Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire

ashesofhonorAshes 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.

 

 

 

 

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Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire readalong final week

ashesofhonorToday is the final week of our readalong of Ashes of Honour (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire  The schedule is over on Goodreads and this week I am hosting the questions.  With the customary warning about potential spoilers lets get straight to the Q&A.

Li Qin – she’s not been around long but she’s already made a strong impression and now looking after Dreamer’s Glass – temporarily maybe – how do you think that will play out??

She’s a very strong character I think and I can’t help thinking we’re going to see more of her now she’s care-taking over at Dreamer’s Glass.  I can’t help wondering if Dreamer’s Glass might be a bone of contention for some people – although part of me thinks that maybe if Li Qin rules it well it would be a helluva lot better than the previous arrangement.

Toby and Tybalt have finally made their move. Tybalt has for the moment quelled the dissent in his court – do you think that they will now accept Toby or will the unrest continue?

I predict problems!  It’s going to be fascinating watching these two in a relationship because neither of them seems to have any caution when it comes to rushing headlong into danger.  It was pretty cool watching them look after each other though and finally getting to observe some of the feelings they share.  The Court of Cats – well, I don’t know how that’s going to go down but we’ll see.  It’s not like Toby hasn’t helped them enough on a number of occasions and I like to think that she can maybe win them round.

I’m curious about Oberon and Titania – why have they disappeared – do you think that will be explored in future instalments and what did you make of this abandoned realm?

The abandoned realm was fascinating – I really liked that it seemed to reflect and continue the fairy tale theme – the tower gave me the Sleeping Beauty vibes again.  I simply can’t understand where Oberon and Titania disappeared to.  I really hope we do get to explore a little of this at some point.

I can’t help thinking that Officer Thornton might reappear – or maybe that’s wishful thinking – do you think he will survive and pop up again?

I hope he will survive.  I felt really sorry for him – talk about the wrong place at the wrong time – he’s the very definition.  He was so freaked out by it all and yet he still came up trumps for Toby in the end.  Part of me hopes that there will be a way out for him some how but at the same time – if there’s a way out for Thornton then there’s also a way out for the other crazies!

What was your favourite aspect of Ashes of Honor and how it compares with the earlier books?

Well, obviously Tybalt and Toby and the chemistry they share has been a constant source of enjoyment during  this series but what I particularly enjoyed about this instalment is that Toby herself seems to have turned a corner.  She’s given herself permission to admit her feelings and also to not grieve or take dangerous risks with her own life.  It’s also startling to think of the difference between this and the first book where Toby appeared to be very much alone in a dull job, barely making ends meet and no family.  Looking back at that start to series it was actually quite bleak for Toby.  Now she seems to be surrounded by people who care for her – of course she has enemies but she also has some very solid friendships and a lot of that is because she’s allowed people back into her life.

I loved No.6 – this is certainly a series that just keeps giving.

 

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire readalong week #3

ashesofhonorToday is week three of our readalong of Ashes of Honour (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire  The schedule is over on Goodreads and this week I am hosting the questions.  With the customary warning about potential spoilers lets get straight to the Q&A.

So Duchess Riordan is indeed involved in Chelsea’s disappearing acts – a plot which coincides with Samson’s efforts to remove Tybalt from power and “remove” Toby with him … Do you think Samson and Riordan are in cahoots somehow?

Oh my – I never even considered that but now the question has been asked it makes sense!  Riordan was speaking to a man on the phone when Toby was earwigging the conversation so that could have been Samson.  I’ve become so used to the Queen of the Mists being oddly involved with things or acting strange that I tend to always look in her direction when things go wrong and this has probably blinkered me a little and stopped me considering other people’s involvement.

Speaking of Toby and Tybalt … Not so much a question, but let’s discuss THAT confession from Tybalt!

Well – that little confession clears up so much.  For example, why Tybalt originally disliked Toby due to her changeling nature.  And, more than being revealing it just helps to build up more of a picture of Tybalt – not to mention just how long he’s actually been around. Plus it feels like the air has been cleared – there’s really nothing standing between Toby and Tybalt now!  These two do make a great couple.  I liked the remarks in the book – that Connor was in love with ‘Toby the girl’ but Tybalt is in love with ‘Toby the woman’ – I’m not quoting there but there was definitely something along those lines and I thought it was spot on.  Toby and Connor were together in a strange hankering after ‘what was’.  It never felt right for either of them really – more like they were clutching at straws.  I certainly didn’t want Connor to die mind you – but there it is!

