Third in the October Daye urban fantasy series based in San Francisco and revolving around a half-fae, half-human private detective, Toby Daye.
Something is stealing children in the night and Toby becomes involved when three of Stacy and Mitch’s kids disappear—in one way or another. When she learns that five young ones from Tybalt’s people and Katie, Quentin’s human love, are also taken, the serious level goes way up. Then Toby’s Fetch, May Daye, shows up.
To say that Toby has a hard road to hoe is an understatement. She must remember [and not question!] her instructions from the Luidaeg, cope with betrayals, and return to her childhood days in more ways than one to win herself and the children free. It’s a telling tale that so many who know Toby are willing to step forward and risk themselves to help her.
October “Toby” Daye is a hero in the oldest sense of the word offering up her life to rescue those who look to her friends for protection. Spike, her little rose goblin, does what it can to help. Quentin’s adventures end with him learning a lesson he would never have expected and a sad loss of innocence for the young page.
Stacy and Mitch Brown are changeling friends of Toby’s whose son, Andy, is having a birthday party on the night he and his sister, Jessie, disappear. His sister, Karen, hasn’t disappeared but they can’t wake her; it seems that dreams can be dangerous. Connor O’Dell is Raysel’s husband and still in love with Toby. A fact not appreciated by his wife especially when she has to listen to Connor moaning Toby’s name in his sleep when Toby disappears. Nor is Tybalt, the local King of Cats, all that happy with Connor’s feelings for Toby—I’m sure that future installments will elucidate just why it is that Tybalt is so willing to help someone he overtly appears to despise.
The Luidaeg, a Firstborn, a child of Maeve, an old sea hag, plays a huge role in Toby’s travels and we learn quite a bit about hers and Luna’s family relationships as well as a deep, dark secret of the Duchess’. Sylvester Torquill is Luna’s husband, the Duke of Shadowed Hills and Toby’s liege lord. Blind Michael, another Firstborn, leads the Wild Hunt and has been growing more insane through the centuries with a very strict interpretation of the rules and what’s fair—as well as a tendency to break any rules that get in his way. Acacia is Blind Michael’s wife and rules the forest. Danny, the Bridge Troll taxi driver, has come to help Toby. Again. It appears the world is about to experience a Barghest Rescue kennel for poisonous monstrosities. Lily the Undine (and Lady of the Japanese Tea Gardens) plays a role; usually one of healing Toby.
A fascinating perspective on the Wild Hunt and its reliance upon children’s games. Makes me feel rather inadequate with my vague memories of “How many miles to Babylon?” and whether “I can get there by candlelight?” Then there’s the last road, the Rose Road, and the Blood Road. All options Toby must consider to win her and the children free. It’s an interesting world McGuire has created as she incorporates so many bits and pieces of fae and fairytale lore to create Blind Michael’s realm. It certainly was enough to keep me racing through to find out how Toby wins—or is won—free.
Quibbles: At one point, McGuire has Toby showing up for the birthday party “just in time” at midnight. Then she has Toby getting home from the party…a little after midnight. Now I’m assumin’ it’s all the same day/night…but I could be wrong. WHAT is the deal with Toby questioning the fae all the time?? Supposedly she’s had enough experience to realize that if Luidaeg says not to ask something or tells her to perform some action, Toby would have enough sense to simply do it! The same with Tybalt and others. Tybalt yells at her to “Run. So Toby wants to sit back and question it?? Tybalt plans to carry her because 1) Toby is too tired to run as far and as fast as is necessary to escape Blind Michael’s men and 2) it’s too far for her to run even if she were fresh so she wants to take time out to think about it?? What???? McGuire thinks this creates good tension??
It seems that Raysel may have a touch of Foresight and I’m curious to see where her pronouncements toward the end lead Toby.
The cover is a much prettier version of Toby in her leather jacket as she holds the candle as it sparkles red warning her of danger within Blind Michael’s realm. I’m not sure what the title is about unless it refers to the time Toby spends in Blind Michael’s lands.