I love this series so, so, so much. Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth installment in Seanan McGuire’s Alex, Hugo, Nebula and Locus award winning Wayward Children series of novellas. In this story, we meet a brand new character and explore her origin story.
“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”
Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.
When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.
But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem…
Do you remember growing up and being absolutely obsessed with a topic? Cars, cats, dinosaurs, trains or horses? Do you remember when suddenly the things you loved became the things that made people “weird” and friend groups began to change? I certainly do, and I think a lot of other readers will as well. Across the Green Grass Fields is as much about Regan’s adventures in the Hooflands as it is about her childhood here in our world and the painful experiences of growing up in a world that demands conformity, when all the rules are ever changing and constructed by others. It’s about friendship and the value in finding friends who value you for you – and being unafraid to be yourself.
Regan is also intersex – and might be the first time I’ve ever encountered an explicitly intersex character on page. For that alone, this story is new and unique, but Across the Green Grass Fields isn’t “an intersex story” as much as any of the previous books in the Wayward series haven’t been “the fat girl story” or “the asexual story”. They’re stories featuring characters that just are, and are allowed to be, in all the glorious diversity we’ve been starved of for so long. I am not an intersex person, and cannot comment on how “accurate” the portayal is, though I have heard from several intersex folks on Twitter that they see themselves in this book. I also know the kind of care Seanan gives to her writing and development of characters, so I am excited to see how the book goes over more widely.
In Come Tumbling Down, the previous Wayward Children book, I noted that Seanan seemed to struggle with pacing and that I felt that the end just popped up and was somewhat anticlimactic and sudden. When I was 75% of the way through Across the Green Grass Fields and Regan hadn’t really begun her quest yet, I was concerned that I’d feel the same way about pacing. I am pleased to report that my fears did not come true. The ending is quick, but makes sense for the story and doesn’t feel abrupt or anticlimactic at all. It might be one of my favorite endings so far (though In An Absent Dream still reigns supreme).
Across the Green Grass Fields is the most standalone of all the Wayward Children stories – at the moment. Regan has not appeared in any of the previous novellas, and I will be very curious to see how her story intersects with the rest of them in the next book, which should take place at the school.
Across the Green Grass Fields releases on January 12, 2021. Be Sure to pick up your copy from a local bookstore near you, or online through Bookshop.org.
Middlegame is the latest release by Seanan McGuire and is absolutely amazing. You need to read it. That is all. That is my whole review. READ IT.
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
Below, is part two of my buddy read and discussion with Marzie’s Reads, and friend of the blog Janelle. ****THERE ARE SO MANY SPOILERS. If you have not read Middlegame, stop, go read it, and then come back. THERE ARE ALL OF THE SPOILERS BELOW.****** You can read Part One here.
Alex: Jumping back into the story, I really liked the cat that wouldn’t die, Old Bill. He was a great little flavor. And I really liked how we saw Roger and Dodger at different points in their lives.
Janelle: Yes! The cat!
Marzie: That was awesome with the cat, yes. It’s interesting about Roger and Dodger. You know our two oldest kids are twins. They’ve had periods of time where they’ve barely spoken for a year or more (because of fights) and then they just mysteriously reconnect. That reconnection she wrote between them, again and again, felt so real to me based on what I see with our kids.
Alex:I think people will like hearing that – I saw some questions on GR about the twin representation, and whether or not it was going to be any good. Speaking of which, did anyone notice the lack of representation in this book? Seanan is so good about that usually, that it kind of bothered me that the only rep I saw was Smita, who took their blood. Everyone else was kind of white, straight, and cis.
Janelle: I did notice that, actually.
Marzie: I thought it was a little weird, really, for her. Yes and Smita, the only POC, got Erin-ed. Yikes.
Alex: The absence was jarring, since Seanan is usually so good at making that seamless and feel like we’re in a real place with real people.
Marzie: It has to be very deliberate. But it did feel odd. Seanan never does anything by chance with her craft, so she must have had reasons for writing it without a lot of diversity.
Alex: I can’t imagine what reason she’d have for writing such a homogenous book as this. Other than she expected a lot of people would die, and didn’t want to be accused of killing all the rep off?
Marzie: And as it is, she did kill Smita.
Janelle: I’d really like to mention that the way they chose to terrify Roger into not contacting Dodger felt real enough to be heartbreaking. I felt like it happens to so many children. Not on such a high level, but I think most of us reading this have had moments of being gaslit by adults. It felt very abusive. It was one of the more real, horrific moments in the story for me.
