The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire.

the-winter-longBefore I say anything more I must profess my love for the October Daye series. Yes, to be honest, I think it maybe started a little slowly in the first book, but I think that’s fairly typical for the start of most urban fantasy series in my experience, but now, I love this series.  It’s just so good and Seanan McGuire is an effing genius!  Seriously people – if you’re looking for your next urban fantasy read you simply have to read this book.  But, to the Winter Long.

This is a difficult review to write because this book obviously is the pinnacle of Ms McGuire’s scheming – I understand that she planned this book and the previous books were all just working to bring us to this point and what an excellent and mind blowing point it is.  So, we have Toby, slowly beginning to relax into her life.  She has friends now, she has a purpose, she thinks she knows what’s what but she really couldn’t be more wrong.

I have to say that I’m not going to give anything away in this review.  Toby, receives an unexpected guest – okay, I’ll give a little bit away – Simon Torquill.  The guy who likes to give a person gills and fins for a short spell.  Well, he turns up unexpectedly at Toby’s place and pretty much from there on in things go horribly, horribly wrong.  This book is so full of revelations – the main one being that everyone has been keeping Toby in the dark – about a lot of things.  Simon isn’t the only unexpected visitor she is going to receive – but I’m not going to give that particular nugget away because it will blow your mind! And there will of course be lots of blood!  Not to mention there will be Tybalt – so everything is good.  Oh, and the Luidaeg, who just happens to be one of my all time favourite characters ever – yes, she’ll be making an appearance!

This is a necessarily short review – it’s not a reflection of my feelings for the book but just simply a desire on my part not to give things away.

If you are at an urban fantasy series end and looking where to go next – well, look no further.  Here you have your next series and it really does have everything.

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong final week

the-winter-longToday is the final week of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8). Today Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is hosting the questions.   The Goodreads page link is here. Be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series. If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

1. Some of Toby’s relationships are falling apart even more now. Luna and Sylvester both say (or don’t say) things they can’t take back, and it looks as though Toby may finally have had enough. What did you think of her confrontations with them, and is there any hope of reconciliation?

I would like to think that there is always hope of reconciliation.  I mean, these friendships didn’t turn out to be what Toby (or me for that matter) thought they were but nonetheless I feel at the moment I don’t know the true status.  Just like I didn’t know who Toby really was I wonder if there are bits and pieces of Sylvester and Luna’s history that I still don’t know.  I thought the confrontations were cold – in fact it felt like the two of them were finally showing that real ‘fae’ demeanour that we’ve read about so often.  The frozen, chilly kind that keeps people at arms length.  That was my first thought with both of them.  But, still at the back of my mind I don’t like to think too harshly of Sylvester.  I’d like to think that there is something holding him back or preventing him telling Toby what is going on.  Luna is another thing altogether.  I don’t think I’ve ever really warmed to her – she’s feels too detached or remote somehow.  Again, I will try to keep an open mind with both of them because if this series has taught me anything is that things aint always what they seem.

2. Conversely, it’s Simon who makes the effort to be supportive of Toby, in the end – despite what it costs him. How do you feel about what happens to him here?

I felt sorry for Simon.  He’s been weak, and he’s made mistakes, but he tried to turn it round didn’t he and I believe in second chances.  He’s going to take a long sleep now and hopefully over the next 100 years things won’t seem as bleak for him!  Although the fae are worse than elephants with their long memories.

3. Some family feuds really can be epic. What was your take on the big showdown with Toby, Eira and the Luidaeg?  

Well, yet more revelations and what really stands out to me is the fact that Eira can’t harm Toby  –  lordy, if she’d only known that a little bit sooner eh!  And the Luidaeg can’t harm Eira – all these protections that have been put in place – clearly to protect those that are weaker from those that could run amok.  I guess it keeps a strange sort of peace in a way doesn’t it.  It also makes it a little bit more obvious why the fae keep so many secrets.

4. Tybalt proposed! Is this going to be a happy ending, do you think?

OMG – it was almost the perfect ending.  In fact what I am talking about – it was the perfect ending.  I have no doubt that Ms McGuire will continue to chuck everything she has at Toby and Tybalt.  No doubt Toby will be covered in blood many, many more times, and no doubt Tybalt will continue to try and help rescue her and more often than not end up with her rescuing him.  Yes, I think they can have the perfect ending – they both know what they want now and it’s within reach!

Bring on the next book!

