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One Salt Sea (Toby Daye Book 5) Paperback – March 3, 2016
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October "Toby" Daye is finally doing all right. She's settling into her new role as the Countess of Goldengreen; she's actually dating again; she's even agreed to take on Quentin as her official squire. Life is looking up all around-and that inevitably means it's time for things to take a turn for the worse.
Someone has kidnapped the sons of Duchess Dianda Lorden, regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must not only find the missing boys, but also prove that the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. She'll need all her tricks and the help of all her allies if she wants to make it through this in one piece.
Toby's search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days' time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn't playing by Oberon's Laws...
As the battle grows more and more personal, one thing is chillingly clear. When Faerie goes to war, not everyone will walk away.
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- Publisher : Corsair (March 3, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1472120116
- ISBN-13 : 978-1472120113
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.87 x 0.98 x 5.24 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,169,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #65,017 in Paranormal & Urban Fantasy (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I was a little worried when Toby got made a Duchess, discovered she was daughter of a Firstborn, and had her blood "clarified" to make her more magical, more powerful, and more Fae. But that hasn't changed her basic equation. She's still a cocky upstart, a street-smart brawler who gets by on luck and a certain stubborn grit. She is still moving up in the world, but with her it is always three steps forward, one step back. She doesn't always win, and the failures of her past throng in increasing numbers to (sometimes literally) haunt her.
The first book started with her working nightshift at Safeway and considering herself a discarded member of the downtrodden "Changeling" class. Her Changeling identity is still part of her as is her awareness of the class conflicts in Fae society. But all the help and support she refused to accept in the first book is now hers. And she hasn't had to scrounge for dinner in a while.
My main complaint, in fact, is that all this help is a little too easy. Tybalt, King of Cats is still a little spooky and a very yummy kind of dangerous, but the edge is gone here (any day now Toby will finally figure out how he feels). The Luidaeg has also lost a lot of her sharp edges; she's no longer a credible threat to other than to Toby's dignity (or any offered limbs). Heck, even her walking Banquo's Ghost in pink Riot Girls t-shirt is retired now. I liked when the people she had to go to for help were credible threats to her and every time she reached out to them she had to make real sacrifices (as well as face a very real chance of bloody death for having annoyed them once too often).
So why five stars? Because the series has really hit its stride. On a curve of all books everywhere it might be a three or four, but in this series this is where they should be and giving it less than full points is unfair. (When a rating system is inflated you have to grade everything on a curve.)
It's a total page-turner. The characters are engaging, and each book deepens the mythology (the revelations about the selkie in this one....oooh.) There's lots of color, the fae are often amusingly down-market, the mortal San Francisco manages to show off every now and then. And then there's the scene Rayseline's room -- deeply moving emotional revelations delivered through the mute poetry of her possessions.
For that scene alone I'd recommend the book (just make sure you've read at least one of the previous ones, because a moment like that needs the proper setup.)
Okay, here’s the book I was promised by all those October Daye and McGuire fans. It took until book #5 in this series, but FINALLY we are getting the pay off for sticking with October through all the running around from Shadowed Hills to Ludaieg to other places with people trying to kill her all the time. I mean, in this book Toby gets to ride a mermaid queen in a wheelchair down a San Francisco hill with goblins in pursuit. She also gets to interact with her daughter, and finally come into her blood magic powers as Amandine’s daughter.
She also acquires a squire…actually two squires. And when they jelled together as her flunkies, and we got some more of the Ludaieg, as well as an ending of sorts between Toby and Connor, that’s when I felt this series really gathering steam. I mean, how clueless can Toby be about Tybalt? Really?
Toby gets to save the day not only for land fae, but also for the undersea. But she has to call in all her chips and friends to get it done, and there’s still tragedy. To avert a fae war, Toby must find the kidnapped princes of the undersea before an old enemy (finally rid of her, good riddance I say) kills them.
