“Late Eclipses” by Seanan McGuire (DAW, 2011)

Late Eclipses
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October Daye returns for a fourth installment in the series, as Seanan McGuire seeks to put her main character in an even bigger bind than before.  In the previous book, An Artificial Night, McGuire certainly kicked it up a notch, opening up her world more to the readers.  While Late Eclipses doesn’t really expand to an epic stage, much like the Dresden Files did with the fourth book in the series, this book nevertheless reveals more of this unique world combining ours with that of faerie, as well as answering some important questions that have been posed in the earlier books.

Toby’s still alive and well – relatively speaking – living with her fetch (summoned due to her apparently approaching, imminent death), her rose goblin, and her cats.  Just when it seems like she might have a moment to herself, she is unavoidably summoned to appear before the Queen of Mists, who has always borne a grudge against Toby, who isn’t looking forward to this meeting.  In a surprise that shocks Toby more than anyone else, the Queen promotes her to countess.  Suspecting a conniving trap, Toby finds herself drawn across San Francisco from place to place as her dear friends and loved ones begin to fall ill due to a mysterious sickness, including Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens and Lady Torquill of the Shadowed Hills.  As she scrambles around trying to find a cure and who’s behind all this, the hammer falls and she finds herself accused of this sickness and people are starting to die.  Then she starts seeing Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for trapping her in a pond for fourteen years of her life; only it seems like she’s the only one seeing her.   Meanwhile, things between Toby and Tybalt, the King of Cats, begin to heat up.  But Toby will save everyone and fix everything . . . right?

Fans will enjoy Late Eclipses being already familiar with the world and its characters, as they are taken on Toby’s adventures.  McGuire does an excellent job of not bogging down the book with recapping, but provides details here and there that serve to clue readers in to previous events, keeping the story going.  The result is an enigmatic illness that will have readers scratching their heads, while they read nonstop to the end to find out what’s happening and how Toby is going to get out of this one.

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Originally written on March 3, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.

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