Review: A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye #9) – Seanan McGuire

a rose red chainThings are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

Rating: 4/5

It’s amazing how quickly a purple person can disappear when she really puts her mind to it. 

I’ve made no secret of my love for this series. Indeed, it’s one of my all-time favourite urban fantasy series – but at the same time, it’s very unlike its contemporaries in the genre. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the books are more dense – I mean that in a good way – and you get the feeling that you’re only seeing a glimpse of the detailed world the author has created.

And at nine instalments, Toby & co are still going strong. After the game-changing nature of book 8, book 9 felt more ‘relaxed’, in a way, even with all the near-death experiences and potentially horrifying consequences – but we can see the machinations going on in the background propelling the background story arcs forward. It was great to have Toby and Tybalt working together as well – it’s about the only chance they have for regular ‘couple time’!

Indeed, LET’S TALK ABOUT MY SHIP. MY SHIPPIEST OF SHIPS. TOBY/TYBALT 4EVA HEARTS IN MY EYES ETC ETC.

They communicate! (Okay, it took them a while to get there, but still!) They are realistic about each other! They screw up, and then they apologise! Oh look, a healthy relationship!

Tybalt smiled. It didn’t chase the shadows from his eyes. “True enough, and I won’t pretend the life I lived before you was somehow the lesser for your absence. There was no hole waiting for you to come along and fill it. I loved often, if not always well.” 

I’m really enjoying the character development as well.

I had turned around and called for backup. Which is maybe not a very heroic thing to do, but is definitely the sensible thing to do, and if there’s one thing my friends and allies have been pounding into my head for the past four years, it’s the need for support when I’m going into a dangerous situation. Some people call it personal growth. I call it the slowly dawning understanding that I enjoy being alive, and that it’s easier to stay that way when I have people to help me.

Seanan McGuire has a crazy good imagination. The banter and snark is always on point. She managed to make an animate rose bush seem cute, for heaven’s sake. It was great seeing our favourite side characters again, who are well-fleshed out and have their own complicated histories and connections – Quentin, Raj, May, Jazz, the Luidaeg – as well as some old foes, of course. In short, another fabulous instalment. I have high hopes for the rest of the series, however many books may be left.

“Look. October, you’re a hero of the realm. You mean something to people around here.”

“Yeah, I mean they’re about to get into trouble,” I said.

Edited 22/09/2015

Check out the first 30 minutes or so of the audible narration for A Red Rose Chain! The narrator has such a soothing voice – just the thing to counterbalance Toby’s frenetic adventures.

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12 thoughts on “Review: A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye #9) – Seanan McGuire

  1. I’ve added it, but haven’t got around to it yet. It’s funny how you can miss great books entirely (like Green Fried Tomatoes… ) I really wish I could survive on less sleep! Great review 🙂

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  2. Although I’m a huge fan of urban fantasy, Seanan McGuire AND Mira Grant, for some reason, I was never able to get into this series. It’s finally getting it’s British editions and I’ve requested copies so hopefully I’ll feel differently the second time around.

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