The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Book Review: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

Written by: Beth Woodward, CC2K Books Editor

I liked Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series from its debut, Rosemary and Rue.  But it wasn’t until the third book in the series, An Artificial Night, that it became a must-read for me.  And now, with the fourth book in the series, Late Eclipses, McGuire has outdone herself again.  The world October (Toby) Daye, with its intrigue and colorful characters, just keeps getting more and more interesting, making Late Eclipses the best entry in the series to date.

Toby is a half-fae, half-human changeling.  As a changeling, she’s a second-class citizen in Faerie.  After a spell kept her trapped as a fish for 14 years, she reluctantly re-entered the world of the fae as a private investigator.


The book description, courtesy of the Penguin Books website:

October “Toby” Daye is half-human, half-fae-the only changeling who’s earned knighthood. But when someone begins targeting her nearest and dearest, it becomes clear that Toby is being set up to take the fall for everything that’s happening.

That doesn’t tell you much, does it?

Some of Toby’s closest pureblooded friends start to get sick.  Being that purebloods are basically invincible, this freaks her out quite a bit.  After a few disturbing sightings, Toby begins to suspect that Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her years as a fish, is somehow responsible.

In this book, we learn more about Toby’s past—especially her mother, who has essentially been missing in action for years.  For the last several books, we’ve gotten hints that there’s more to Toby and her past than we know; in this book, we finally get some answers.  We also get more development of Toby’s relationships with the two men vying for her affection: Tybalt, the local King of Cats, and Connor, a Selkie who had once been Toby’s childhood sweetheart—and who is, unfortunately, in a political marriage with the insane daughter of Toby’s liege.

Tybalt, especially, gets a lot of page time and character development here—something most fans, including me, won’t object to.  Tybalt has a very teasing, sarcastic demeanor, and he usually keeps his motives and intentions to himself.  One of the questions I’ve always had about him is what his intentions are toward Toby.  Does he like Toby, or does he just enjoy messing with her?  In this book, we get to see a lot more of what’s going on behind his unflappable exterior.  Plus, we get to see a side to Tybalt in this book that we’ve never seen before: vulnerability.  We learned more about Tybalt in this book than we have in any of the three previous books, something I was very happy about.

(Full disclosure here: of Toby’s two potential lovers, I’m rooting for Tybalt.)

But the reason I keep reading this series is for Toby herself.  She’s the kind of protagonist I can root for.  She’s constantly doing things that are beyond her strength and abilities because she’s a hero—an underpowered, underappreciated hero, but a hero nonetheless.  Toby may save the day, but she’ll nearly get herself killed in the process.  Then she’ll drag her beaten and bloody corpse back home while someone else gets the parade.

This is a very emotional book for Toby.  Her friends are being threatened, she’s learning unfathomable things about her past, and she’s questioning her own sanity.  McGuire does a fantastic job getting to the heart and soul of this character, and I loved the journey she went on in this book.

McGuire has created a world and characters that get more compelling with each installment, and I can’t wait until the fifth book is released later this year.

Books in the Series
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses

Late Eclipses is on sale from DAW Books now.