Continuing with Seanan McGuire Week here at Alex Can Read, I’m finally getting around to reviewing A Local Habitation, book two in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.
Over in the Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Fans group on Facebook, we’re doing a Re/Read Along as we prepare for book #12 in the series, Night and Silence, to be released in September. It’s newbie friendly, as we’re keeping our discussion limited to just the books we’ve read so far in the Re/Read along. We’ll be discussing book #3, An Artificial Night on March 11.
October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.
Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester’s realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can’t find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim.
A Local Habitation is probably the weakest book in the series, closely followed by Rosemary & Rue. From there, the series significantly picks up. If you make it through these first two books, it only gets better.
As she once again reluctantly performs her knightly duties, Toby continues to faint a lot and bleed a lot, but it took almost halfway through the book before she really started to bleed.
A Local Habitation is more claustrophobic than Rosemary & Rue because the majority of the plot is contained within the walls of January O’Leary’s tech company. The plot is a bit slow and takes a while to really heat up, but once it does we’re at a roaring boil. A Local Habitation also introduces us to some of the most interesting characters in the series. The Olsen twins and April O’Leary.
While the book is slow, the events are crucial to understanding some of the later books, so it’s definitely not skippable. On rereading, I saw so many little breadcrumbs that Seanan left for us to connect to things in later books.
Check back next week for my review of An Artificial Night, book #3 in the series. (Or if you can’t wait, join our discussion this Sunday!)