Be the Serpent: October Daye, Book 16 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The 16th novel of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times best-selling October Daye urban-fantasy series.
October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal”, she’s doing her best to adjust.
It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.
Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true.
The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 44 minutes|
|Narrator||Mary Robinette Kowal|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 13, 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #12,117 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#141 in Contemporary Fantasy
#166 in Urban Fantasy
#324 in Paranormal Fantasy
Top reviews from the United States
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Inbetween all this rewriting of the past, we also have books that rewrite the future. We have known from early on that Toby was the subject of several prophecies. Also, the Luidaeg had plans for her. As is the nature of fairy tale prophecies, they come true, but not in the way that anyone thought they would. Thus, in fulfilling prophecies, Toby rewrites the future. In The Unkindest Tide Toby rescues the Roane. In A Killing Frost she brings back Oberon, as prophecy said she would. The odd thing about Oberon being back, though, is that he doesn't really seem to be. Throughout When Sorrows Come and the shorter stories McGuire has written since, he mostly just hangs around quietly in the background, as if he were something painted on the wallpaper.
All this rearranging of the past and future happens without explicit time travel. (McGuire has nothing in principle against time-travel as a plot device -- we know this because it showed up in That Ain’t Witchcraft (Incryptid series) and Middlegame. Nothing would surprise me less than the eventual appearance of a time-travel spell in the October Daye books. But so far, in the first fifteen books, that hasn't happened.) Of course, we've known another big rewrite was coming since we saw these ominous words in the publisher's blurb:
"Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true.
"The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay."
The reference to the Broken Ride told us that we were due to dig at least five hundred years deep into history. And Oberon at last emerges as a significant character. Be the Serpent reaches deep into the past and deep into the future. How was Faery born? Did Oberon say, "Let there be light"? Was there a Big Bang? Did both of those things happen? Will what was broken in the Broken Ride be fixed?
But of course, what you really want to know is, "Who's the serpent?" Does the Luidaeg, who after all, has promised to kill Toby, finally turn on her? Does Tybalt, who has just become her real, sanctioned husband, betray her? Someone else?
Much of Be the Serpent concerns arguments among families, and like real family arguments, they get tedious at times. Also, we end with a cliff-hanger.
Such Dangerous Seas
This book includes the novella Such Dangerous Seas. Once again, we are reaching deep into the past. This one is told from the point of view of Antigone of Albany, better known to us as The Luidaeg. It begins by retelling the the story of the slaughter of the Roane, which has been told several times before in the course of the October Daye Series. However, it goes on from there to relate The Luidaeg's attempt to get justice. We see the Luidaeg in an unusual way, as a petitioner, weaker than those she is dealing with. This is a vulnerable Annie, unlike the powerful and self-confident Luidaeg we have come to know.
Such Dangerous Seas builds on revelations from Be the Serpent. You won't fully understand Such Dangerous Seas unless you have read Be the Serpent.
Never a dull moment. Can't wait for the next book to come out.
As always, Seanan McGuire is an exceptional myth builder. She weaves the known stories of the Fae with some unique twists and insights. The problem with this approach is that the myth and legend becomes more than a backdrop and becomes the focus of the novel's events. This makes the true conflicts, family and mental health, take a backseat to the myth building.
The ending of the novel, which I will not spoil here, brings this issue into sharp focus. After seemingly resolving the issue of the novel, the ending shows that actually nothing has been resolved and the "evils" are still out there and, in fact, have grown even more dangerous.
This has the effect of making the reading of the next book imperative, but at the cost of making this book less "nourishing," like the second part of a trilogy. I'm still very hungry for the resolution of this story and have faith that Seanan McGuire will deliver it. But the wait is long.
Top reviews from other countries
I dreaded reading this one just as I eagerly wanted to get my hands on it… because of the title and the synopsis. And the stakes are sky high and incredible and unthinkable stuff happens… it all starts with an awful, really really awful murder that had me shaking. And yet there was an intriguing mystery to solve added to it. So Toby dries her tears and follows the magical (and of course bloody) breadcrumbs that lead her to an epic revelation and the solving of one of Faerie’s biggest (if not the biggest) mysteries. It’s harder than ever to talk about the plot an not spoil it (and there is stuff one should not know before reading, believe me!), so I keep it light. The murder mystery and its solution hit close to home and it’s a breathless ride full of action, ups and downs and Toby has so many great moments. I loved it. And when I was through and just took my first deep breath to cool down a bit, there was such a mean mean cliffhanger end that I now have to live with for a year until „These Violent Delights“ comes out and shows me what is going on and if and how Toby is getting out of…. things… hence the four star rating instead of the five stars the book would have gotten without the cliffhanger.
As an aside, there is an intense short story put at the end of the book showing how Antigone of Albany got bound by Titania and so became the sea witch. I was in emotional turmoil after the end of „Be the Serpent“ and the novella was great but added to that. You really really hate Titania and Eira after reading it.