A Local Habitation (October Daye #2)

seanan2ALH is the second in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.  I’m really enjoying this series and have a strange feeling that it’s just going to get better and better.  If you’re looking for a new Urban Fantasy series then you might want to give this a go.  Also, beware of spoilers below as they will possibly be throwing a little party and I don’t want to spoil book No.1 for those of you who haven’t started the series yet!

In this second instalment we get off to a fairly immediate start.  Following the events in Rosemary and Rue Toby seems to be settling down a little inasmuch as she’s started her detective agency work again – that is until Sylvester, her liege, gives her a special assignment.  Sylvester is worried about his niece, Countess of Tamed Lightning, January O’Leary, who seems to have been out of contact for a while.  Things may not be all they seem over at TL and Sylvester needs to check on his niece but also tread carefully so as not to start a potential incident with the neighbouring rival Duchy.

I must confess from the start that this book took me in a direction I never would have expected.  Yes, I guess, the fact that Toby is an investigator and one with a special affinity to blood magic, is going to be a given, but what was unusual with ALH was the combination of new and old – and I won’t say much more than that for fear of spoilers.

What I can say is that there are murders aplenty, in fact I feared at one point that none of the inhabitants of Tamed Lightning would make it out alive, there is some great imagination and a lot of guesswork.  I was like a maniac suspecting everyone at the drop of a hat (and usually quite firm in my own conviction until my latest suspect turned up dead)!

So, we have Toby, accompanied by her trusty assistant Quentin (a little bit like having a fluffy poodle puppy following you around!)  I like this duo though and I’m kind of hoping that it will be repeated as it gives Toby somebody to have banter with.  Connor also makes an entrance (a former love interest of Toby’s that was long since put to rest – although that doesn’t stop Connor from trying it on here and there).  And, of course Tybalt puts in an appearance and brings with him his own blend of cool self assurance, wit and sizzling chemistry.

On top of this we make the acquaintance of a number of new changelings with different abilities – not least of which is a computer dryad – which, come on, how cool is that!

I won’t go into the characters too much – they all seem to have their own potential motives for being the murderer and for a while they had me jumping through hoops.

In terms of the setting.  Well, I really enjoyed what McGuire did with ALH.  She keeps all the focus on the Tamed Lightning setting which gives it an almost claustrophobic feel and helps to ratchet the tension.  A bit like an old horror movie where a party of people are stranded at a house and one by one are being picked off.  I can see that this could be an issue for some as it tends to give it less of a UF feel but I thought it worked perfectly with this particular story and helped to give it a feeling of being trapped and added to the threat somehow.

The plot.  It’s a twisty turny whodunnit and, whilst I managed to see what was going on with some of the issues that were going on, I didn’t manage to second guess the ending.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, this is a little like other UF series in that it takes a little while to build up the characters and the world.  Frankly I don’t think you can have it any other way.  The layers have to be put down book upon book otherwise it would be one huge info dump and a doorstopper size book!  As it is I feel like McGuire is settling us in at a reasonable pace and keeping us enticed with her own strange additions to the UF universe – Night Haunts for example!

Very enjoyable second in series and I’m looking forward to No.3.

If you’re interested in joining in with this series we’ll be picking up the next book as part of a readalong shortly.  I’ll post details here soon.

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Local Habitation (October Daye #3) by Seanan McGuire, readalong

localhabbanner.pngToday is the final week of our readalong of A Local Habitation (No.2 October Daye by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.

Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

1. Alex and Terrie’s secrets are finally revealed. Was that the outcome you were expecting? If not, what theories did you have concerning the two?

Actually given all my usual maniac theories I think I pretty much knew what was going on with the Alex and Terrie situation.  They reminded me of a strange combination of Princess Fiona from Shrek who changes shape at midnight every day and one of the main vampires from Generation V who feeds off the emotion of others who then become totally enamoured and think they’re in love but eventually die.  I was wrong in that I thought Alex could have been trying to protect Toby from Terrie because (1) they weren’t involved in the murders and (2) neither of them had any real cognisance of each others behaviour so Alex wouldn’t have known if Terrie was a threat to Toby.

2. We get Toby doing more powerful things with blood during the course of this story aside from gleaning information. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think we’ll start to see her doing more wondrous things over the course of the series?

