fell / Seanan McGuire
The Brightest Fell - Seanan McGuire

Things are slow, and October "Toby" Daye couldn't be happier about that. The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn't have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.

When Toby's mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do...until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes. Now Toby doesn't have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks. Not with Jazz and Tybalt's lives hanging in the balance. But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she's never met, one who's been missing for over a hundred years?

 

 

Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

Here I am, eleven books into the October Daye series, still enjoying it immensely. This is one of the books which is tough on Toby—she learns that hard, hard lesson that we sometimes have to learn. Your family doesn’t always have your best interests at heart. Sometimes you have to lean on your friends, lean on them hard, and trust your own instincts and abilities.

People can surprise you—Simon Torquill certainly plays that role in this book. Simon was put to sleep for a century in the last book and Toby is forced to bargain to have him awoken before the elf-shot has worn off. He’s not her choice of confederate, but her mother Amandine has left her no choices. McGuire makes a pretty good case for not judging our competition until we have spent some time with them.

It seems that everyone gets hurt in some way in this installment—May & Jazz are ripped apart, Tybalt is imprisoned, Raj has to assume the responsibility of the Kingdom of Dreaming Cats, Sylvester must allow something that will enrage his wife, Simon must save his daughter, The Luidaeg must put up with a constant parade of intense fae folk through her formerly isolated home. Toby gets pulled back towards humanity and must find a hope chest to return herself to her new Fae normal.

These books which contain the difficult choices and make Toby work with people she would normally avoid often end up being the most powerful in the series and this book is no exception. At the end, there is no question that she still has far to go, but we pause to let everyone rest & regroup. I’m next in line at the library for book number 12, Night and Silence, but it will probably be a couple of weeks, giving me time to rest and consider too.

 

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review 2018-10-01 22:30
Cold Days / Jim Butcher
Cold Days - Jim Butcher

For years, Harry Dresden has been Chicago's only professional wizard, but a bargain made in desperation with the Queen of Air and Darkness has forced him into a new job: professional killer.

Mab, the mother of wicked faeries, has restored the mostly-dead wizard to health, and dispatches him upon his first mission - to bring death to an immortal. Even as he grapples with the impossible task, Dresden learns of a looming danger to Demonreach, the living island hidden upon Lake Michigan, a place whose true purpose and dark potential have the potential to destroy billions and to land Dresden in the deepest trouble he has ever known - even deeper than being dead. How messed up is that?

Beset by his new enemies and hounded by the old, Dresden has only twenty four hours to reconnect with his old allies, prevent a cataclysm and do the impossible - all while the power he bargained to get - but never meant to keep - lays siege to his very soul.

 

I read this book to fill the Supernatural square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo card.

The difficult we do right away—the impossible takes a little longer.

But only a little, because Harry Dresden’s impossible tasks always seem to come with a deadline. Truly, if he doesn’t come through, lots of people will be dead.

Harry is now Mab’s Winter Knight and he’s learning why the last guy to hold the role was the jerk that he was. But like all good urban fantasy heroes, Harry has a whole gang of good folks (with various abilities and powers) who will walk into hell with him and he’s also pretty good at forging alliances across the aisle with some on the opposing side (or do they just think they’re on the opposing side?)

How appropriate to be reading a book called Cold Days when the sky was trying it’s best to snow on us! Cuddling up in a fuzzy blanket and reading the further adventures of Harry Dresden just seemed like the best thing to do!

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