A Red Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire
Even after nine books, the October Daye series (and the Chris McGrath cover art) is still fantastic!
Publisher’s Description: Things are looking up.
For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.
Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.
How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.
It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire is one of my very favorite Urban Fantasy series. A Red Rose Chain, Book 09 in the series, is an excellent installment AND an object lesson in why you should take out your enemies when you have a chance — because if you don’t, they’ll come back to stab you in the heart!
The Kingdom of Silences has declared war on the Kingdom of the Mists, and Toby is sent to Silences to either 1) negotiate peace, or 2) infuriate the monarch into violating law or custom bad enough to get himself deposed. Guess which one Toby is best at?
Some of the things the King of Silences is doing to his people are atrocious. I found myself wondering what the High King of what is essentially North America is doing. Does he not visit his kingdoms? Does he not check in on the state of his people? How did Silences get away with what they were doing without someone finding out?
This book highlights Toby’s growing relationship with Tybalt. It’s quite fun to see a lighter side of Tybalt every once in awhile. It’s also good to see the two of them communicating and saving each other. There is no one-sidedness to Toby and Tybalt’s relationship, which is awesome to see in this genre. Tybalt is still an alpha male to be sure, but also a rational creature who can do more than act on instinct.
One thing I really enjoy is when long running series do more than stand-alone stories. A Red Rose Chain deals with the consequences of things that have happened in other novels. I think this is a sign of great writing, AND it makes the reread of the books even better.
As always, narrator Mary Robinette Kowal does a fantastic job with the characters in Toby’s world.
If you like this book…