Rec a Series highlights one of my favorite series, past or present. I aimed for monthly when I started it then realized I don’t have that many different series I’m willing to recommend. I have some I enjoy, but few that I want to sing about from the rooftops. I’d been in a bit of a slump recently, re-listening to some favorites on audio while trying to find something new to capture my attention. After some starts and stops, I found the October Daye by Seanan McGuire.
*note: at the time of posting (11Dec18), the first in the series was on sale for only $1.99. See link below.
October Daye by Seanan McGuire
The October Daye books tell an unromanticized view of the fae from the point of view of the titular character, also known as Toby to her friends, a changeling. As half-fae and half-human, Toby struggles to belong to both worlds while actually belonging to neither. It’s a fine line to walk and it sometimes leaves everyone a little bloody.
Most of the books are set up like a murder mystery. Makes sense, because Toby is a private investigator who sometimes works for the humans and sometimes works for the fae. She’s an anomaly in faerie, a changeling who’s earned a knighthood in a pureblood’s court. She gathers allies almost without noticing it, tackles problems with a distinct lack of care for her own welfare, and finds love and loss and love again along the way.
I love these books for a myriad of reasons. Namely, they’re damned good books, well-written and revealing enough mythology to keep you interested but not enough to make your eyes glaze over if you’re not into that sort of thing. Toby grows as a person. She starts off angry at the world for what was done to her and what she lost as a result of it, but she overcomes it to a degree. It pops up occasionally, as it should, here and there, but usually she can muddle through. This series isn’t always a comfortable read. It’s good, as I said, but it’s not always cheerful or happy. There is death, there is heartbreak, there is sorrow. You don’t always end with a sense of “everything’s gonna be all right,” though you do feel like she’ll overcome whatever’s getting her down.
I listened to these, which is a plus since I learned how all the funky fae words are pronounced, and love Mary Robinette Kowal’s narration. I didn’t in the beginning, but she grew on me with every reading. Her voice for Tybalt took some getting used to until now I hear the cat in it, but I absolutely adored her voices for Duke Sylvester Torquill and the Luidaeg (pronounced Loo-shack, no, really) from the beginning. A few pronunciations have shifted over the course of the series, like the fae knowe going from being pronounced like “no” to “now,” but overall, she’s been delightfully consistent.
“There’s never been any love lost between us, and there probably never will be, but you keep your word and I know that if you say you’ll do this for me, you’ll do it. Your honor might survive betraying a friend because the friend would forgive you. I wouldn’t.”—Rosemary and Rue
“How many miles to Babylon?”—An Artificial Night
“I do so love how all magic comes with its share of dire warnings and unclear requirements,” sighed Tybalt. “It’s like being on the stage, only there’s no director, and the understudies have all died of typhus.”—Ashes of Honor
“Sorry… I got distracted listening to you and hot glued myself to my unicorn.”—Chimes at Midnight
“I just wasn’t anticipating Goblin assassins with crossbows pushing me into a situation where the only viable exit involved riding a mermaid’s wheelchair into the marina. Sometimes I think my life is too complicated.”—One Salt Sea
“That’s the Luidaeg, singing ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.’ In a karaoke bar. In front of other people.”—The Brightest Fell
October Daye –
Number of Books: Twelve (note: audio and ebooks may not contain the shorts listed on the covers)
- Rosemary and Rue
- A Local Habitation
- An Artificial Night
- Late Eclipses
- One Salt Sea
- Ashes of Honor
- Chimes at Midnight
- The Winter Long
- A Red-Rose Chain
- Once Broken Faith
- The Brightest Fell
- Night and Silence
Number of Extras:
- Through This House—a novella set between Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea, appears in the Harris/Kelner-edited anthology Home Improvement: Undead Edition (audio link).
- In Sea-Salt Tears—a short story focusing on the Luidaeg’s life away from Toby, free to download
- Never Shines the Sun—a Luidaeg story about Toby’s changeling’s choice commissioned for the print edition of Chimes at Midnight(MMP edition)
- Rat-Catcher—a story about Tybalt’s origins, appears in the Subterranean Press collection, A Fantasy Medley 2.
- Forbid the Sea—sequel to Rat-Catcher, free to download
- No Sooner Met—a Toby and Tybalt story, best read after Ashes of Honor, free to download
- The Fixed Stars—a story about the Luidaeg long before October’s birth, appears in the BAEN anthology Shattered Shields.
- Heaps of Pearl—the story of how Patrick Twycross met Dianda Lorden, free to download
- Full of Briars—a story about Quentin Sollys, best read after Chimes at Midnight if you don’t want spoilers
- Dreams and Slumbers—included in Once Broken Faith and should be read after that book, a tale of Arden Windermere
- Many more available through her Patreon
- No, the thirteenth book, The Unkindest Tide, is scheduled for 2019