Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #4)
Synopsis from GoodReads:
October “Toby” Daye, changeling knight in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, finds the delicate balance of her life shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended. Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile.
Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher, for the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda. With everything on the line, Toby will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can’t find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she never thought she’d have to face again…
I said in my review of book 3, An Artificial Night (found here), that I thought the series had finally hit its stride. And I still believe that – but I thought this book wasn’t as good. It’s not something I can put my finger on, unfortunately, but there was just something that bothered me.
Maybe it’s that Toby spent the majority of the novel running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It was justified – eventually, sort of – and it helps that these novels take place over a short period for the most part, but. Well, it still doesn’t excuse no one noticing what was going on, even with everything else happening.
On top of this, we got quite a few revelations, some of which I thought were thrown out without too much discussion or thought. I know that the focus is on the sickness, as it mostly should be, but I’d think there would have been more thought devoted to the rather major twist about Amandine.
Yes, I know, the fae are twisty and twisted – but some of what was happening wasn’t explained well enough for this reader to follow along. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting that from this series or something, but I definitely wasn’t getting all of the subtext happening and that’s rather annoying. To say nothing of all the questions I was left with after the final confrontation in this book between Toby and Oleander.
On the other hand, however, I liked the expansion of Raysel and her damage. After An Artificial Night I was worried about the whole nature vs nurture deal but what was revealed about her here cleared things right up. I still don’t like her, of course, but I’m glad she’s not a case of straight-up ‘you can’t change nature’.
And May remains a delight following her introduction last book. I loved getting to see her grow and try to figure out who she is separate from her original purpose. And, considering what’s happened by the end of the novel, I expect to see her go right on diverging.
Several of the other supporting characters, antagonistic and otherwise, remain fantastic, although I wish we’d gotten to see more of Quentin. But I suspect he’s going to continue to pop up, so I’m sure I’ll see more of him sooner rather than later. Unfortunately the subplot with Gillian (and Cliff) seems to have mostly been dropped or forgotten, which is less pleasing. I personally think that Gillian, at least, should still be a major factor in Toby’s thoughts but *shrug*.
Overall, 3.5 out of 5 stars and I’m hoping the next novel will pick back up.