 

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong week 2

winter-longToday is week two of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8).  Today I am hosting the questions – and they’re a big mess which totally reflects my brain after reading the last chapters.  The Goodreads page link is here.  Feel free to join in or just jump into the discussion in the comments and be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series.  If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

Wow, what is going on around here! I think this week I’m more puzzled than ever not to mention the emotion! I’m all over the place. The questions are incoherent I’m afraid:

Firstly, The Luidaeg said that Toby’s mother had told her to beware The Lady of the Lake, but to be more afraid of Morgana. So we know a little more about the Lady of the Lake (I think) – but who is Morgana. So much seems to be wrapped up in the fairytales or myths and legends we have already heard of. What do you make of it all?

All these elements of fairytales and folklore that are creeping into the story really fascinate me.  Clearly the Lady of the Lake is all wrapped up in the Arthurian tales – I thought Morgana was Arthurs half sister and adversary in the old tales.  The Lady of the Lake is sometimes known as Viviene amongst many other versions of the name. Then we have this whole Snow White issue with Winterrose being Snow White – so not exactly the nice version of our fairytales though.  She makes use of the part of the story where Snow white sleeps to recover (or in the tale sleeps with an apple lodged in her throat) – I wonder who is going to play the role of Arthur – or the Wicked Queen.  Actually, I love that McGuire is twisting these tales for the purpose of her fae to infer that our stories have all been invoked by the fae living amongst us – just slightly different versions that those that we are familiar with.  I love this aspect of the story where McGuire builds up the legend of the fae living amongst us.

The Luidaeg – oh my giddy aunt. How could this have happened! The Luidaeg is the one who every one is afraid of – how can this have happened! Is her attacker so very powerful, is it because of the geas? How do you think the Luidaeg will react to Toby saving her life (well, bringing her back from the dead) and the Court of the Cats giving her a safe haven?

OMFG Noooooooo!  I could weep!!  What is going on here.  Who could do this to the Luidaeg.  I confess I don’t understand it at all.   I mean, obviously at the moment we don’t know who attacked the Luidaeg although it would be easy to infer certain characters.  And then Toby to the rescue – give that woman a cape!  I wonder what the Luidaeg will make of all her new allies – so, she’s obviously got more friends than her prickly demeanour really portrays.  I wonder how she’ll feel about all this warm cuddliness surrounding her – she’ll probably eat somebody’s head or something!  I’m hoping that she’s going to turn all badass – I want to see the Luidaeg in motion – put Winterrose back in her place!

So, as things have moved on it appears that maybe Simon, in a very odd ‘I will turn you into a tree’ fashion maybe did think he was helping Toby. When he was told the Luidaeg was dead he said that he was too late. It all points to the fact that maybe he was trying to help – do you think that is the case?

I really can’t figure him out – clearly he is still working for Winterrose isn’t he??  Is he scared of her too?  Why has she got everyone under her power somehow.  In some ways he comes across as crazy but maybe trying to help – like giving Toby the flower clues.  But then at the back of my mind I think was he helping or not – it seems that he keeps leading Toby straight to Winterrose!  And, to get back to the point in the first question – turning Toby into a tree – does that remind anybody of Apollo and Daphne – sorry just thought I’d chuck that in there!

Eira Rosynhwry, Evening Winterrose – (and can I say I NEVER saw that coming) what is she up to??

I really didn’t see that coming. It now makes me feel like I have to go back to the first books and read them again with this knowledge.  So, Winterrose is behind it all – she’s First Born – and why oh why would she want Toby dead?  Is this all about Armandine – is there a man between the two of them, why did they hate each other – did Armandine take her sister’s favourite dress and never return it?  I have no ideas.  But then, after Toby recovered from her fishy period Winterrose was her friend – or at least helped her, helped her back into the land of the fae even by cursing her.  I’m confused!

Finally, the First Born – of which Evening Winterrose is one – what sort of impact is this going to have on their children? Will it turn fae against fae? Why would one of the firstborn be hiding in plain sight?

I can’t figure out what Winterrose’s long game is. What does she want?  Was she involved with the Queen of the Mists then – why would she want Rayseline and Luna to be kidnapped? It feels like there’s a lot of bad blood between the First Born and memories are long.

How do you think Toby is going to walk away from this situation – people conflicted, Sylvester seeming to be in a trance! What next?

Why is everyone under a trance, well everyone except Etienne??  And is this going to cause some sort of rift between the fae – the children of the First Born – depending on who their First Born just so happens to be.

As you can see, I have questions upon questions and very little by way of answers.  Everybody – chuck me a bone now, come on, put me out of your misery!