I think what was really demonstrated here (and perhaps that’s what’s given Tybalt cause for thought) is that Toby is maybe more powerful than she (or anyone else for that matter) really knows.  She did just bring somebody back from the dead after all which is no small feat!  The one concern I do have for Toby is that now we have started to learn more about her mother I wonder whether this whole blood magic can eventually lead to madness??  But, that being said perhaps her changeling status will help to protect her somewhat.

3. Did you expect Tybalt to actually show up at Tamed Lightning? What’s your take on this “not-friendship” that is developing between Toby and Tybalt? Does learning more about the cats and sensing Tybalt’s own feelings about what has occurred make you feel differently about him or see new aspects to his personality?

I actually did expect Tybalt to show up to be honest – in fact I would have been sorely disappointed if he hadn’t done so. Tybalt clearly likes Toby although he seemed to be acting very strangely after witnessing her most recent trick.  I don’t really know what to make of this whole cat kingdom business yet.  From other books and films I tend to think of cats as guardians of the underworld so, if that is the case here, I can imagine that Toby’s most recent actions will have been a bit disturbing to Tybalt.  I look forward to seeing how this develops.

4. Despite being misguided, what did you think of the attempt to create something lasting for Faerie after hearing Elliot’s explanation? Is there a way to save and preserve Faerie or is Toby right that maybe its end is near?

It’s kind of what I guessed at early on – it’s a bit sad because personally it doesn’t feel like the way forward.  I think it was something that April bought into because of her own circumstances and she was being used dreadfully by Gordan who was clearly as mad as a pit of snakes!  I think that the fae world is very antiquated and governed by strange rules  They don’t move forward with the times – which is frankly what makes them so appealing to read about – but I think this experiment was maybe a bit misguided and the evidence here suggests it doesn’t work.  Even if they uploaded everyone and had some sort of virtual fae existence you would need somebody at ground level to be looking after things wouldn’t you??  I don’t really buy into the idea of what they were trying to do – I’m pretty certain if somebody offered me the chance of being downloaded onto a computer I would pass on the offer!

5. What do you think will happen at Tamed Lightning now that Jan is gone? Do you think April will be able to maintain or do you think things are just getting started between Tamed Lightning and Dreamer’s Glass? Do you think others will be willing to go to Tamed Lightning after this?

I think Tamed Lightning is now in a very vulnerable position.  In some respects I think April could do a good job and as we’ve already seen her new found responsibilities have made her grow up somewhat – but, as we also saw, she’s not totally aware of boundaries between what’s possible between the living and electronic worlds.  Although, obviously she was being led astray by Gordon.  It will be interesting to see whether this now becomes a plotline for future stories.

6. Overall, what did you think of A Local Habitation? Did you like it more or less than the first book? Are you still excited to see where Toby’s journey leads? Any favorite parts? Least favorites? Gush as much or as little as you want.

I loved ALH more than the first book – I liked the first but I think that like any first in a series it is a set up book and most authors don’t want to go on a massive info dump spree.  Like most UF they develop as they go along.  The characters become more fleshed out and the world building deepens and so I’m definitely keen to see what happens next for Toby.

 

A Local Habitation (October Daye #3) by Seanan McGuire, readalong

localhabbanner.png

Today is week three of our readalong of A Local Habitation (No.2 October Daye by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  I read the first book as part of a readalong at the start of the year and thought it got off to a good start but book No.2 is speeding along .

The schedule is below, so if you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so.  Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

And, I must say – what a place to stop!!!  I think there will be book finishings very soon – Tybalt!!!  *swoonings*:

1. First things first, Toby braved the likelihood of being eaten alive by summoning the night-haunts! What are your impressions of this strange race of fae? And how do you think Toby’s relationship with the Luidaeg will change now that her final question has been asked?

I think I’m more scared about the Luidaeg and what will happen next – sort of scared but not scared if you understand me.  Part of me feels like the Luidaeg likes Toby and needs her too.  Time will tell.  The night haunts.  Well, I don’t know what I’d expected to be honest but tiny little cannibals that steal the faces of those they eat isn’t it!  I think I was expecting something quite animal in nature.  This is a really intriguing thread though. I don’t think I’d ever considered before, when I’m reading UF and the fae die, just what happens to the body – an autopsy just wouldn’t do would it!  I wouldn’t say the night haunts were as scary as I expected somehow.  I was expecting strange voices and darkness – lots of darkness – sufficiently creepy though.