I’m excited for the next book because I’ll keep reading if its as good as this one and Toby goes in the direction of side stepping the Queen’s attempts to undermine her and rallies her crew to fight evil and get stuff done.
Escalation is a hard thing to maintain in a series. Every new installment (hopefully) raises the bar higher, every foundation laid that comes to fruition, every sign of affection between love interests, etc.
An exceptional author maintains the slow burn of the myriad elements in such a way that her readers are captivated.
Seanan McGuire is one such author, and OCTOBER DAYE is one such series.
I've always loved the idea of an entirely separate world living on top of our own, if we only had the eyes to see it, and that's exactly the kind of world October lives in.
Before ONE SALT SEA, these places existed on land: the beach entrance to the Court of the Mists, Sylvester's Shadowed Hills duchy in Paso Nogal Park in Pleasant Hill with its glass rose garden, Goldengreen at the San Francisco Art Museum that somehow thinks it belongs to the bogeys and pixies, etc.
This time we go deeper . . .
*hums 'Under the Sea'*
But faeness isn't limited to the fantastical backdrop in which it lives. No, it's full to bursting with equally strange and amazing creatures:
"They ranged from the expected Merrow and Sirens to stranger things, women with the lower bodies of octopi instead of the standard Merrow’s tail, men with slick, blue-black skin and the smooth fluidity of eels."
So there's that. *continues to hum 'Under the Sea'*
I've told you plenty about October in previous reviews, so this time I'm sticking to a few of my favorite secondaries.
May pretty much freaked us all out when she showed up wearing Toby's face and announced she was her very own death omen, but fae are tricksy creatures and masters at finding loopholes . . . Which explains why she's still around three books later, while October remains very much alive.
And we love her, despite our inauspicious beginning, b/c she's freaking hilarious. Like when she shows up with Quentin to observe October's sword practice with Sylvester:
“Let’s see some carnage!” hollered May, pumping her fist in the air.
PS - any questions you may (HA!) have had in regards to the origin of fetches are answered in this installment. FYI.
The King of the Cait Sidhe is more than just a ridiculously sexy face who seems to have a growing affection for our heroine, he's also very, very wise.
On the topic of war:
". . . most of the ones who come when the call goes out won’t have ever fought a war before. They’ll come because they think it’s honorable, or because they want to be called heroes. They’ll show up in their pretty armor, and they’ll litter the battlefield like leaves.”
So also, he's maybe a poet. *swoons*
The instant I met the Luidaeg (Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k . . . ), I knew I liked her, but that like has grown into LOVE.
She's probably my favorite character, period. It's all that dark and twistiness, I think.
On the topic of warmongering amongst the fae:
The Luidaeg once said, in a moment of particularly black humor, that nature made us territorial and temperamental because otherwise we’d have overrun the world within five generations.
But in ONE SALT SEA a piece of her puzzle is revealed that is absolutely heartbreaking: (view spoiler)
*weeps* *WAILS* *gnashes teeth*
The only thing I can say about that is, please, please, don't let the sister who betrayed her be Amandine . . .
So many Important Things happen in ONE SALT SEA that I'm loathe to give any of the surprises away, but I can say that this installment clearly identifies several future hurdles for our heroine AND what might ultimately be the End Game.
The few I can discuss without spoilers are:
1. As frustrating as it is, the purebloods appear to have a good reason for frowning on interspecies marriages:
"Mixed blood can be unstable, depending on how distant the mix is. If two of Daddy’s descendants hook up, it doesn’t really matter what bloodline they’re from. If one of them decides to get it on with one of Mom’s descendants, well. There’s the potential for a lot of crazy.”
“Like changeling madness?”
“Exactly like changeling madness."
Which creates issues not only for Toby and Tybalt and/or Connor, but for Toby and ANYONE.
So that sucks.
