Review: Carniepunk

Reviewed by Jen

I’m a little late getting around to reading this 2013 collection of carnival themed short stories, but I learned it included a prequel to a series I am reading now and I wanted to check it out. I found the stories to be very uneven, both in tone and in how much I enjoyed them. But there were enough engaging entries, I found it worth the read.

Painted Love – This is the first thing I have ever read by Rob Thurman and I have to say, it was a bit odd. It follows the observations of Doodle, an enigmatic traveler who attaches himself to a man named Bart, a sociopath working at a carnival. The story is told entirely through Doodle’s eyes, though he does not participate much in the action. To be honest, I thought he was a dog until his true form was revealed at the end. Didn’t get much out of this one.

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Review: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

Reviewed by Jen

I never felt completely ok with the resolution of Toby’s relationship with her daughter. A few books back, Gillian made the Changeling’s Choice and she opted to become fully human. Toby honored those wishes and stepped out of her child’s life. But now, Gillie has been kidnapped again, and human or not, she will never be someone who Toby could turn her back on. So our heroine must put past hurts aside to help her ex-fiance and his current wife find the girl they’d raised as their own.

Right away, we know this kidnapping has a connection to the Fae. There are hex bags in Gillie’s room and someone is leaving clues that count on Toby’s special skills to track her through false trails and traps. The story follows her efforts to figure out who snatched her daughter and bring the girl home, all while mending the relationship with Tybalt so badly damaged by his kidnapping in the last book. [Read more…]

Review: The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

Reviewed by Jen

The more things change in this series, the more they stay the same. And that make sense in a world that features characters who have lived hundreds of years if not more. Since the very first book in the series Toby has faced so much prejudice and disdain for being a changeling. We have seen the fae characters wrinkle their noses at any and all beings they considered lesser. In many ways, this precept stands above all other things. And it rings more true than ever here.

The story begins with Toby in a happy place. She celebrating her bachelorette party; she has a great group of friends and family she loves. She has a future with Tybalt and she’s really quite grateful for where things stand. And that’s a huge flashing sign that everything’s about to go to hell. Which of course it does. [Read more…]

Review: Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire

once broken faithReviewed by Jen

Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series is showing no signs of slowing down. This installment gave me all the things I love about these books. It’s engaging, with plenty of action and great pacing. The world-building is interesting, consistent, and relevant to the story. And most importantly, McGuire gives me characters I care about. She draws them with depth and history. She makes me feel like I know them. I’m invested in their losses and wins, their friendships and enemies, and every step they take on their path to an HEA. [Read more…]

Series Reading Order: October Daye

This is the chronological reading order for the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. The first four short stories listed are prequels to the main books. I would suggest reading them after Rosemary and Rue or even after A Local Habitation for maximum enjoyment, though you could read them first (or truly at any time) without any ill effects. Though “In Salt Tears” is also set chronologically before the first novel, it may contain spoilers for elements revealed in One Salt Sea, so I placed it after that novel in the list below. The same is true for “Heapes of Pearl,” which could spoil elements of The Winter Long.
seanan mcguire

*Denotes short story/novella

**”The Fixed Stars” is an ancient prequel, which is loosely tied to the series by one character. It takes place about 1500 years ago.

Review: A Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire

red rose chainReviewed by Jen

I have to give credit to Seanan McGuire. It’s a pretty great feat to keep a series entertaining and engaging after nine books; and that is just what she has done here with this latest installment in the October Daye series. She crafts new stories and circumstances for her characters that feel fresh, while she still draws on their rich history and past connections to make them relevant.  She is consistent without ever being boring. But perhaps most importantly, she continues to infuse these characters with depth and emotion, making them easy to care about and root for. [Read more…]

October Daye Short Stories by Seanan McGuire

rat catcherBy Jen

“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.

Dreams end.

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?

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Review: The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

winter longReviewed by Jen

Holy cow. This book rocked my socks off. It takes the series full circle in a way I never expected, but satisfies completely. Obviously, the journey itself is supposed to be a mystery. The blurb couldn’t be more cryptic:

Toby thought she understood her own past; she thought she knew the score.

She was wrong.

It’s time to learn the truth.

But the thing is: the book is better for it. I’ll talk about what I can without spoiling the big reveals. [Read more…]

Review: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

chimes at midnightReviewed by Jen

The October Daye series just keeps getting better and it shows no signs of winding down.  This installment is fast paced and action packed. I didn’t want to stop reading.

As the story begins, Toby and Tybalt are three months into their new relationship and they are every bit as good together as I knew they would be! They’re working together to try to track the goblin-fruit drug that is permeating the streets. The drug is instantly addictive to changelings and deadly to humans, but the Fae don’t really care. Unfortunately, the problem has grown too big for Toby’s crew to handle on their own, so she brings the problem to the Queen for help. [Read more…]

Review: Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Untitled-2Reviewed by Jen

Well, it’s about damn time. This is the book that Tybalt fans have been waiting for. It’s THE book, y’all. And it was every bit as satisfying as I hoped it would be. I say this, in part, because we finally get all the feels, but also because the story is just that good. [Read more…]