You read series like these and at a certain point, you start to see the writing on the wall. You know when something bad is going to happen. And you would think that knowing it would help make it easier to go down. But it never really does. This fifth installment of the October Daye series is the most emotionally charged one yet. It breaks Toby’s heart and it ends with her in a very different place from where she begins.
The Land of the Mists and the Undersea sit on the edge of war. Someone has kidnapped the Undersea princes and the land fae look like the most likely culprits. It doesn’t help that Queen of the Mists is equal parts horrible and crazy, so there is that. Somehow it falls on Toby to try to find and rescue the boys, to avert the war likely to decimate everyone she cares about.
I didn’t think I would be very invested in Undersea. Obviously, it’s a Connor heavy book, and as the story begins Toby and Connor are truly together, so I was a little miffed at what felt like a sure absence of Tybalt. But the author managed to pull me in, despite myself. Though I wasn’t panting for Connor and Toby to be together, it was nice to see her have a little bit of happiness. The worldbuilding involved with Saltmist was really cool and I actually ended up rather enjoying our time there.
But like the last book, Toby’s tie to the mystery ends up very personal. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it brings the series full circle in a lot of ways. Toby shows off her massive character and power growth, but it comes at a heavy personal cost. In books like these, no one who starts out happy ends that way.
For Tybalt fans, yes, he is a little less prominent in this book, but he is still around… still important to the story. This is really a transition book in a lot of ways, and the next story is bound to have a major role for him. Also playing important roles, my girl the Luidaeg, Quentin, May, Danny and even Raj. I love seeing all of Toby’s connections with her ragtag family. Oh! And the night haunts are back with some new revelations! Plus, I’m glad to see some folks get the comeuppance they so richly deserve. (Now if someone would just kill off that queen.)
All that… plus I cried. I totally knew what was going to happen and I cried anyway, dammit. Things didn’t have to end this way to get Toby where we all know she’s headed, but I guess it was the most expedient path. And really, the heartbreak for Toby comes in a one-two punch. It was what she willingly had to give up that was even harder to take.
I feel a little sore, emotionally. But only because I have come to care for Toby so much over the course of these books. Please let the poor woman have a little peace or at least a path beyond her heartache.
Click to purchase: Amazon
One Salt Sea
by Seanan McGuire
Release Date: September 6, 2011