2. The storyline has really kicked off with another death to add to the body count and yet another attempt on Toby’s life. How did you feel about this latest murder? Are you suspicious of anyone in particular or seeing any patterns regarding motivations?

I can’t believe this latest death.  Literally can’t believe it.  I just haven’t got a clue what’s going on.  What does occur to me is that the attempts on Toby’s life are completely different than the other attempts/deaths so whoever is trying to kill or warn her off isn’t trying to make her a part of whatever is going on here.

3. Before her untimely demise, January was on the verge of revealing a secret regarding ALH and a mysterious project it was running. Do you have any suspicions on what this might be?

I’m all out of maniac theories this week.  Whatever they were planning there is clearly resistance to so it must be something ground breaking.  They’re an odd bunch of characters at ALH, eclectic, quirky, maybe it was something that would change the standing of the lesser fae or halflings – I really don’t know.  It all seems to be linked into technology and I remember Toby saying there was an awful lot of random information being kept about everyone.  Not sure how it all links together though.

4. April is a fascinating and amusing character to read about, how do you think she’ll cope now she no longer has her adoptive mother? Can you see her becoming part of another court or as an addition to Toby’s life?

I can imagine that April will become angry once she’s had time to grieve.  I still don’t understand how she doesn’t know more about what’s going on though which I think is suspicious.  I’d imagine that she would always keep an eye on January and she’s the only one who has that ability so I’m puzzled.  Let’s face it – the suspects are getting more difficult to choose as the body count stacks up.  I guess the only one we haven’t yet suspected is Elliot!  I can’t come up with a reason why he would be the bad guy though.  The thing is, I feel like I’m going down this route of ‘if people grieve or lose someone they care about it can’t be them – but that’s not strictly true is it.  For example, April could be implicated with January’s death – yes, she’s distraught about the death but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have a part in it.  It’s all very perplexing!

5. In this section of the novel a little more is revealed about one half of our suspicious siblings, Alex and Terrie. Whilst Alex gets very handsy and a bit hypnocreep with Toby, Terrie is almost non-existent! What are your thoughts on this pair? Was Toby’s reaction justified? And are you as suspicious of at least one half of this pairing as Toby?!

Alex is just downright creepy – and also a little bit suspicious.  Although his attempt at schmoozing Toby away for example happened at a convenient time.  Like he wanted her out of the way when January was killed – maybe he was actually trying to get her out of the way to protect her.  Terrie.  Well, perhaps she can’t come out at a certain point of the day?  Bit like a vampire??  The other thing with Alex and Terrie and the whole ‘are they the same person’ routine – I can’t help thinking of the scene in Shrek where Princess Fiona turns into ‘green ogre Princess Fiona’ maybe Alex and Terrie are like ‘naughty and nice’ halves of the same person – bad and evil.

6. Alex might not be able to turn off the seduction but in this section we see the return of both Connor and Tybalt. What do you think of Connor and his obviously complicated relationship with both Toby and Raysel? Do you think they have a future? Or is Tybalt too much of an infuriating temptation? Or more to the point, will either of them be of any use during the investigation? Thoughts please!

I don’t think Toby and Connor have a future to be honest.  I don’t dislike Connor but I think their relationship is in the past and whilst they’re both clinging on to fond memories they’re both different people now.  I feel sorry for Connor being in a relationship with Raysel which has an arranged feel but then part of me thinks his own unhappiness is making him hanker after something else and Toby is an obvious candidate. Plus, Tybalt. Need I say more.  I don’t know whether he will be in any use but I had an immediate release of tension in my shoulders when he appeared.  Like Toby finally had somebody who could take care of himself and help her rather than somebody who she was running around trying to protect.  Grrr!

Week 1: Saturday 5th March, Chapters 1-8 hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 12th March, Chapters 9-16 – hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog (me!)
Week 3: Saturday 19th March, Chapters 17-25 – hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 26th March, Chapters 26-end – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

All are welcome and there’s a discussion page over on Goodreads if that makes it easier to join.

