Title: A Red-Rose Chain
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: October “Toby” Daye (Book #9)
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Format: Paperback, 358 Pages
ISBN-10: 0756408091 (DAW/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0756408091 (DAW/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Kristie
Things are looking up.
For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.
Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.
How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.
It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.
Quick & Dirty: Toby faces her toughest battle when yet another war is declared on the Mists.
Opening Sentence: “So how long are you and the kitty-cat plannin’ on doing this whole ‘engagement’ thing?”
Book number nine in the October “Toby” Daye series pulls no punches. October is put through the most dangerous test that she has had to face so far. I have been amazed by how this series continues to grow and how Toby still learns new things about herself. Once again, I would highly recommend reading the entirety of this series in order to fully understand the characters and events that are happening with the story.
You didn’t think we had not seen the last of the former Queen of the Mists, did you? Well she’s back and she has taken up sanctuary with the King of the Silences. The King has declared war on the new Queen in the Mists saying that she isn’t the rightful heir that the former Queen was wrongfully deposed. Queen Arden sends Toby as a political ambassador to the Kingdom of the Silences, a job that Toby knows may just be her last. As an ambassador, she has three days of political immunity to try to change the mind of the King. He must listen but that doesn’t mean he won’t make Toby’s job incredibly hard, especially when he absolutely refused to do what she wants. Also, “political immunity” doesn’t mean she is safe either. People have known to be killed when on this assignment.
Toby can’t rely on her usual recklessness. She is forced to go by fae politics if she has any hope of stopping this war. Having to go by the weird fae politics makes Toby sit back and think first about what she is going to say and how she is going to act. King Rhys doesn’t play fair. He has the former Queen by his side who knows Toby’s weaknesses so he is able to play dirty.
This story is very eerie. Toby is stuck in a kingdom where no one likes her. The people act funny. The castle is sparse in decoration. And every time Toby thinks things just might go her way a major curveball is thrown to steer her majorly off course. If there ever was a time that Toby thought about just throwing in the towel it is here.
If you thought Toby’s recklessness was over, this story unfortunately takes her recklessness to a whole new level much to Tybalt’s chagrin. This story is perhaps the most dangerous job that she has undertaken. Blind Michael was almost a cakewalk next to what she is forced to endure at Silences. Toby’s powers continue to grow and change in a way that is uncommon for most fae, Rhys will reveal some secrets that I assumed applied to all fae purebloods.
The side characters also make this story. Tybalt, May, Quentin and Walther go with Toby on her journey. Each of these characters have secrets that are revealed that add even more depth to their characters. I was a little bit shocked by one of the revelations but I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised.
Overall, this is a dark chapter in the Toby era but in the end a major breakthrough is made in the fae world that will have drastic consequences for future stories. This series continues to entertain me and I am really looking forward to Toby’s future adventures.
“We must walk a short distance, but I assure you, it will be no hardship, for I will be with you,” he said, offering me his arm.
I laughed as I took it. “Wow. Your ego has grown since we’ve known each other, hasn’t it?”
“Ah, but, you see, I have wooed and won the woman of my dreams. Admittedly, some of those dreams would be more properly termed ‘nightmares,’ but I don’t believe we get to be that picky when talking about such things.” He led me out of the alley and onto the tree lined street. I didn’t know Portland well enough to know where we were – I didn’t know Portland at all, really – but he walked without hesitation, and I followed him. Whatever strange methods Cait Sidhe used to mark their holdings for each other, I trusted him to know how to interpret things. “If my ego had not grown, it would surely be sign that I was no true cat, and you would leave me for another.”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I lvoe you, but the cat part has never been the most important thing to me.”
The corner of Tybalt’s mouth curved upward. “And, truly, that is excellent to know. I was considering becoming a horse, or a stag, or perhaps a dairyman.”
“You know, if I ever forget that you’re a weirdo, the fact that you class ‘dairyman’ with horse and deer will remind me.”
“Stag, please,” said Tybalt. He tried to sound wounded. The laughter sort of spoiled the effect. “Do not shame my manhood, I beg of you.”
October “Toby” Daye Series:
5. One Salt Sea
11. The Brightest Fell (September 2017)
12. Night and Silence (September 2018)
13. The Unkindest Tide (September 2019)
FTC Advisory: DAW/Penguin provided me with a copy of A Red-Rose Chain. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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