Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire
Toby’s in hot water again. What’s new, right? Well, this time the hot water is political—not exactly Toby’s strong suit.
Title: Once Broken Faith
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, Book 10
Publish Date: September 6, 2016, DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Cover: Christian McGrath
Publisher’s Description: Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches.
Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.
Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.
As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.
Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
One of the things I really like in series is when a book deals with the consequences of a previous book. The October Daye series is awesome at this. The newest book, Once Broken Faith, deals entirely with the consequences of the previous book, A Red Rose Chain.
In A Red Rose Chain, one of the characters develops a cure for elf-shot, a drug that puts the victim to sleep for 100 years. Because having a cure to elf-shot will significantly change how the denizens of Faerie deal with conflict, the existence of this cure is now a political issue—and a hot one. As a reader, I found it fascinating to see how something like a cure—substitute in a policy, a law, whatever—has such a profound impact on people AND can be interpreted so differently. People you think should be for the cure are against it, and vice versa, and the reasons for both points of view actually make some sense. The scary part is how far some folks will go to secure their own political agenda. Considering the recent climate in US politics, I think this novel is pretty timely.
The other thing I love to see in series is when characters actually show that they are growing and changing, that their experiences in previous books have had an impact on who they are now. Toby is now more secure in her relationships, more secure in her own abilities, and has learned some measure of caution and self-restraint. While those things don’t always come easily to Toby, she is at least trying. She takes fewer unnecessary risks, makes an effort to include her friends instead of protecting them my leaving them out, and, while she hasn’t quite forgiven Sylvester, on an emotional level, for what she perceives as a betrayal, she recognizes that her feelings aren’t completely rational. All of that shows that the Toby we met in Rosemary and Rue has done some maturing, and that’s a good thing.
Overall, I loved this installment just as much as the others in this series. I like the author’s ideas and her writing and am totally committed to these characters. October Day is still one of my favorite series.
Vagabond Vahn says…
Alright, Toby, this is your 10th main entry. Let’s see how things are going for you…
The Good: McGuire has really solidified Toby’s personal life, introducing great characters who are each fleshed out a bit more with every entry. Her squire has grown through the series, her “sister” has sculpted her own identity, her love life seems to finally make sense. The care that was put into these side characters is obvious.
It was fun—and I want to emphasize the word fun here—to bring the story back around to a simple “Who Dunnit?” detective scenario. Sure, it’s set during the middle of an important political event, and yes, October is yet again set up to take the blame – but the scope of the adventure involving a murder in a single locale offers us a nice break between otherwise grand adventures.
The Bad: I know Toby feels betrayed by Sylvester from what happened previously, but she really drags it out too long for me. Get over it, Toby. I’m always slightly annoyed by characters who, even when presented with the evidence that they are now being ridiculous by holding a grudge, continue to hold said grudge.
Ultimately, I’m most bothered by the stagnation evident in this entry. How many stories in the series are going to rely so heavily on Elf-Shot as the focus? How many more loopholes in Oberon’s law are going to be found for the benefit of October, and how have so many centuries passed without these loopholes being discovered and used?
The Conclusion: I wrestled for a time with how much weight The Bad would bring to bear on The Good. In the end, the fun of the story and characters won out, and kept this entry at a 4. I’m very interested, and a touch worried, where the story goes from here. If Elf-Shot and loopholes in Oberon’s laws continue to be the focus, and in the case of the latter, the resolution, I may have to take a break. I don’t want to, though, because the series is fun!
Our reviews in this series…
- A Red Rose Chain, Book 09