“Ashes of Honor” by Seanan McGuire (Daw, 2012)

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October Daye is back again in a new story in this sixth book in the series.  A year has passed since Toby’s last adventures left her exhausted, wounded and barely alive, and someone close to her dead.  Now she is focusing on training Quentin as her squire, doing her job as Sylvester’s knight and trying to make her life go by in a normal way, but her life is ragged and worn due to her decisions and what she’s done.  Then there’s the question of Tybalt, the King of Cats, who’s a whole issue on his own.

And then she is asked to help once again, as a friend and fellow knight, Etienne, reveals to her that his daughter has been kidnapped.  This comes as a shock to Toby, as she didn’t even know he had a daughter, but that’s because he’s kept secret about it, as she’s half-changeling — like Toby — and lives with her mother in the human world.  Her name is Chelsea, and like her father, she can teleport.  But because she is young and just coming into her powers, she is able to open doors and gateways that shouldn’t ever be opened; places that haven’t been accessible for centuries.  She also can’t stop herself as she’s on the run from her kidnappers, but also because she can’t control her powers.  If they don’t stop her soon, she’ll end up tearing Faerie apart.

Just another ordinary day of mayhem and adventure for Toby, though this time the stakes seem higher than ever.  And she can easily identify with a half-changeling not knowing what is really going on and how to control her powers, and if this were to get out about Etienne, it would ruin him.  Plus there’s Tybalt who keeps lending a helping hand and is always there when she needs him, and Toby really needs to work out what her feelings are about him.  Just another ordinary day.

Originally written on October 24, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

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Rosemary and Rue  A Local Habitation  An Artificial Night  Late Eclipses  One Salt Sea

“Rosemary and Rue” by Seanan McGuire (Daw, 2009)

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For those looking for a fresh dosage of new reading after getting the latest fix of Dresden Files, look no further than the fresh voice of debut author Seanan McGuire and the first in her October Daye mystery series, Rosemary and Rue.  Think Harry Dresden, but make him female, set her in San Francisco, and accept that the world of Faerie not only exists but has portals linking to our own world and the characters of fable are very real and terrifying.

October Daye is a changeling (half-human half-fae) who has never really felt she belongs in San Francisco, or the realm of Faerie for that matter.  A private detective, who seeks to help out her kind when they are in trouble, has her world changed when she is turned into a koi fish in the opening pages of the book and finds herself trapped beneath the waters for fourteen years and six months.  The spell finally breaking, she returns to a very different San Francisco.  While she attempts to acclimatize to this future world, a high ranking elven lady is found murdered, and as Toby investigates she finds herself magically bound to the woman until the mystery of her death is solved.

And so begins a fascinating story wonderfully blending the incredible sights of San Francisco and its noire foggy nights with visits to the world of Faerie where everything is new and very different.  McGuire even provides a glossary for those having trouble with the faerie jargon.  With three books slated for publication (and McGuire currently working on book five), the author doesn’t give too much away in this premiere tale, but just enough to leave readers hungry and wanting for more.  Fortunately they won’t have to wait too long, with the second in the series, A Local Habitation, due out March 2nd 2010.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on August 28th, 2009 ©Alex C. Telander.

For an interview with Seanan McGuire check out BookBanter Episode 15.

“Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury, 2004)

Jonathan Strange and Mr NorrellStarStar

This was my second attempt at reading this book. I’d tried when it first came out, with the heavy intimidating hardback (though sometimes a giant hardback that I can’t hold in one hand is the best thing ever!). Since it was a fantasy novel with magic and wizards and set within a historical period, I was expecting something fast paced and somewhat action packed. So when I got 200+ pages in and had yet to have a scene where something physically happened involving some sort of action, I gave up.

When the paperback came out I was unable to stop myself from purchasing it. This is a thing that’s developed in me over the years spent in the book business. When I see a book that I think should be good and has a really great cover (since I have seen many bad covers, such as all the Robert Jordan books), I need to own it. I’d told myself that I’d give this book another try at a later date and so before I left Copperfield’s I bought it.

About a month ago I started listening to it on audiobook, got about fifteen minutes into it, and while the voices were very good and English, I could tell from the well developed language of the book that it would be better and deserved to be read in the paper form. I sloughed through it this time, finally rewarded with a few actions scenes, and some very interesting plot. I still felt it went on a little too long and there could’ve been an entire book of the same size with all the stuff that didn’t get revealed in the book. When you create a unique world, I like to know how it came to be and a lot of the details of why it is this way, and there wasn’t as much of that in Jonathan Strange. It centered more around two kind of lame magicians, one of which is an old annoying selfish fart, and an ego-maniacal fairy who wants to control the real world as well as that of Faerie. Near the end some of the characters did some weird things as well that I thought were unwarranted and kind of came out of nowhere, which really bugs me with long books that have the room and the time to set this up.

Nevertheless, I’m definitely glad I worked through it and read the whole thing and that I own it and maybe, in five or ten years, I’ll give it a reread and see it in a totally different way.

I’ve discovered in my reading that it really depends on my current mood and state of what I can get from a book. I can be impatient and want something to grab me right away, which is why I didn’t like the book at first, but when I tried again in a calmer state, I was able to enjoy it. It’s all very weird and probably a little OCD in some way, but over the many many years of reading and the many many books read, I’ve become picky in what I read and what I want to read and how I want to read it.

If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Originally written on April 26th, 2006 ©Alex C. Telander.