Review: Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire

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February 6, 2013 by Heidi

Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire book coverTitle: Late Eclipses [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Seanan McGuire  [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: October Daye Book 4
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: March 1st, 2011 by DAW
Format: Paperback; 372 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: This review contains spoilers for the previous 3 books in the series–consider yourself warned!

Well, I wanted answers, and this fourth installment of the October Daye series, Late Eclipses gave me them, but as is so often the case when provided with complicated answers to seemingly simple questions, more complicated questions arise.  Touche, Ms. McGuire, touche.

It seems as if the Queen of Mists has finally found a way to bestow upon Toby the favor she’s so been longing to give–a proclamation for a changeling who had the nerve to solve the Queen’s problems and take the credit she deserved.  Given no time to consider the ramifications of her new relationship with the Queen, Toby is whisked off to join another breakneck plot, one that seems to be targeting her specifically.  When Lily of the Tea Gardens falls ill, to be followed quickly by others Toby cares about deeply, Toby’s loyalties and motives fall into question.  She becomes certain that her friends are the target of an old enemy, but Faerie at large seems more inclined to blame Toby herself.

If the purpose of An Artificial Night was to make Toby come to terms with who she is morally–a hero–Late Eclipses serves to make Toby face who she is by heritage.  For several books now we have been questioning who Toby really is, because she certainly didn’t seem to be aware, and finally we are able to understand why Tybalt (and anyone else) has refused to tell her what she could not figure out for herself.  I loved that the villainous twists of Late Eclipses threw everything about Toby into question to the point that she was prone to questioning herself.  She is bombarded with doubt from all sides at a time when she had finally felt she was on solid footing after so many years of uncertainty.

However, a ploy that would have destroyed Toby when we met her in Rosemary and Rue no longer seems to have a grasp on who Toby has become.  Toby is stronger now than she was when she first returned to the world of the fae, because now she not only has friendships, she recognizes them for their power.  Toby didn’t realize in her previous life how great her support from her liege was, and now that she has a solid group who will swarm to assist her she has become much more difficult to dispose of.  Now, even when some question Toby, there are others whose stout refusal to doubt her can save her life.

I enjoyed the plot of Late Eclipses, and can see how McGuire is cleverly drawing from Toby’s past to create an ongoing struggle for future books that will be incredibly climactic.  It is sometimes hard to know where to go after you go big–and Toby’s fight with Blind Michael was huge–but harking back to Toby’s roots and drawing from a complex web of characters helps us to move smoothly forward while keeping us wholly invested.  I will admit that I’m slightly disappointed that so many of our villains seem to be villains largely because they are insane.  The fae are supposed to be incredibly cunning, tricky, and wrathful, and yet the motivations of our baddies begin to seem somewhat contrived when they’re somewhat meek and bolstered only by a rental contract for an apartment in crazy town.  I am hoping there will be a bit more development on this front in the future.

As always, I am loving the developments between Toby and her band, and it’s particularly great to have May around to bring a female voice to the crowd that actually goes out and does things.  She understands Toby better than any other character, but is wholly her own person; the ruse that they are sisters isn’t too far fetched when they have essentially shared a past.

I’m starting to get a bit impatient on the romance front, a small plot line that has always run in the background of October Daye books.  Developments in Late Eclipses have me both nervous and excited as to where Toby’s love life is going, but whether you are a fan of Tybalt or Connor there will finally be some payoff for you here.  I’m frustrated with Toby’s thought processes in regards to both these men, but remain confident that things will end up where I want them in the end.

I am so happy to finally have some answers for Toby, particularly ones that have monumental implications on the paths that are open to her.  I am very curious as to where she’ll take those in One Salt Sea–here’s hoping McGuire can outshine herself once again!

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  You bet! I’ve become a full on Toby Daye addict at this point. After which I plan to catch up on In Cryptid and then move on to Mira Grant books.

Recommended for:  At this juncture in the series, readers will either be in or they will be out.  I think Book 3 actually marked the the turning point for October Daye.

Get a second opinion:
Janicu’s Book Blog – “To me, this series just gets better and better, and this is the best installment yet.”
Fantasy Cafe – “Late Eclipses had everything I’ve come to love about the October Daye series and then some since it exceeded my expectations.  It’s a lot of fun with some very satisfying revelations and is the strongest installment in the series yet.”
Lurv a la Mode – “The series isn’t complacent, as it ups the excitement and action and development overall with each book. And that, fellow readers, is how I like it.”

I’ve also reviewed:
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye 1)
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire (October Daye 2)
An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire (October Daye 3)

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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