The Unkindest Tide: October Daye, Book 13 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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The 13th novel of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times best-selling Toby Daye urban fantasy series!
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg - October "Toby" Daye's oldest and most dangerous ally - tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can't refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren't the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg's price...or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden's brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that's when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 57 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 22, 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #71,117 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#679 in Contemporary Fantasy
#1,125 in Urban Fantasy
#2,046 in Paranormal Fantasy
Top reviews from the United States
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I was very critical of the last Toby Daye novel, Night and Silence. While I also acknowledge that McGuire and this series remain automatic reads for me, at least for a few more books, it IS a relief that there are major improvements in UT. Generally, a new environment, new exploration of Toby’s magical skills (the ability to see how a spell is constructed), and the conclusion of a major plot point (debt/Selkies), definitely makes it feel as if we’re treading new ground.
There are certainly cons as well, which are included below ****with spoilers**** and are significant enough that this rates about a 3.5/5 for me.
Pros (in no particular order with MINOR SPOILERS):
Pacing. Either McGuire or her editors pared this down to the essentials, which keeps the plot moving forward. Unlike previous books, we’re not bogged down with pages of background. When Toby references the past, it’s a concise summary. Very much appreciated.
The disbursement of debt (finally). I’m glad we no longer need to refer ominously to Toby’s accumulation of debts now that she and the Luidaeg are (basically) square. Yes, she accumulates more here - I’m really glad Simon is part of her new set of debts and I’m looking forward to that eventual book - but we can thankfully move past the Selkies, their uncertain future, and Toby’s role for at least 7 more years.
Tybalt and Jazz. One of my gripes with the last book was how clumsily Tybalt and Jazz’s trauma had been addressed. Here, They’re clearly coping (or not) in different ways, and I appreciate that Tybalt’s recovery is depicted as incrementally improving (he’s got back some of his verve) but still fragile. It’s a sensitive portrayal.
Logical inconsistencies (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS).
There were plot holes that could have been tightened up. The two that bothered me the most:
The Luidaeg explicitly told the Selkies that they could steal each others’ skins but then was shocked that the Selkies might resort to assault and murder. Seriously? You’ve given these people a hard deadline to secure their and their childrens’ immortality. Why would anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together - which the Luidaeg demonstrably has - believe this would be a civilized affair? Also: did she WANT it to be a civilized affair? My initial belief was that she laid down these ground rules purposely IN ORDER to incite a massacre the way the Roane were massacred. That would’ve been crazy (awesomely) diabolical, but it turns out she was just sloppy with her words. I understand that the Luidaeg is the all-powerful-but-not-cruel semi-goddess and we’re trying to humanize her, but she’s starting to seem toothless to me.
How on earth did Toby jump to the conclusion - with zero evidence or foreshadowing - that Torin was involved with Isla? Honest question, if I missed something, let me know. I quite literally have no idea how or why that suspicion formed.
Tybalt and October’s relationship. This might be unpopular, but I found Tybalt and October’s dynamic really unhealthy. I counted three or four times when October essentially dismissed/ignored Tybalt’s pleas to consider his feelings or his desire for her safety. And mind you, he wasn’t trying to limit her, he was asking to be factored into her decision-making.
These weren’t overbearingly chauvinistic requests , and I hate that October either became immediately defensive or outright ignored his feelings. This isn’t a model for a healthy relationship and I don’t know why I’m supposed to be rooting for this couple. Perhaps if I thought McGuire was going to address this honestly, it wouldn’t be a pet peeve, but I’m not seeing any sign of that happening. Instead, Toby hugs it out with Tybalt, stokes his hair, and placates him, but doesn’t respect him enough to take his fears/wants/desires seriously. She’s being a jerk and it’s gross.
Mainstay characters reduced to caricatures. Specifically, the previously well-drawn Quentin is now the wisecracking sidekick teen while Dean has been written as some fluttering damsel perpetually horrified by Q’s lack of gravitas and fainting everywhere. It’s irritating when October plays irreverent ad nauseam and it’s equally so here. If you’re going to write a primary character badly or feel like you don’t have the space to do them justice, write them out of the instalment. It’s not like I was missing Sylvester, or even May, for that matter.
