The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire
Synopsis from GoodReads:
For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.
And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to.
I don’t know why this series isn’t clicking for me, but it’s gotten to the point where I’m going to give it up. This has been a hard decision for me because I don’t dislike it – in fact I like quite a few aspects – but it’s not having an emotional impact on me and I’ve been having difficulties getting my hands on the books anyways.
The decision was made easier by the author’s note at the front of this book. McGuire writes quite clearly thta this book was one of the first to come to her, in regards to Toby’s overall arc, and that she’s been writing to this plan from the beginning. That’s her prerogative, and in many ways it’s worked out just fine.
The problem is in its impact on me. This book has more revelations than the previous books, but all of them fell just as flat on my emotions. None of the twists meant anything to me other than ‘oh look, another surprise’. The problem wasn’t that I saw a couple of them coming – it’s that they failed to give me any emotions. I kept reading because I was interested, but interest is a pretty pale word and feeling when you come right down to it.
I’m also having trouble with a lot of the characters, including Toby. They still don’t feel real to me. In this book in particular, Sylvester feels more like a plot prop than the man we’ve seen him to be in earlier novels. If there was a good reason for his decisions then that would be one thing – and, who knows, maybe there is. But since the entire novel is first-person Toby, we can’t know that. And she doesn’t have any thoughts on the matter, so we really don’t have a clue.
If you like the Fair Folk and you like Urban Fantasy, I would still recommend giving the series a try – McGuire portrays the fae and their culture to perfection, IMHO. Just because it’s not working for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.