February 27, 2013 by Heidi
Salute Your Shorts is a regular feature here at Bunbury in the Stacks highlighting and reviewing short stories and novellas.
Title: Through This House (in Home Improvement: Undead Edition ed. by Charlaine Harris) [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Seanan McGuire [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: October Daye 4.5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: August 2nd, 2011 by Ace
Format: Hardcover; 340 pages (Through This House itself is around 20 pages).
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: Through This House takes place after Late Eclipses and before One Salt Sea. As such, there be spoilers ahead.
If there’s one way to get back at a changeling you can’t stand, it’s by bestowing her with not just a title, but a wild knowe to boot. October Daye inherited Goldengreen along with ‘Countess’, unfortunately, it’s been left fallow for several years and knowes tend to have abandonment issues. It’s Toby’s job to reclaim Goldengreen in the name of Faerie, but neither the knowe (nor its new residents) seem likely to bend to some upstart changeling’s will when they’ve been able to do as they please for so long.
Through This House is a cute little October Daye short that takes place almost immediately after the action of Late Eclipses. While it would be easy enough to skip and enjoy the overall story arch, it holds some details for us that come into play later in the game, particularly about pixies and the cruelties they have suffered at the hands of the larger fae, as well as how the quirky Goldengreen knowe comes into its own after Evening Winterrose’s death.
Presenting us with a limited, but fun cast, Through This House focuses almost solely on Toby, May, and Danny. Danny is one of my favorite of Toby’s lesser-seen sidekicks, though I’m never quite sure why the man stays friends with her–she only seems to drag him into trouble. I suppose having a sense of humor, a kind heart, and rock hard everything helps. Here we get to see Toby ‘hanging out’ with her friends in what I suppose amounts to normal for a changeling private eye with some sort of death wish.
Through This House reveals to us a part of Toby’s personality that hasn’t necessarily been highlighted before. We recognize her as having a soft spot for children, and lost things in general, but now we get to see how far those sympathies can spread. Toby recognizes what it’s like to be an unwelcome outsider in the world of the fae, and instead of bending to the will of society bristles against it to make others feel more at home.
A fun, quick read–I recommend checking out Through This House if you find the book at your local library or buying if you are interested in some of the other stories therein (all of them seem to be about home renovations of some sort), but I wouldn’t say the book is worth purchasing for this sole story.
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)
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (October Daye 4)