 

 

A Local Habitation (October Daye #2) by Seanan McGuire, readalong week No.2

localhabbanner.png

Today is week two of our readalong of A Local Habitation (No.2 October Daye by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  I read the first book as part of a readalong at the start of the year and thought it got off to a good start but book No.2 is speeding along.

The schedule is below, so if you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so.  Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

1. ALH is a very odd place – what do you make of it so far and it’s inhabitants? It has a different feel to the last book doesn’t it?

I think this book feels different than the first – probably because it’s pretty much contained to the environment of ALH.  ALH is a very odd place.  I would love to know what it was like before the trouble began and all the other inhabitants ran away leaving this very unusual bunch of characters and a desperately lonely place.  Also a little sad that the remaining few have nowhere else to go and feel somewhat trapped.  The place has a detached feel – it feels like you could be in space almost and ALH could be a huge space ship with it’s twisty corridors.  I realise that probably sounds odd! But it just feels very remote from everything else.

2. There is certainly a lot going on at ALH – different dynamics, what are your feelings on the people you’ve met. Anything at all about those remaining and those who have died.

They are a very unusual bunch – maybe they were less noticeable when they were mixed in amongst others but now, in the face of everyone else leaving, they do kind of stand out as odd.  I can’t help distrusting all of them!  I still keep wondering about Alex and his sister – there seems to be something wrong with those two – it occurred to me for some strange reason that maybe it’s one person and they shift into the other character – but I can’t remember whether or not we’ve ever had a scene where they were both present at the same time.  Alex does act very oddly whenever Terrie is mentioned?  Then we have Gordan the Coblynau – I don’t know what to make of her but she certainly seems to hate the purebloods which makes me wonder why she doesn’t hate Januarn.

3. The phone call with Tybalt. I was curious about his comment about Riordan and what do you think he intends to do next? We’re learning a little bit more about the Cat Sidhe – what do you think Tybalt’s next move will be?

He seemed a bit animated didn’t he ‘She held a crown without a kingdom thanks to that Riordan bitch’.  Seems like there’s more going on with the cat world than at first meets the eye!  I reckon that Tybalt is going to maybe show up at ALH!  I sort of hope so anyway.

4. Barbara – what do you make of the new evidence that has come to light with her dealings with the Duchess of Dreamer’s Glass? What is she up to? 

This feels like a red herring to me.  I don’t know what Barbara is up to but I can’t imagine it has anything to do with the deaths somehow.  And anyway, she’s one of the victims now!

5. It looks like Toby is going to try and summon the Night Haunts? Any thoughts on how this will go and speculation about the Night Haunts?

I have no idea what the Night Haunts are going to be like but I imagine they’re a bit scary!  It’s a fascinating aspect of this world and one that I want to know more about!  And why don’t the fae rot btw?  The fae world seems kind of sad doesn’t it, like they’re a shadow of their former self and all this slinking around hiding from the humans for fear of reprisals.

These days you’re lucky to get a battered changeling and her under age, half-trained assistant, and the princesses are confused technological wizards!’

‘Up the airy mountains and down the rushy glen, I dare not go a-hunting for fear of little men’

6. Any guesses so far as to what’s going on?

I have to admit that I’ve been jumping about all over the place. – it’s like reading an Agatha Christie book where everyone’s a suspect!  Originally I didn’t trust April, I think she probably has a good motive after what happened in her past, plus she has this strange ‘doting on January’ thing going on – I think she must be connected to the phone calls not going through to Sylvester and also something about the strange puncture marks on the bodies – it’s almost as though people are being plugged in?  I wondered at first if April was getting ‘rid’ of people because of some sort of jealousy over January – then I wondered if she was actually ‘gathering’ people into her computer (like forming her own little community) which would answer why the Haunts haven’t been to collect the bodies – because they’re not actually dead (like she’s downloading people somehow).  I also can’t help wondering why April doesn’t know what’s going on – she seems to be able to go everywhere and see anything.  I ended up feeling that maybe she’s trying to protect this aspect of her world by taking everyone into her world.  Then I got all suspicious over Gordan – there was a comment from Toby about her being niggled over ‘Gordan’s too clean hands’ – don’t know why that got either Toby or my attention but it did.  There was also a comment about Coblynau being able to trap enchantment in living metal – I wonder whether Gordan is trapping people somehow!  Maybe they’re working together.  The other thing that was odd was when Toby and Quentin were looking at everyone’s rooms and April turned up unexpectedly – there was like a tank with miniature Hippocampi (and by the way how cool do they sound – I wants) swimming about and when April turned up they all shied away – like they don’t trust her.