Meanwhile, Officer Thornton’s last appearance was not so random. Do you think he might know more than Toby realises about what’s going on, or does he just suspect something more?

The feeling I’m getting from Officer Thornton is that he doesn’t believe Toby.  He knows that something is wrong but just not what or why?  That’s the way he comes across to me at least.  Like turning up at Toby’s house for example – he’s obviously looking into her because otherwise how would he know where she lived?  That being said – I don’t like that he’s looking into her!!  I don’t really know what his role is going to be in all this – I’m not getting a bad vibe but I can’t help feeling a little bit suspicious.  I’m hoping though that maybe Officer Thornton might be a future ally for Toby – he could certainly be very helpful in future cases – in the same way, he could, of course, be very unhelpful.

Lastly, I need to mention that last encounter between Toby and Luna, in which things seem far less cosy at Shadowed Hills than they once were. What do you make of Luna’s reactions, and Toby’s responses to them? Is Toby in the right, or do you think Luna’s not being entirely unreasonable?

At first I was thinking this was strange but now I’m not so sure.  It’s always felt as though something strained the relationship between Luna and Toby.  At the back of her mind maybe Luna blames Toby for not actually succeeding in rescuing her and more to the point Rayseline?  I also sometimes get the impression that Luna maybe dislikes the close relationship that Toby and Sylvester enjoy.  Plus, at the end of the day, Luna did send Toby into a situation that would more than likely end up with her death.  That must cross Toby’s mind as well – it just feels like the two of them really need to clear the air and speak their minds.  As it is it feels as though Toby has hardened a little towards Luna and it feels very much as though Luna has withdrawn into herself.  I hope the two of them figure it out – they do have a lot of history between them and not all of it is good but I think they could work it out if the desire to do so was there.

 

 

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire readalong week #2

ashesofhonorToday is week two of our readalong of Ashes of Honour (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire  The schedule is over on Goodreads and this week I am hosting the questions.  With the customary warning about potential spoilers lets get straight to the A&A.

The court of cats is once again visited following yet more disaster. What did you make of the visit this time and the way Toby was received?

It was very strange wasn’t it.  Like some of the cats are starting to find out that trouble seems to follow Toby – or at least that’s the way they perceive it.  It’s also a little odd because it’s not that long since Toby was helping to retrieve lost children on behalf of so many of the fae, including the cats, and seemed to have won their favour as a result.  Memories are short I suppose.  I think that we’re seeing a bit of prejudice leaking out now – maybe it’s okay for Toby to be befriended by the Court of Cats but not for their own ruler to be so openly admiring of her?

What do you think of Toby’s chances of being able to stop Chelsea – or to use the potion that Walther has concocted?

This is an odd one – Chelsea seems to be a bit of a whirling dervish so just how easy it’s going to be to apply this potion remains to be seen.  I also have a bad feeling about it and hope it doesn’t go horribly wrong – like maybe Toby ends up with her powers absent for a year and a day!!

I’m very curious about why the policeman is tailing Toby? Any ideas about why?

This puzzles me.  Either he’s very curious after having seen Toby at the centre of a couple of missing children scenarios or he’s starting to suspect that something is a bit ‘off’ about her – I suppose theres also the possibility that he could be something different himself or, finally, maybe it’s all going to tie in with the whole ‘humans becoming more aware of the fae’ theme.

We once again find ourselves at Tamed Lightning and meet up with Li Qin. What were your feelings on revisiting, did anything stand out and what did you make of Li Qin. Also we learnt more about the world of Faerie. Discuss.

I really enjoyed revisiting Tamed Lightning and would like to think that this whole revisiting places we’ve already been is going to be a regular occurrence.  Li Qin seems very interesting.  I like the way she immediately stepped in to help Toby out.  I feel very sad for her to be honest because she’s obviously, and rightly, so sad and lonely.  I was really interested in the whole world building of faerie.  I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand who Faerie works just yet but I was particularly interested in the four realms – Land, Undersea, Oversky  and Fire – which is like the four elements, earth, water, air and fire and I was curious if added to this will be the fifth element added – spirit or aether?

