A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #2
Published by DAW
Published on: March 2 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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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.
When we left October at the end of ROSEMARY AND RUE, she had resumed her life as a changeling, existing to varying degrees in both the human and fae worlds. She’d gotten her PI license renewed, and things were altogether looking up for her, b/c she’d finally stopped ostriching.
A LOCAL HABITATION begins with a somewhat drunken October and a couple of her changeling friends wrapping up a girls night out.
It’s an October we haven’t seen before, I bloody love it:
“The skirt passes muster,” said Tybalt, finishing his survey. “I might have called it a ‘belt’ rather than a ‘skirt,’ but I suppose you have the right to name your own clothing. While we’re on the subject of apparel, tell me, were you intending to walk all the way home in those shoes?”
“Maybe,” I hedged. The straps were starting to chafe my ankles, making walking even less comfortable than it had been to begin with, but he didn’t need to know that.
“You’re drunk, October.”
“And you’re wearing really tight pants.”
*giggle snorts* *waves at Tybalt*
But, of course, things can’t stay pleasantly intoxicated forever, or even for more than the occasional evening, and the following morning she wakes to both a hangover and a summons from her liege.
His niece is the countess of a politically significant county in between his land and the neighboring duchy, you see, and she’s been out of contact. He’s worried, but he can’t check in on her himself without potentially creating a diplomatic incident.
Guess who can.
Oh, and here, take this manboy page with you, and teach him something, while you’re at it.
There are two reasons this is my least favorite installment in the series:
1. Tech is the antithesis to all things Fae.
Two things are said to harm Fae:
Organized religion, b/c of the typical close-mindedness that is in direct opposition to the pagan beliefs from which the Fae sprung, and iron, b/c metaphor for urban expansion destroying/polluting the natural environment of Fae.
So Fae developing tech for their own personal use . . . and a dryad, a TREE fae, thriving in an artificial environment??
2. The employees of ADH getting picked-off one by one like the cast of a horror movie.
I hate horror movies.
For a lot of reasons, but mostly b/c I’m chicken. The next biggest reason is b/c lack of character development.
Not that I blame an author—I mean, really? Why waste time on red shirts?—but all the same, that characteristic lack of development makes it feel like a lot of senseless death.
PLUS, even if there are a few of the newly introduced secondaries whom I would ordinarily like, I deliberately keep them at a distance, b/c there’s an excellent chance their days are numbered, and I don’t need the emotional trauma.
This is a problem b/c character-driven reader.
Both of those things are obviously personal preference issues. Lots of people love it when an author takes universally accepted ideas and turns them on their heads, and there is more than enough plot and accompanying twists to keep most readers happy.
And overall, I was also happy. In any series, one of the books must have the dubious honor of being the least favorite. A LOCAL HABITATION just happens to be mine. BUT. Onwards and upwards, my friends, b/c the next book—what is it about third installments frequently being the game changer in a long-running series?—is fantastic. SO. Highly recommended, if only b/c you can’t get to #3 without it.
ALSO, there’s a handy pronunciation guide in the front of the book, and the names of specific types of Fae are just fun to say . . . Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k, Lou-sha-k . . .