I’ve been listening to Writing Excuses for quite a while now and periodically an October Daye novel comes up in their Book of the Week recommendation. A a couple of months or so ago I got the first one – Rosemary and Rue. And I have to say I really loved it.
October Daye – Toby for those in the know – is a changeling, half fae and half mortal. When the first book begins she is a private investigator for both with a human husband and a thin blooded changeling daughter. While working a case she is turned into a fish and would have died but for a tourist who happens on the scene and moves her from land to the deep pools surrounding them allowing her to escape from her attackers. The problem is she’s left a fish for 14 years. When she finally gets out she flees to the mortal world determined to leave the Fae behind (all this is only the first two or three chapters of the first book by the way). But Fae comes looking for her in the form of a curse and she’s forced to solve a murder to stay alive. One would think that such a return to Fairy might not be an inducement to stay back but October stays and the following books find her solving mystery after mystery for many and varied reasons.
Seanan McGuire doesn’t go easy on her heroines (I’m assuming she handles her male heroes the same way, I just have never read any of hers with a male lead). She wrings them through tough spots and just when you think they can take no more, she lights the blowtorch. And that’s fabulous. I apparently have some conflict problems with my fiction so I’m trying hard to learn from McGuire’s writing. But even as a reader I really love the books.
My personal favourite of the series is An Artificial Night in which the bad guy is Blind Michael and his Wild Hunt. I’ve always been interested in the myth of the Hunt and the personal journey Toby goes through in this book was very, very compelling and painful in many ways but cathartic in others. So far I’ve “read” all of these books in audio form read by Mary Robinette Kowal who is an amazing voice actor so I thoroughly recommend the audio versions.
The quality of the writing seems to get better as the series goes on – which can be expected as usually anyone working longer at something becomes more proficient – but you should still read the first books too because they’re awesome.
In any case, tomorrow is the release of the latest installment in the series called Ashes of Honor. I actually don’t know anything about the book except the title (and what the cover looks like) because I’ve been trying to keep myself from getting spoiled. Now to count the days to the Audible release.