Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire
Ashes of Honor is number six in the Toby Daye series. I’m loving this – it’s my new Urban Fantasy addiction and fortunately as I’m late to the party I still have a number of books just waiting to be read! Happy days.
I think this instalment could have been my favourite to date. The series is excellent at developing the characters and building upon the world and relationships and this was no exception in that respect. But, to the plot – and let me throw in a customary warning about potential spoilers for prior books in case you haven’t read the previous instalments but intend to do so.
As the story begins we see the emotional trauma caused by the conclusion of One Salt Sea really kicking in. Toby is feeling massive guilt. She lost her daughter and Connor in one very quick swoop and is now on self destruct mode. Fortunately she is surrounded by good friends and those who are equally as stubborn as she is about trying to keep her safe but everyone is starting to become concerned. Then Toby is approached from a most unexpected source. A child (Chelsea) has gone missing and as we know by now Toby will certainly not refuse a missing or ‘abducted’ child case. And, so it begins.
Now this particular missing child is complicated. It turns out that she is a changeling and her father is Etienne. Yes, Etienne, difficult as it is to believe that he would break the rules that he holds so dear, Etienne had an affair with a regular human. What he didn’t know is that the woman concerned was pregnant when their relationship ended and it seems that their daughter shares Etienne’s ability to teleport. Unfortunately, this ability is now manifesting itself in a very powerful way and clearly somebody has decided to try and manipulate her abilities so Chelsea is now teleporting and crashing her way through the land of the fae, tearing holes where they shouldn’t be and undermining the whole fabric of the world. Toby needs to act fast or the lives they all lead could be in jeopardy.
There were a number of things that really struck me about this novel. In no particular order because my thoughts are a jumble. Firstly, this book had much more of a detective type feel to it. For me I wouldn’t say it came across quite as ‘dark’ as the previous books somehow. This isn’t a negative comment just an observation that I didn’t feel quite as scared or desperate for Chelsea’s predicament as for those children in a couple of the other stories, in this particular case it feels a little like the case itself is secondary to the character development. Then there was the very real ‘human’ element in this book, the interaction with Chelsea’s mum and also with the police force. It felt like in this instalment Toby connected much more with our regular world, (which has previously just really acted as a backdrop for whatever escapades were taking place). Finally there’s the moment of truth for Toby when she decides to forgive herself and allow herself to actually live. I thought that was a really pivotal moment for Toby and the series really.
As a parallel running story we have trouble for Tybalt over at the Court of the Cats. There is dissent in the ranks and things could get ugly. I loved the extra information that we discovered about Tybalt, he really is a great character and so finding a little bit more about his history was most satisfying.
All in all a really great instalment. The world of the fae opened up yet more in a tantalising way that gives us more intrigues to feed our imagination.
I have no hesitation in recommending this series. If you’re looking for your next urban fantasy series I would definitely point you in the direction of Toby Daye.