Book Review: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

April 7, 2011 Books, Reading, Reviews 3 ★★★★★

Book Review: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuireLate Eclipses by Seanan McGuire
five-stars
October "Toby" Daye, changeling knight in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, finds the delicate balance of her life shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended. Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile.

Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher, for the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda. With everything on the line, Toby will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can't find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she never thought she'd have to face again...

Late Eclipse is the fourth installment of the highly praised Toby Dayeseries.
Series: October Daye #4
Published by Penguin on 2011-03-01
Genres: Speculative Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Find this book on Goodreads
Buy the Book at: Amazon

I haven’t personally reviewed the rest of the Toby Daye series here at TDF, but it’s safe to say that I’m a serious Seanan McGuire fangirl. After being turned onto the series by The Bibliomaniac, I devoured each book. I mean, devoured. It took me maybe a day to finish each of the books, I was so into them. I stayed up way too late because I just couldn’t put them down.

Late Eclipses was no exception to this, and I think this is my favorite book in the series so far. Everything that I loved about the first three books came together in a perfect storm of awesomeness in Late Eclipses. The plot is smooth, engrossing, and terribly exciting. The characters just keep on growing and evolving fantastically. Heck, I even cried a couple of times while reading this. My book weepies are usually reserved for particularly tragic scenes in the Harry Potter novels, but the fact that I was so involved with McGuire’s characters that they made me cry repeatedly is seriously impressive. (Now, crying during movies isn’t a particularly rare thing for me…) This book? Is amazing.

I have to say, it’s tough to try to summarize the book without spoiling some of the big surprise moments. So, I’m going to point you to the book description and just dive right into my thoughts instead of trying to sum up. The plot is tightly paced and kept me hanging on every page (I had to force myself to go to bed around midnight; otherwise, I would have stayed up all night to finish it), and I think that the overall story of this book is definitely the strongest of the series so far. There’s a mystery, much like in the other three books, but the mystery is intimately linked with Toby’s own life. Instead of Toby getting thrown into another situation by her own sense of duty, this situation is ALL Toby, and we get to see how having the rug pulled out from under her affects her. I love, too, that Toby just keeps getting more and more complex

Which brings me to the utterly awesome characters in this series. I love that no one in this series is incidental. Characters that you thought were just one-offs in an earlier book tend to show up with bigger roles later, like Marcia, who takes tickets at the Tea Garden, or Danny, the bridge troll taxi driver. Quentin, the young daoine sidhe squire from earlier books, continues to grow up and become a really great character. May, Toby’s fetch (a being that usually heralds a fey’s death), is absolutely great, and she makes a fantastic counterpoint to Toby’s personality. We get to see more of Sylvester, Toby’s liege, and he finally becomes something more than a guy we occasionally see and that Toby loves and trusts. And Tybalt, the king of cats. Oh, Tybalt. If it’s possible for me to love the guy more, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I liked him very much at the beginning of the series, but the more we see of him, the more I fall in love. You know that line from Shrek about ogres being like onions? Yeah, that’s Tybalt, only less smelly and slightly less likely to make you cry. Every time he shows up in this series, Toby sees a little bit more of him. Those hints are so tantalizing!

I’ve only been to San Francisco once, but I loved the city. It really stuck with me, and I’m hoping I can live there one day. McGuire’s writing really breathes life into my memories of San Francisco, and the descriptions not only of the city but of how the fey world overlaps are vivid and evocative.

If you’re already a fan of the Toby Daye series, Late Eclipses definitely won’t disappoint. If you’re a newbie looking for some great, original urban fantasy, get thee to a bookstore and pick up this series. You won’t be disappointed.

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