Duchess Riordan seems to be involved somehow with Chelsea’s disappearance or at least to know something. Any guesses as to her motives or who she was talking to?

I’m drawing a blank although she seemed to be talking to a male on the phone.  I’m not sure why Riordan would become involved – in fact I’m not sure why any of the fae would take part in this if it could potentially undermine the fabric of Faerie.  I can only assume that Riordan has political motivation and ambitions of more rule.

What were your impressions of Dreamer’s Glass and do you think there was a reason why we got to pay particular attention to it’s coat of arms?

It’s a crazy place isn’t it.  Tacky much!!  OMG Riordan is so pleased with herself as well openly looking for compliments about her decorating.  The coat of arms was curious to me – I wondered why it was being paid attention to – I always can’t help thinking there must be a reason and obviously it brings to mind Sleeping Beauty – both in terms of the Lady of Shallot and the Spindle!

Finally, we should talk about Toby and Tybalt. There was that kiss after all. What are your feelings/predictions in respect to the two of them?

Well, it feels like the two of them are finally taking small steps to acknowledge that there is something between them.  That being said, this isn’t going to be easy is it!  Ohh, but that kiss!!!!

 

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire readalong week #1

ashesofhonorIt’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

Today is week one of our readalong of Ashes of Honour (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire  The schedule is over on Goodreads and this week Lisa is our host Over The Effing Rainbow.  With the customary warning about potential spoilers lets get straight to the A&A.

1. The opening scenes in this book are interesting enough to touch on: This is the first time we’ve been given a plot that brings mortal belief in or knowledge of the Fae into the equation. That can’t end well… Can it? What are your thoughts on this so far?

This seems like something very refreshing to the series.  So far it feels like the series has focused mainly on the supernatural and we have had very little involvement with everyday people and that’s not really surprising because the fae go to such lengths to hide their existence so this feels like a really new development.  At the moment, given the horror that everyone has so far demonstrated over this potential broach in secrecy, then clearly this is not a good thing.  However, I’m tempted to say that with only one person being aware of the fae, I’m not sure how much damage this would really cause?  I suppose it depends on how much ‘other’ damage takes place with this latest missing child.

2. Etienne and Bridget: Didn’t see that one coming! What do you make of the usually uptight Etienne’s rule-breaking past? Any predictions for what might become of him if/when the dust settles?

I’m flabbergasted to be honest.  Etienne is such a stickler that this just feels jaw dropping doesn’t it – I like it though.  Who knew that Etienne could be so ‘real’.  Breaking the rules! I really can’t guess at how he will be punished but I’m hoping that Sylvester will go easy on him – that being said I suppose it depends on the fallout.

3. For that matter, let’s discuss Bridget a little more. This is the first time anyone mortal has been more than peripherally involved in any part of this story, and she is determined to stay on the defensive. Do you think this is a smart choice, or trouble waiting to happen?

I think Bridget is tipping the scales of hysteria at the moment but that’s understandable with her daughter missing.  I think she needs to trust Toby a little more but given her own knowledge she seems determined to go down the route of mistrust – at the moment she feels like she could explode in a very troublesome way.  I’m surprised that she didn’t get in touch with Etienne before – she really should have tried to understand a little bit more about what was going on but I think she was clearly to scared to do so.  It feels like she’s always anticipated her daughter being taken away and so has tried desperately to hide her – but this could now be backfiring terribly.

4. So the tables were turned on Tybalt a little after the events at the end of One Salt Sea: It’s been a year, Toby’s been avoiding him for a change, and it seems our kitty-cat was pining… But now things seem to be turning around, in a nod to the plot thread of Toby building healthier relationships… Might this finally be the start of something more for them?

I feel like a change is in the offing somehow – it’s taken a few books to reach this point but I definitely get the impression that things are going to change and there seems like an almost restless impatience to Tybalt – like he’s made up his mind about something!  Time will tell.

 

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