Ambivalent: Gillian and Raj’s short story. I despise Gillian, so the fact that I’m ambivalent about her presence in UT either means my tolerance has risen, my standards are lower, or she was slightly more likeable. Hard to choose. Raj’s short story was welcome, but not enough to add (or detract) a star from UT.
Ultimately, I recommend this book with caveats. I mean..UT is $13. Night and Silence is now ~$8. If you’re hesitant and not in a huge rush, then wait for the price to drop. I’m not yet at that point, but it’ll be a factor in the future if the next books are in the 2-3 star range.
There are improvements where it counts - and probably more than I’m listing above - although the ‘cons’ on this list REALLY irked me (and it wasn’t an exhaustive list either). I think it’s up to each reader to decide whether this worth the immediate investment.
Very interested in hearing others’ thoughts.
Edit: I should add that the cost bears some responsibility for my ending here. Lately I've had to abandon purchasing several beloved authors - ones who have series like this one that I've followed for years - because of the cost. I did not purchase hardcover books before Kindle because I couldn't afford them. Now some Kindle prices are approaching what hardcover books used to cost. If this book had been amazingly good, like the first many books in the series, I might have ignored my irritation over the cost, even though it meant not purchasing other books I wanted, in order to continue the series. Since it is so pricey, and since I didn't care for this book and didn't love the previous one, I'll end it. I'm glad for the years that I had to read the series, because it was really good for many years. If you haven't read the series, I highly recommend doing so, but be aware that this is one series that may not continue to entertain as well after a certain point.
#1. Price is too high, losing the reason to have a Kindle for me, esp. since the quality of the stories are dwindling. From now on I will wait till there are enough reviews to read, before considering paying $12.99 for the latest release.
#2. Way too much rehashing of previous stories to explain the present things that are happening. Please put whatever info is pertinent in a forward, or whatever format is appropriate. Having to skim multiple pages thru out the book kills the enjoyment.
#3. This book feels like a mish-mosh of ideas from previous ones, and the characters are mostly thin and disappointing, compared to before. Tybalt is but a stick figure and sycophant (so far gone from what made him an irresistible character), whose main job is to beg Toby to reconsider her ridiculous schemes. Toby's virtual indestructibility has become ludicrous, as her latest unbelievable atrocious injuries illustrate. You can only rely on this as a plot device so many times before it becomes useless. Rejuvenating blood donations can only suspend belief for so long.
#4. It seems like the author has lost her enthusiasm for the story, or just really needed to get this one over with, obligation wise. It's time to move on, at least for me.
Top reviews from other countries
Everyone knew that the day would come that the Luideag, the Firstborn Seawitch, would call in the debts owed to her. And now it’s time for Toby to pay up and make them even again. And the fae race of the Selkies, who came into life by killing the Luideag’s decendant race, the Roane, also have to finally pay for the crimes their ancestors did to the witch.
So Toby and a part of her usual gang join the Luideag on a enchanted ship and the adventure on the ocean begins.
As usual, Toby bleeds a lot, does her cool hero thing and has actually one of her best ideas ever, but: no spoiling the good stuff. But although I love October to death, this is the Luideag‘s story, even if she is away for a good part of the book. The things she said were so wonderfully written that I read them over and over.
Aside from the flawless world and character building, there is another story arc of this series coming to an end and in a exciting way. Added to that, there is one future job for Toby announced that is surely going to be another great hero’s story and a few ominous sentences are uttered that promise more twists and turns in the series.
If you’ve read any of my other „Toby Daye“ Reviews, you know that I’m a fan of the series, so you have to take that into account. But in a sea of mediocre urban fantasy books, these really are just plain goodness.
I also loved the novella at the end, from Raj’s point of view. I thought there was some great character development there, and growth. He’ll make a great King of Cats. I also liked that there was a non-binary character who was accepted by everyone, and treated with the same respect as anyone else.