2. Creepy clairvoyant Roane is C R E E P Y:
“There, there, my lovely one. She’ll steer you sure enough. Just never let her near the silver. Line of thieves, hers is, and they’d rob even royalty blind.” She turned a mad, serene smile on me. “I know you’ve not stolen half a heartbeat from a stolen child as yet, but you will, given time. You will.”
I've no idea what that (or any of the similarly incomprehensible things she said) means, but I suspect it's not good.
There are numerous other points of interest as well--I want to see the Cloud Kingdom, and I want to see it NOW--but it all boils down to this: OCTOBER DAYE rocks my socks off, and if you love urban fantasy and haven't already read it, you're doing yourself a major disservice. ONE SALT SEA joins the ranks of Best UF Installments Ever along with stellar books like Magic Bites and Bitten . Highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
The Toby Daye series has fast turned into a must read series for me and one where I’ve become very attached to the characters and One Salt Sea is another instalment that just ladles on the love. Yet again McGuire builds on the world, telling us more of the rules that bind the land of Faerie and introducing us to yet more characters whilst strengthening the relationships of those that we already know. One Salt Sea manages to be a winning combination of fast paced plot and great characters. Firstly, please beware of potential spoilers for previous books in the series.
So, One Salt Sea, unsurprisingly, takes us to yet another land of the fae. The Undersea. Not to get ahead of myself, at the start of the story Toby is called before The Queen of the Mists – never a pleasant experience for her to be honest – and she discovers that two young boys have been kidnapped. Sons of the Duchess of Lorden, who rules the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. Now, knowing Toby as we do, she’s going to go rushing into the fray and try to find the boys – which is all good but, she needs to find the boys fast, prove that the Queen of the Mists was not involved in their abduction and, by doing so, prevent a war between the land and the sea fae. Wars between the fae never go well!
Now, I can’t really go too much into the plot, similar to my other reviews for the Daye books – Toby has an investigation to undertake, she has a timeframe and she has someone trying to stop her – someone who isn’t abiding by Oberon’s Laws.
For me the absolute best part of this series is the way that McGuire adds layer by layer with each new book. Every time you pick one of these up you know that something else will be revealed. At the start of this series Toby is at rock bottom. She’s estranged from her family, she has no friends, no real prospects, she’s in a seriously dark place. Over the course of the past five books though what a transformation McGuire has wrought. Toby is now surrounded by people who care about her and want to help and some of these people are pretty high up on the ‘don’t mess with me’ ladder. The Luidaeg. I love this character. The Sea Witch that every one is scared of and yet here she is in Toby’s corner. We have a fetch that is no longer a fetch! May, who not only isn’t a harbinger of Toby’s death but has been actively involved in keeping her alive. Then of course we have Tybalt and the slow burning romance that exists between Toby and the King of Cats – even though they’re both in denial about it. On top of this – we get to visit the Undersea, we uncover some rather massive secrets and things get very dark indeed culminating in a shocking and emotional conclusion.
Another great instalment. If you’re looking for a new urban fantasy then give this a try.
From the streets of San Francisco to the deep waters of the Undersea, Toby must face up to elements of her own inner demons as well as her past in order to save the day and prevent a terrible war. Unfortunately for Toby, not everyone wants to see her prevent the war - A war that may see Toby's own Goldengreen a target! Toby is about to have a very bad few days!
One Salt Sea beautifully expands upon the world building fans of the Toby Daye series have come to love. If you've read the previous books in this series - you need to keep going! The Toby Daye series is a thrill ride that continues to excite the imagination.
The author has created a very original "fae" type world, with some great ideas behind it - techno-druids being one of the most minor examples that sparkles on the page. A lot moves forward in this book for the overall series, as we learn things about Toby, her mother, her fetch, and other players, setting the scene for the next, and possibly last, book in the series.
For some strange reason this series hasn't really taken off in popularity, which I find very perplexing. So if you read any of the current batch of modern urban fantasy by female authors, or even if you haven't, try this - the story telling and characterisation and quality is really great: you'll thank me for it.
Book arrived in good time, and in good condition. Will us them again.