Alex: Oh god, yes. I felt for him so deeply then. It was one of the times I cried while reading. I was crushed when Dodger didn’t seem to understand his reasons. That feeling of unfairness that you made a decision with good reasons, good intentions, but you still hurt people and your intentions don’t get you a pass was just seeping off the page.
Marzie: I had to take a break there the first time I read it. It felt like a perfect example of manipulating a child to me, after all my years doing child welfare stuff. So awful and so very real. The way adults can manipulate children with fear of losing their family is searing.
Janelle: Exactly. “If you tell what I do to you, your whole family will be taken away from you.”
Marzie: It was pretty much that, yes, and again made me think of organized religions that have abuse problems with children. That kind of power is frightening and so easily can become abusive. But as much as I cried for Roger, I felt much worse for Dodger who had no idea of what happened. Roger had his family but Dodger lost her line to the world in a way.
Janelle: I felt for both of them. It was crushing.
Marzie: So I’m really curious to see if this book has changed Seanan as a writer. Like, can she write just Seanan or just Mira in the same way now?
Janelle: I guess we’ll find out with The Unkindest Tide.
Alex: Or maybe sooner, with the Shadow of Spindrift House.
Marzie: Yes, and I was so struck by the Spindrift chapter title in Middlegame. It’s not a common word and even if there was no connection, it has me thinking that this book has percolated through both her author personas.
Alex: I totally missed that! On another note, if you could have the powers of Language or the powers of Math, which would you choose?
Janelle: God. Tough question. I’ve always felt a kinship with language, but feel so stupid about math. Part of me wants to choose math so I could see it. Intellectually, I understand how beautiful a proof can be, but I don’t get it.
Marzie: I’d choose math because it IS as language to me. It’s a universal language like music.
Alex: I am all about the language. The right language can solve so many problems. I would like to just be able to tell the universe how to be.
Marzie: But the right language is math! Trust me. Aliens speak math.
Alex: But math describes how the universe IS. I want to tell it what it SHOULD be instead. And Roger is a polyglot by the end, speaking all the languages he wants. Why should alien languages be any different?
Marzie: But human languages describe what is and what can be just as math does. And Dodger creates things with math that Roger cannot. Like more time. Math allowed her to manipulate reality in a way Roger cannot.
Alex: I am not arguing that math isn’t a language. If we follow that logic, then language powers include math powers and then you get cake and eating it too and that is beyond the point of this very silly question. 😛
Marzie: It’s not a silly question! It was certainly important to separate the two to James Reed, for instance, so….
Alex: It is because I asked it in a silly spirit 😉
Janelle: I choose math. I made my choice. When do I get to become Dodger? Isn’t that what you were offering?
Marzie: Sigh. Now Alex will just have to tell us how to remake the world and time.
Alex: *cackles* there is that. What is a gun without a trigger but a state of frustration?
Marzie: Seriously there were times reading this when I realized that I have felt like a cuckoo at times. Within my family, I mean. Maybe we are all Cuckoos.
Alex: Seanan has a serious Cuckoo theme going on right now. In the X-Men, in Middlegame, in InCryptid. She does tend to interrogate the same subjects over and over and over for a while.
Marzie: It’s a rich trope to mine!
Janelle: Now I’m picturing Seanan shining a light in some poor trope’s eyes, demanding it tell her EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. “I know you’ve still got more for me. I can do this all night.”
Alex: I mean she kinda did that in Indexing. A few times.
Marzie: Janelle that cracks me up! But yes, Alex, it’s like this is a culmination of a lot of things she’s explored in other books or comics.
Alex: It’s part of what makes Middlegame feel so familiar, and yet be still groundbreaking. If you had handed me this book blind and without context or cover and didn’t tell me who wrote it I still would have been able to tell you it was Seanan. I might have guessed Mira first, but I’d have known it was her. It’s *SO* her.
Janelle: I feel like I would’ve known her as well. The voice is more sophisticated, but it’s still her.
Marzie: Well, I’d have known from that Vixy quote, but yes, it’s unmistakably hers. So any other thoughts than, “please ma’am, some more?”
Alex: I want to shove this book into people’s hands. It’s not like Wayward where I feel that it should be required reading for every human, but it’s very good and I think people will really enjoy it once they pick it up. It’s definitely in my top 5 Seanan/Mira books.
