92 points, 4 ¾ stars!
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg—October “Toby” Daye’s oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can’t refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren’t the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg’s price…or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden’s brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that’s when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
“Let her,” said Liz. “She has a remarkably good track record, all things considered. She almost never comes back with unexpected corpses.”
It is the first Tuesday in September, everyone! Another year and another great addition to the October Daye series. Every year, I look forward to this day. And then I read it all in a few hours and have to wait for the next year for more. It is a blessing and a curse.
This time, we’re back with the Luidaeg. And she is calling in her markers. We readers of the series know what this means. It has been in the works for practically the entire series, now. I’m glad we’ve finally got here. Honestly, if you haven’t read this series before now, this book is definitely not for you. Nor is this review, probably.
We’ve gone to Undersea, to finally make the Selkies pay for what their ancestors did. Undersea is not a nice, kind place. It is a battle to just survive. And with the Selkie’s bargain to fulfil, even more danger and Undersea politics are sure to come out. And they do, and Toby bleeds for Undersea like she has bled for the Kingdom in the Mists and like she has bled for the Kingdom of Silence. That’s just who she is. She is a hero.
There are also a ton of Firstborn shenanigans. Which one might expect in a book about the Luidaeg taking what is her right. But man, are they powerful, and man are they scary. Hanging around the Luidaeg so much, who is so helpful to Toby, doesn’t make you realize how powerful she is. Until now. Beware the Sea Witch. She scaaary.
As always, Toby is such a good character to follow. The last few years have been hard on her, and on Tybalt, and their friends and family. This one wasn’t easy, either. But this book was largely Toby, and Tybalt, and them loving and supporting each other. And frankly every year, these two people are one of the best parts of my year. I love them to pieces.
And then the book ended. And there will be more next time. And I want it already, because the story isn’t done. It is never done.
See you again next year, Toby!
Hope is Swift
The novella included this time is called Hope is Swift, and it takes place during the events of the main book. It follows Raj, the King of Cats-to-be, as he is trying to be Raj the Prince and Raj the person who is also a cat. It isn’t an easy balance. I loved this novella, perhaps even more than I liked the novel.
This story is also about the past still having consequences in the present. Raj and Helen, his girlfriend, still aren’t completely recovered from what happened in book three, An Artificial Night, when they were taken from their beds by Blind Michael. This is the follow-up to their story that started all those many books and years ago. And it is precious. It was way more than I expected it to be. More heavy, more detailed, and more awesome. I’m really glad it was included.