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A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire

I don’t know of many series whose fourteenth book is still as good as the first. But the October Daye series is certainly one of them.

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Title: A Killing Frost
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye, Book 14
Publish Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Talk bubble for IvanaInvested Ivana says…

There hasn’t been an October Daye book yet that I don’t find fabulous. Between McGuire’s writing and Kowal’s performance, I am constantly surprised at the emotional response each book can provoke in me. A major theme in A Killing Frost is forgiveness, which is a theme guaranteed to spark emotions.

If you are enjoying this series, don’t miss out on this book. Each one really does build on the last, and I have a feeling there will be some big revelations coming in Book 15!

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

After twelve books, or sooner, many series start losing steam or going off in bizarre directions that make readers lose interest. But while reading the latest October Daye tale, I kept thinking that, even though the major plot event was superficially the same as in a previous book, McGuire has a way of building tale upon tale so that every installment is new, fresh, exciting, and leaves me sad the next book is a year away.

Title: Night and Silence
Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye
Publish Date: September 4th, 2018, by DAW
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThings are not okay.

In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.

Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. One question remains:

Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested Ivana says…

The best series in book, television, movie, or game form are more than just a string of individual adventures. Each installment builds on the previous one, expanding the world, deepening our understanding of and investment in it, and dealing with the consequences of our characters’ previous actions.

The October Day series is one of the best examples of this type of series. Each book brings us new characters (without ignoring the characters we already know and love), reveals more history, and uncovers more secrets. It’s like the “fog of war” in a video game, but instead of revealing the map, it’s revealing history—history that is connected to actions, characters, and events in previous books.

I kept returning to that thought as I read Night and Silence—at how amazing it is that McGuire keeps calling on what we know of the history of October’s world and experience to inform what happens in each book. And how it never feels old or stale to me. It feels like a natural progression.

Occasionally, a seemingly-random piece of new information is introduced, such as Gillian’s step-mother’s history. But it fits so well into the world that you wonder just how random it is, or if the author planned for it all along. Those are the big surprises that can throw the plot into completely new directions and open up a whole new “can of worms” and the potential for new stories.

I’m very excited by the potential future stories made possible by the end of Night and Silence. We’ll get to see a whole new side of October and invest in a completely new character. I also feel like we’re witnessing the emergence of a “new generation” (in a manner of speaking) of influential persons in Faerie that might be leading toward major societal changes.

Or I could be projecting my own hopes for our world onto October’s.

In any case, Night and Silence is yet another fabulous installment in the October Daye series that pulls on history and consequence to keep me interested and invested. 5 stars.

Other recommendations…

The October Daye series is certainly in the top tier of urban fantasy, along with the Dresden Files, the Iron Druid Chronicles, the Mercy Thompson series, the Otherworld series, the Hollows series, and the Novels of the Others. If you haven’t read any of these series, I’d suggest you do so at the first opportunity.

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

2016-standout-award-badge-smallWhat a beautiful novel! Gorgeously vivid descriptive writing, a complex mystery, and a heartbreaking love story make Ghost Talkers one of my top picks for the year.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ghost talkersTitle: Ghost Talkers
Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: stand-alone
Publish Date: August 16, 2016
Genre: Historical fantasy
Source: From the publisher at BEA 16

Publisher’s DescriptionGinger Stuyvesant, an American heiress living in London during World War I, is engaged to Captain Benjamin Hartshorne, an intelligence officer. Ginger is a medium for the Spirit Corps, a special Spiritualist force.

Each soldier heading for the front is conditioned to report to the mediums of the Spirit Corps when they die so the Corps can pass instant information about troop movements to military intelligence.

Ginger and her fellow mediums contribute a great deal to the war efforts, so long as they pass the information through appropriate channels. While Ben is away at the front, Ginger discovers the presence of a traitor. Without the presence of her fiance to validate her findings, the top brass thinks she’s just imagining things. Even worse, it is clear that the Spirit Corps is now being directly targeted by the German war effort. Left to her own devices, Ginger has to find out how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them. This is a difficult and dangerous task for a woman of that era, but this time both the spirit and the flesh are willing…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

What drew me to this book: I discovered this book at BEA 16. I recognized Mary Robinette Kowal’s name as an audiobook narrator for the October Daye series. She is also an author with several books in print, but this is the first of hers that I have read. The book has a beautiful Chris McGrath cover that can’t fail to catch the eye

What kept me reading: I found everything about this book to be beautiful: the world-building, the characters, the relationships, and the vividly descriptive writing.

The premise of this book is unique to me. Ghost Talkers is set during World War II. The British army has a secret weapon—the Spirit Corps. Concealed among the WAC, the Spirit Core is made up of mediums and their support “circles” who take reports from the ghosts of soldiers who have died on the front. The soldiers are conditioned to report to the Corps before their spirit can cross over. This gives the British Army a great advantage in intelligence gathering.

This book is part mystery and part love story. Kowal creates a relationship between the two principles that is absolutely heartbreaking. There’s also a beautiful relationship among the members of the protagonist’s circle. The mystery is satisfyingly complex and the stakes are high, which kept me totally engaged.

Mediums and sensitives can see auras, and auras communicate emotions. The way Kowal describes emotions in auras is fascinating. She describes protective anger as red plate armor and fury as sweeping red wings. Fear can either be smokey black tendrils or a tight, controlled ball of dark energy. Each emotion has a color or a shape and her descriptions are amazingly vivid.

badge5v4Being a voice performer, Kowal gets to narrate her own audiobook. I’m looking forward to experiencing the book again through the eyes, and voice, of the author herself.

Why I recommend it: Ghost Talkers makes my short list of top books of the year. It’s unique, gorgeous, and deeply moving. I can’t recommend it enough.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal is great. I give it 5 stars! You should just go get it and start reading now. It’s set in WWI and uses mediums to help understand the strategy and moment-to-moment movements of the German army. It’s a unique use of the paranormal dropped into historical events.

I enjoyed the main character, Ginger, and how self-assured she is. I enjoyed that the mystery keeps building and that even to the last moment you don’t know who the spy is and how Ginger will get away, much less convince others to believe her. I also enjoyed that the author included the regiment from India, which is not often brought up in WWI novels and they played a crucial role in the story and in history. Helen is another medium that Ginger relies on heavily and the fact that Helen is a black woman from the Caribbean Islands just adds to the complexity of the story, during a time period of war when the roles of minorities were changing.

badge5v4The author has also written the Glamourist Histories series and I am really excited to read those books because of how well written this one is.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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