After spending fourteen years lost to both the fae and mortal worlds, only to be dragged back into Faerie by the murder of someone close to her, October "Toby" Daye really just wants to spend a little time getting her footing. She's putting her life back together.
Unfortunately, this means going back to work for Duke Sylvester Torquill of Shadowed Hills, doing her duty as a knight errant. That isn't the sort of thing that exactly lends itself to a quiet existence, and before she knows it, Toby's back on the road, heading for the County of Tamed Lightning in Fremont, California to check on Sylvester's niece, January.
Things in Tamed Lightning turn out to be a lot stranger than they seemed at first glance, and Toby's talent for finding trouble isn't doing her any favors. With Quentin—a young foster from Sylvester's Court—in tow, and the stakes getting higher all the time, it's up to Toby to solve the mystery of Tamed Lightning, or face a failure whose cost will be too high for anyone to pay.
Since I don't want to give anything away in terms of plot (it will definitely keep you guessing!), I'll focus on characters. Toby Daye is fast becoming one of my favorite heroines in urban fantasy. Toby's trying to piece her life back together at the start of A Local Habitation, but she's still broken, still recovering from the tragic losses she's had to endure. Toby is witty, sarcastic, tough, and no nonsense, yet she has a softer side - she takes care of the people she's responsible for. And she's loyal to her friends. I feel for her. I'm hoping she'll find happiness and love (with Tybalt! I love him) and I'm rooting for her to find and punish the guys responsible for ruining her life.
In addition to the mystery surrounding the dead bodies piling up in Tamed Lightning (I thought I knew who the culprit was, but I was wrong), A Local Habitation goes deeper in the relationships between Toby and the men in her life. We get to see a little more of Duke Sylvester Torquill, her liege lord, in action, and it's apparent the Duke's son in law and Toby's former flame, Connor, still has feelings for her. And he's a good guy. I understand why Toby still has feelings for him. Tybalt makes several appearances (yay! I love him) and the snarky dialogue exchanges between him and Toby are priceless. We also learn a lot more about Quentin who steps up and learns to be a hero under Toby's guidance.
A Local Habitation doesn't have the same non stop action, danger-at-every-turn pace that I loved in Rosemary and Rue (there is still plenty of action and suspense). There's more dialogue this time around. And some pretty stubborn new characters - I wouldn't blame Toby if she punched a few of them. But this second novel in the October Daye Series delves deeper into the world of faerie, and readers have the opportunity to learn more about the world, politics, and culture. And world-building is definitely one of Seanan McGuire's strengths. The way she writes it, I wouldn't be surprised if there was an underground faerie world in San Francisco or if she was a part of it (okay, maybe I'd be a little surprised).
I still want to know more about Toby's daughter and her ex husband. I'm hoping to see them in one of the next books (An Artificial Night comes out September 2010!). And I'm hopelessly in love with Tybalt (um, did I mention that yet?), so I'm holding my breath to see what happens with him and Toby as this series progresses.
The October Daye series has easily become my favorite faerie urban fantasy series. Toby is the kind of kick butt heroine I can admire, relate to, and root for. This series is best read in order, so if you're interested pick up Rosemary and Rue and keep an eye out for A Local Habitation in March (or check back tomorrow for your chance to win a copy of the ARC)!
Check out Seanan McGuire's website!