Marzie: It’s very thought-provoking stuff to me. I really hope it’s widely read, too. I honestly think it’s one of the best things she’s written and I hold the Newsflesh books and the Wayward books in pretty darn high regard.
Janelle: There’s just so much in it. From child abuse, to sibling relationships, to love of language and math… there is a lot to process in it, and it’s told so engagingly that I think it really ought to find a wide audience.
Marzie: I have to mention that I have such love for the way she wrote Dodger and her mathematical abilities. That passage where she solves the Monroe problem and then turns around and is later suicidal because she can’t solve herself, her situation, her role. Just wow. We’re seeing so many great stories about women in science and math right now, and Dodger, even though she’s an alchemical construct, is one of these.
Alex: So are we all talked out for right now?
Marzie: Yes, because I’m busy downloading the audiobook. I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to listen to it. But Janelle, thanks so much for discussing the book with us!
Janelle: Thank you, Marzie! Any idea if you two want to do another buddy read with me again?
Marzie: I’d love to, Janelle.Alex: I am open to another buddy read, too, depending on what we choose.
Welcome to part one of the fourth buddy read of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series! For this read, I am teaming up once again with Marzie’s Reads and guest commenter and friend of the blog, Janelle.
In An Absent Dream is the fourth in the Wayward Children series of novellas if you read the books in publication order, and is now the first book chronologically, as it takes place before Down Among The Sticks and Bones. We’re reading the books in publication order for this discussion.
This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.
When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.
For anyone . . .
In An Absent Dream is my new favorite installment in the Wayward Children series.
I identify with Lundy more closely than I have with any other of the Wayward Children so far, and the Goblin Market sounds like a world I could find happiness in. The Goblin Market has rules, and if you follow those rules, you can be at home in the Market. But breaking those rules comes at a very steep cost.
The Goblin Market reminds me a lot of my own relationships with friends, not that we are transactional but that we trade off on doing things for each other. The core of our friendship is that we are both willing to give to the other in roughly equal measure. The internal logic of the Market appeals to my sense of fairness in interactions. Those who do not give fair value are punished.
I understand and empathize with what drives Lundy. While my upbringing was less restrictive than hers, I (an many other avid readers) identified strongly with her escapism through reading. I would have found the door as irresistible as she did.
I also loved the Archivist and Moon. These are the other two main characters in In An Absent Dream that add depth and richness to the Goblin Market and made me feel as though I had fallen through the door behind Lundy.
Once again, Seanan has written the words that speak to hidden parts of my soul.
Read on below for part one of our Buddy Read discussion!
Subterranean Press has done it again. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is the newest science-horror novella from Mira Grant, pseudonym of Seanan McGuire and it is bold and political and terrifying.
We live in an age of wonders.
Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.
Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.
How wrong we could be.
It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.
She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.
We live in an age of monsters.
My 4-star rating is actually an average because for this book I have two ratings. Five stars if you’re new to Mira Grant or haven’t read much from Seanan’s alter-ego. Three stars if you have read Mira Grant’s previous works and are familiar with her favorite tropes. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is Peak Mira Grant, absolutely on brand. This is a boon as much as it is a challenge.
I am an avid reader of Seanan’s and I have read nearly everything she’s written – so unfortunately I saw some of the twists near the end of the book coming.
But, that aside, Kingdom of Needle and Bone is a searing takedown of the Anti-Vaccination movement. Seanan also brings up interesting points in the bodily-autonomy and reproductive rights spheres. This book is unflinchingly political and will be loved and hated likely based on how the reader feels about those topics.
My heart broke for some of the characters and I put the book down shaken. Kingdom of Needle and Bone is unrelenting and unflinching and a terrifying view of a potential future.
I put Kingdom of Needle and Bone down and then desperately needed to discuss it with someone. So I reached out to my blog friends Marzie’s Reads and Janelle! Click on over to Marzie’s Reads for part one of our discussion. Then come back and read below for part two! SPOILERS ABOUND!
Thank you to Subterranean Press for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Welcome to part two of the third buddy read of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series! For this read, I am teaming up once again with Marzie’s Reads and guest commenter and friend of the blog, Janelle.
Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third in the Wayward Children series of novellas if you read the books in publication order, and the third book chronologically (for now). We’re reading the books in publication order for this discussion.
Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.
I think this might be the fluffiest thing Seanan has ever written. It’s a delightful story, with lots of disturbing little details that are signature Seanan, but it’s significantly lighter than most of what she writes, and I struggled with that. I particularly loved Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones, the previous two Wayward Children novellas, because they were heavy with emotional weight. Even beneath the sugary surface of Beneath the Sugar Sky I found a fluffy cotton candy core, a bit too light for me.
