“Rat Catcher” – According to Seanan’s website, this is an origin story for Tybalt. She recommends that fans read it, though, after reading at least two of the novels, so you can appreciate it. This is available only in limited edition print from Subterranean Press. I just couldn’t bring myself to spend $40 for a novella. Here’s the blurb, if you’re interested:
In the year 1666, a young Prince of Cats named Rand dwelt peacefully in Londontown with his beloved sisters, Jill and Colleen. He spent his nights at the theater, drinking in the works of Shakespeare, and had no interest in the day when he would be expected to rise up, challenge his father, and take his place as a King of Cats. For Rand, kittenhood was a wonderful dream, and one that he hoped would last forever.
All stories have to begin somewhere, and this is where the story of Tybalt, King of Dreaming Cats, began: with a boy, and his sisters, and the city that he loved and never planned to leave. When duty calls, can he make the choice that will keep them all safe, without giving up everything that he has ever wanted from his life?
“Forbid the Sea” – Another series prequel on Tybalt, set about 10 years after the events of “Ratcatcher.” It’s free on the author’s website. Tybalt is alone in London, after all of the Cait Sidhe and Fae left town. And he doesn’t really realize how lonely he is until he meets a selkie named Dylan. The two become fast friends and lovers. (This is m/m, but there is no on-page sex. Remember, the sexuality of the Fae in this world is very fluid.)
Anyway, we see Tybalt make his first emotional connection in a long time, only to see him lose it. It’s a pretty melancholy ending and helps show why he is such a lonely soul. (29 pages)
“Stage of Fools” – This is an early Tybalt story, set after “Forbid the Sea,” dealing with his time as King of Cats in distant Londonium, long before October, or San Francisco, or even North America. (Available of McGuire’s patron page.)
“Through This House” -4.5- This story appears in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology and takes place after the events of Late Eclipses. It follows Toby, May, Quentin and Danny as they try to make Goldengreen into Toby’s knowe. It’s not an easy task. Apparently, Evening was not the best steward of the land and the beings living inside don’t want another ruler as she was. Toby has to convince them that she is very different from her predecessor so she can pave the way for Lily’s people to have a home.
It’s a pretty short story without any big revelations or emotion. I didn’t read it before One Salt Sea and I never felt like I missed anything. But it’s not a bad little story, though. (About 22 pages.)
“In Sea Salt Tears” -5.1- Wow. This story is really good. It’s designed to be read after One Salt Sea and it tells the story of Elizabeth the Selkie’s relationship with the Luidaeg. You get the gist of their history in the novel, but I really felt the heartbreak reading their history here. This was no short affair. They loved each other for years –and when Elizabeth decided to claim a skin, it’s so very sad.
I would definitely recommend reading this one. It gave me many feels. You can find it free on the author’s website. (24 pages)
“No Sooner Met” -6.1- Read this after Ashes of Honor and roll around in all of the wonderful goodness of Tybalt and Toby TOGETHER. This story follows them on their first date. It’s sweet and a little awkward and satisfying in every way. I adore how willing Tybalt is to express his love. I know that the novels can’t take as much time to focus on the happy, so this short story really hit the spot.
I loved it. It’s free on the author’s website. (20 pages.)
“Never Shines the Sun” -7.1- You can only find this in the print version of Chimes at Midnight. Sadly, I have only the ebook, so I couldn’t get my hands on this one. Here’s the blurb:
In 1959, Faerie came for a little changeling girl named October Daye and presented her with the Choice that her mother had been struggling to prevent her from ever needing to make. But how did Faerie find her? Where did the channel of October’s destiny diverge? To know the answer, you must look to the water, and to the woman who many refer to as “the sea witch.”
It can be hard to deal with betrayal. Betrayal by family is so very much worse.
“Heaps of Pearl” -9.1- This story is a prequel for the series, but is best enjoyed after The Winter Long. Here we see the first meeting of Patrick and Dianda before they become rulers in Undersea. It’s a fun story and it was entertaining to see Simon and Toby’s mom back when they were sane and together.
“Full of Briars” -9.2- This is a short from Quentin’s POV, set after Chimes at Midnight. Here, we finally get to see the meeting between Toby and his parents. Quentin shows he has grown a lot in his time with Toby, but he’s still got some deep seated prejudices to overcome. –And he moves forward in a relationship of his own with someone, who for many readers, may be a surprise choice.
“The Fixed Stars” – This is a story from very long ago, featuring the Luidaeg. It’s part of the Shattered Shields anthology. It was back when she went by the name Antigone. Her firstborn brothers and sisters were about to face off in a pivotal battle with their merlin descendants and it was only Antigone who could see the true cost of victory. Here, she had to make a decision that could change the fate of mixed blood changelings forever.
“Dreams and Slumbers” -10.1- You can find this short in the pages after Once Broken Faith, which is where it falls chronologically. This is told in Arden’s POV and details her efforts to wake her brother, Nolan, from elf shot. It’s not as easy as she expected. I enjoyed getting to know the Queen a bit better and it’s always fun to get outside perspectives on Toby and her crazy life.
Obviously, some of these stories are easier to come by than others. None are required reading for the series, but some are really quite good and worth checking out!