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong week 1

the-winter-longToday is week one of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8).  Today Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow is hosting the questions.  The Goodreads page link is here.  Feel free to join in or just jump into the discussion in the comments and be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series.  If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

1. Simon is back, and unsurprisingly no one is happy. And he seems to be convinced that what he did to Toby saved her life… Do you think he’s telling the truth about that or is Team Toby absolutely right not to trust him?

I’m not sure to be honest.  The fact is, Simon was running around with Oleander – and she was all kinds of crazy and he seems a little unhinged himself.  That being said, he did seem to believe what he was saying – but that could just be delusional I suppose?  I don’t think you can trust him though – I think the real point for me with Simon is the way that his magic seems to smell rotten to Toby.  From the sound of what Sylvester said his magic didn’t always smell that way so that makes me think that the tarnished smell of his magic is a reflection of his own corruption somehow.  However, even though I think there is something off about him I can’t help thinking he seemed sincere – and conversely, although not the best solution maybe, turning Toby into a fish did keep her out of harms way didn’t it.  Just who is it that intends her harm??

2. Once again, Sylvester was keeping secrets – but this time he’s stepping up to the vengeful plate! Do you think Sylvester has what it takes to bring his brother down? And will he ever tell Toby the whole truth?

I’m beginning to think that nobody in the land of the fae will every completely spill the beans – it does of course make for a much more intriguing read that way.  I’m not sure if Sylvester has what it takes – in one respect I think he is very angry with his brother, but then in another do I really believe he could harm his brother if it came to that?  I’m not even sure I want Sylvester to turn into that person.  The other thing is it depends who is really at the root of all this – clearly somebody incredibly powerful?  Was Simon acting in fear – he seems to have been in hiding for a long time.  And I wonder what the incentive is for him showing up now?  Is he still working for the same person and is this all some sort of trap to lure Toby out somehow?

3. Never thought we’d see the day, but this time around the Luidaeg seems to be in trouble and it might well be up to Toby to get her out of it. So now we know that the villain behind all of this is someone Toby knew … Any guesses about who?

I’m not sure I completely understand how the Luidaeg got into trouble with the whole geas ‘thing’.  If she was able to give Toby an answer then surely it wasn’t going against the restrictions of the geas?  But, yeah, I’m not really sure what happened there. As to who this could be – I really don’t know.  I’ve been hazarding all sorts of daft guesses but can’t really come up with anything sound – like I said above, surely to have placed such restrictions even on the Luidaeg then this person must be somebody formidable?  The first thing I came up with was either Titania or Oberon – but that’s just really not a possibility and I can’t think of any reason why they would be involved.  Blind Michael is no longer in the picture and given his demise the geas wouldn’t still hold if it had been him.  Wasn’t there mention of another sister of Amandine and the Luidaeg?  That’s the only other person I can think of.

4. That’s it for questions but as always, feel free to highlight anything else of interest for you this week!

And Toby has a sister – August!  Who seems to have been missing for a very long time – and a similar number of years to the whole shenanigans with King Gilad.  I can’t quite put it all together.  I wonder if August was elf shot and has been sleeping??  And where is Armandine!!  So many questions that my head hurts as much as Toby’s.

It also occurs to me that the rather insane previous Queen of the Mists is still missing in action – is she working for the same person as Simon – was she involved?

Friday Firsts: The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire

FridayFirsts
Friday Firsts
 is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.    This week I’m reading The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire

the-winter-longThe woods were dark, filled with strange shadows.  They twisted and swirled independent of any light source, making the space beneath the towering sequoias look treacherous and wild.  Not much in the way of illumination could trickle all the way down through the tightly-laced branches to ground level; the few streaks of moonlight that had managed to reach us were washed out and thin, managing to seem almost darker than having no light at all.  Everything was permeated by the smell of redwood sap and the sea.

We had arrived as a group, May, Jazz and Quentin packed into the backseat like sardines, me behind the wheel, and Tybalt sitting rigidly next to me.  He didn’t really like cars under the best of circumstances.  He liked them even less when there were multiple other passengers, since that meant he couldn’t respond to an accident by yanking everyone safely onto the Shadow Roads.  Call it a quirk brought on by being several hundred years older than the internal combustion engine.

My First Impressions

Yes!  I am so ready to read this book – everyone keeps saying this is ‘the one’!  Super excited.  And straight away we’re into the story – into the dark woods!!  Oooh, *wiggles fingers*.

What you reading this Friday??

*The above excerpt was taken from an advanced reader copy and it is possible that the final version may have further changes.
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