That’s not to say that Beneath the Sugar Sky is without emotional weight or an important story – Seanan carries on her tradition of making the Wayward Children series inclusive and the characters, both familiar and new, are diverse in myriad ways. This book might resonate more strongly for others than it did with me. In the first two stories, I saw a lot of myself in Nancy and in Jack. In Beneath the Sugar Sky, I just didn’t have that same emotional connection with any of the characters (though it only made my desire for Christopher’s story that much stronger!).
The Wayward Children series is for all of us who felt like the world didn’t quite fit us, in one way or another. Beneath the Sugar Sky is a sneaky book – a lot like Confection, it has a fluffy, sugary exterior, but when you think about it a bit more, you find a solid core hidden in the center of the story.
If you haven’t read part one of our discussion at Marzie’s Reads, click over and be sure to come back and read part two below!
Welcome to part one of the second buddy read of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series! For this read, I am teaming up once again with Marzie’s Reads and guest commenter and friend of the blog, Janelle.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the second in the Wayward Children series of novellas if you read the books in publication order, and the first book chronologically (for now). We’re reading the books in publication order for this discussion.
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.
Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.
They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.
They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones is Jack and Jill’s story as you’ve never seen it before. It’s a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway – the story before they arrived at Eleanor West’s, and oh is it a heartbreaking story.
The origin story begins with their parents – parents we can all imagine – manicured and polished, more in love with the idea of children than the actual children themselves, and that is of course, the beginning of the end.
Down Among The Sticks and Bones is a lyrical exploration of what happens to two young women when they’re finally given the opportunity to forge their own paths without the weight of parental expectation. A tale of sisters, of labels, of boxes, and the choices children make when offered an escape from the roles they’ve been forced into, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is as delightful and moving as Every Heart a Doorway was.
Seanan McGuire’s prose is wry and melancholy, a tone that pervades the entire book to haunting effect.
Read on below for part one of our Buddy Read discussion!
Welcome to part two of the first buddy read of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series! For this read, I am teaming up once again with Marzie’s Reads and a new guest commenter, and friend of the blog, Janelle.
Every Heart a Doorway is the first in the Wayward Children series of novellas if you read the books in publication order, and the third book chronologically. We’re reading the books in publication order for this discussion.
Head over to Marzie’s Reads for part one of our discussion and be sure to come back and read part two below!
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
Every Heart a Doorway is one of those books that crept up on me. The first time I read it, I thought it was nice, a good story, enjoyable enough – but then I kept thinking about it. And finding reasons to recommend it to people. And flinging copies at people. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Every Heart a Doorway is the book that everyone needs.
Starting at about 8th grade I became painfully aware of how dissonant the world is from how I feel the world *should* be. Every Heart a Doorwayembraces that feeling fully, acknowledging that for some people, our world just doesn’t fit. Every Heart a Doorway says to us “It’s okay if it doesn’t fit. It’s okay to imagine another place that does fit, and it’s okay to long for that place.” Not only does Every Heart a Doorway acknowledge this, but it also acknowledges the reality of our world by featuring a diverse cast. There are characters of color, old characters, young characters, queer characters, nice characters, mean characters, shy characters, exuberant characters and characters of many different backgrounds. Every Heart a Doorway reflects our world where so many of the books we encounter erase and ignore diversity, or include token characters to tick boxes. In this, it offers people a chance to be seen, to be represented in fiction and that is a powerful thing just by itself. It resonates deeply within us and for me, created a burning longing for a place I can’t ever go….unless I find my door.
There’s a reason Every Heart A Doorway has won just about every literary award it’s eligible for.
If you haven’t read part one of our discussion at Marzie’s Reads, click over and be sure to come back and read part two below!
Night and Silence, the 12th installment in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, is full of bombshells and might be the most explosive entry in the series to date. I don’t know what I expected from Night and Silence, but this wasn’t it. Hold onto your leather jacket folks!
Things are not okay.
In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, October “Toby” Daye’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.
What she doesn’t need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn’t need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There’s no question of whether she’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it.
Signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can’t find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price.
Two questions remain: Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain?
No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same.
Night and Silence is a book about family. Biological family, chosen family and the ties that bind us together and the lies that hold us apart. Toby’s family is fractured and she’s doing her best to hold the pieces together, but in typical Toby fashion, the edges are sharp and there’s blood everywhere.
