Friday, June 9, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: The October Daye Series (All Ten Books!) by Seanan McGuire

Long Review After the Jump

The October Daye series is currently ten books long.  I'd never read any of the series before, but all ten were provided for free with the Hugo Sampler Packet, that was given for free to all Hugo voters (the download worked differently than other Hugo downloads and may have been a temporary download, I'm not sure, but it doesn't really matter).  As such....well, I enjoyed them enough to tear through all ten books in about ten days.  That said, the series takes about two books to get its footing, and while each book tries to include enough recap for a new reader to theoretically start there, none of the books really would work as a stand-alone so you can't just skip to Book 3 (You'll be VERY Confused).
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The General Plot Summary is this:  Faerie is real and Fae live amongst us, in hiding.  All Faeries descend from the same three parents - Oberon and his two Queens, Titania and Maeve, who locked away most of the Faerie Realms when they mysteriously disappeared.  Now Fae live in either our own Earth or the nearest available realm, where they have their own feudal kingdoms.

October Daye is a changeling - a half human half fae - and as such is not thought of as equal to pureblood Fae (who, amongst other things, are immortal, unlike changelings).  But through her efforts as a detective, she has managed to be knighted by a Fae Duke, and takes both human and Fae detective jobs.  Until one day, one of those jobs gets her transformed into a fish for 14 years, costing her her marriage and her human daughter.  She comes out of the experience bitter and wanting to stay away from Faerie....but it won't let her forever.

Instead, she soon learns that not only can she not really avoid Faerie, but her very destiny is intertwined with the lives of Fae throughout the local duchie, kingdom, and beyond.  Soon she'll find herself in deep with powers incredibly powerful, working alongside a ragtag team of Fae Cats, Birds, Trolls, Seals, and more, as she attempts to solve various crises in her own life as well as throughout the local kingdom that overlaps with San Francisco.  And since her specialty is blood magic, she finds herself covered in her own blood way more often than not.
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There's nothing Must Read about the October Daye series - again if Urban fantasy isn't for you, this isn't going to change your mind.  That said, once the series gets into a rhythm, it becomes very hard to put down.  Every book in general is fast paced, with really fun dialogue and some very good characters.  The books grow formulaic to a point (By Book 3, each book starts with a general catch up on October's life, then a crisis occurs, then October checks in with The Luidaeg for help approaching the problem, and then October follows the path from there), but the cast of regulars are absolutely fantastic and fun to follow.

If the books struggle, it's that they don't really work when the central plotline of a story has to do with a murder mystery, or really a mystery where the reveal is key to the conclusion (Books 1, 2 and 10, are like this) - the solutions to those mysteries are either incredibly predictable (Books 1 and 2) or complete shrugs (Book 10).  But most of the books are more urban fantasy adventures/quests and the mystery elements aren't meant to be solved by the reader, and so they work really well.

Anyhow, if you enjoy Urban Fantasy and can get a hold of this series for cheap, STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.  Looking forward to book 11 which comes out this September.

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