Basically, I’m all over the place really.  I quite like the idea that somebody is gathering all of these people up somehow – well, I don’t like it exactly!  but it seems like a possibility.

Week 1: Saturday 5th March, Chapters 1-8 hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 12th March, Chapters 9-16 – hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog (me!)
Week 3: Saturday 19th March, Chapters 17-25 – hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 26th March, Chapters 26-end – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

All are welcome and there’s a discussion page over on Goodreads if that makes it easier to join.

A Local Habitation (October Daye #2) by Seanan McGuire, readalong week No.1

localhabbanner.pngToday is week one of our readalong of A Local Habitation (No.2 October Daye by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  I read the first book as part of a readalong at the start of the year and thought it got off to a good start but so far book No.2 is totally kicking arse!

The schedule is as follows, It’s not too late to join in so if you’re looking for a great new UF series this could be the one for you.

Week 1: Saturday 5th March, Chapters 1-8 hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 12th March, Chapters 9-16 – hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog (me!)
Week 3: Saturday 19th March, Chapters 17-25 – hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 26th March, Chapters 26-end – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

All are welcome to join in and there’s a discussion page over on Goodreads if that makes it easier to join.  Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

1. Some familiar faces are back for book 2 (hi Tybalt!), but we don’t waste much time getting to meet some new people, most notably Sylvester Torquill’s niece, January, who is … less than upfront with Toby at first meeting. What do you think of January so far?

Firstly – yes, hello Tybalt!!  Woohoo those opening scenes.  Oh yes!

Anyway.

Well, I guess so far I’d say she comes across as a little inexperienced – or maybe it’s just that she’s trying to stand on her own two feet and too proud to ask for help ((or maybe she’s asking for help but not getting through?).  Not sure really.  She is definitely not playing with a straight bat when she first meets Toby and I’m not sure why but I think that given the nature of some of the conversations so far (where she think’s she’s been calling Sylvester and vice versa) I think something is rotten in Denmark and maybe it’s something that’s outside her control.

2. Another new face is April, who’s got a rather unique back story according to Alex. What do you make of her so far, and what do you think of the merging of magic and technology that seems set to be the underlying theme in this book?

I quite like the idea of merging magic and technology but I’m not sure I completely believe it yet as it doesn’t seem to usually mix with the fae does it as they always come across as almost medieval somehow? The story with Alex – well, that was a sad story wasn’t it.  I can’t help wondering about her being the only one to escape.  Is she just terribly unique and lucky and managed to escape against all the odds whilst all the other of her kind died, or is she slightly smarter and managed to escape but is now basically fuming.  Come on.  She would be livid wouldn’t she – or maybe I’m looking for potential suspects!!!  And, she’s all mixed up in the IT – the messenger no less, and nobody’s telephone calls are getting through to each other *waggles eyebrows in a most unflattering way*!!!!!  I’m such an over thinker, I know!

3. Do any of the rest of the new faces stand out to you here? If so, who and why?

I would love to know what’s going on with Alex and Terrie (might have got that name wrong). They both seem so appealing don’t they?  Now, don’t get me wrong, they both could be very appealing or maybe they’re like using some sort of glamour – okay, I’m over thinking but this is the fae.

4. We get some explanation of the political situation where Tamed Lightning is concerned, and by the end of this section we’ve got a body on the ground at ALH Computing… Got any initial thoughts/suspicions/things you still want to know.

I want to know EVERYTHING.  And, I’ll tell you why – because, I have absolutely no idea yet about what’s going on here in Tamed Lightning – but *and shakes finger knowingly* something is definitely going on!

That’s it for me this week.  This got off to a great start – Tybalt from almost the get go!!

 

Next Page »