The seeds Seanan planted way back in book one are starting to come to fruition. Questions that grew in the first few books have borne fruit and we’re finally getting answers to some of the biggest questions in the series. But as each answer is plucked from the vine, another blooms in its place.
Oh is it satisfying to finally get some answers, some resolution and to see the shape of things to come.
It’s clear that Seanan planned major plot points out carefully and early on. I can see that she has A Vision and knows where she’s going with the story. What I’m not sure about is some of her decisions on how to get from Major Point A to Major Point B. Some of the plot decisions she’s made in Night and Silence feel recycled. She did some of this in The Brightest Fell as well, and for the plot to feel recycled two books in a row was a disappointment.
As a standalone book, Night and Silence is excellent. As an entry in the October Daye series, it is one of the most important books to the plot, but is a weaker entry than I’d have liked because of the plot recycling.
Night and Silence is on shelves now wherever books are sold.
Thank you to DAW for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
I am TRASH for anything Seanan McGuire writes and Rose Marshall is no exception. I’m dying for more already.
The second book in the Ghost Roads series returns to the highways of America, where hitchhiking ghost Rose Marshall continues her battle with her killer–the immortal Bobby Cross.
Once and twice and thrice around, Put your heart into the ground. Four and five and six tears shed, Give your love unto the dead. Seven shadows on the wall, Eight have come to watch your fall: One’s for the gargoyle, one’s for the grave, And the last is for the one you’ll never save.
For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She’s been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.
The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won’t let him die, and he’s looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there’s going to be hell to pay—possibly literally.
Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker’s luck runs out?
There’s only one way to know for sure.
Nine will let you count the cost: All you had and all you lost. Ten is more than time can tell, Cut the cord and ring the bell. Count eleven, twelve, and then, Thirteen takes you home again. One’s for the shadow, one’s for the tree, And the last is for the blessing of Persephone
Bobby Cross is a mostly-off screen villain and boy do I want to run that jerk over and give him a taste of his own medicine. Stalker-dude schemes to get Rose once and for all, and if he weren’t actually good at it, it’d be comically cliche.
Rose has been dead for so long she can’t cope with the problems of the living and oh, does she describe them to us in all their squishy detail. To thwart Bobby’s schemes, and he’s got them coming and going, Rose will have to team up will familiar allies and familiar enemies. There’s a lot on the line if she doesn’t pull this off.
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown is more linear than Sparrow Hill Road, which makes sense once the story gets going. Time doesn’t mean much to the dead. Despite being more linear, it’s no less melancholy, romantic, nostalgic and full of moments both heartwarming and heartbreaking. You might want to have a box of tissues nearby.
I do have to note, I knocked off half a star in this rating because the ending was abrupt. We were truckin’ along and then suddenly there are no more pages, no more story and it was as if Seanan had slammed on the brakes, turned off the car, jumped out and run down the road with her hands in the air, leaving me stunned in the passenger seat with a minor case of whiplash.
That aside, I still LOVED the story, and am looking forward to a third book in the series (I hope, oh goodness please tell me there’s another!)
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. (Less than six months away!!!) The re/read along is newbie friendly, as we’re keeping our discussion limited to just the books we’ve read so far in the Re/Read along. We recently discussed Book #6, Ashes of Honor.
It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.
To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.
Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.
Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.
Way back in 2014 when I first read it, I rated Ashes of Honor with 4 stars, and that holds today. Ashes of Honor is a really satisfying installment in the October Daye series. For a lot of fans, it’s a favorite because a long-held wish comes true.
Toby still bleeds a lot, but she’s definitely getting better about asking for help. It’s actually a major theme in this book: biting the bullet and both asking for and accepting offers of help.
The other major theme in the book is one that carries throughout the series, but really kind of comes to a head in Ashes of Honor: family. Especially the importance of both the family you have, but the family that you’ve chosen.
I believe the title refers mostly to Etienne (though it certainly does apply to a few other characters as well). He feels as though he has behaved dishonorably and this book is his journey to rectify that. Along the way, he gains new respect for Toby and her methods. It was really refreshing to see Etienne lose some of his rigidness and disdain.
The plot zips by at a nice quick clip and Ashes of Honor is one of the easiest in the series to consume.
Come back late next month for a review of Chimes at Midnight, book #7 in the series. (Or if you can’t wait, join our discussion for that book Sunday, June 3!)