The fifth book in the series.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Running Time: 12 hrs and 39 minutes

Things are looking up for Toby: she’s settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen and her liege Sylvester Torquell even persuades her to get a squire. Toby’s squire is none other than her long-time friend Quinten who is a full-blooded elf but looks up to Toby as his mentor. Toby even has a boyfriend. However, Toby doesn’t have long to enjoy her new life, when the Sea Witch Luidaeg informs her that she wants Toby to repay all her favors. It seems that the Fairie realms might go to war. Someone has kidnapped the sons of Duchess Dianda Lorden of Saltmist and the Duchess in convinced that the Queen of Mists is behind it. Saltmist is an undersea Dukedom, and the sea and the land fae don’t have good relations, to say the least.

The Duke and Duchess are meeting with the Queen of the Mists the next day, and Toby and Connor attend the Queen’s gathering. Toby meets the Duke and the Duchess of Saltmist, who are, by the way, Connor’s lieges. After a failed assassination attempt against the Duke of Saltmist, the Duchess declares war. Finding the missing sons is the only thing that could prevent that but Toby has only three days to do it.

Ever since she was turned into a fish for fourteen years, Toby has had an aversion to water. Still, she feels for the boys’ parents and immediately starts to look for the boys. She even visits the underwater realm of Saltmist which is gorgeous.

In previous books, Toby has fought tooth and nail for her people and for innocents, and she does it here, too. Very soon after hearing about the kidnapped boys, she starts to identify with their parents and think about what she would do in a similar situation. The last part of the book is heartbreaking.

Connor and Toby are now together. Compared to the flashy and mysterious Tybalt, Connor seems rather mundane, for a selkie anyway. He also seems to be content to obey orders even if they make him, and other people, miserable, rather than try to forge his own way. This is actually a pretty common trait in humans and to me it makes Connor perhaps the most human character among all the willful fae who are determined to walk their own paths. Unfortunately, it seems to make Connor less interesting than the other characters. In this book, Connor is in a difficult place. If war does come, he should stand with the sea while Toby should stand with the land. They both have different loyalties, family, and friends. Connor is quite torn up about it and does his best to help Toby avert the war.

Tybalt and Connor snarl a little at each other but otherwise Tybalt seems to be content to act as one of Toby’s helpers. He even offers an alliance between the cat fae and Goldengreen. He’s surprisingly subdued and mellow in this book, especially compared to the way he acted in the previous book.

The large cast of character is back in full force and we get also a whole new Faerie realm. Once again, I really enjoyed the cast from Toby herself to the mad Queen who is just looking for any excuse to outcast or kill Toby.

I was a little surprised how hostile some people acted towards Toby, especially, the Duchess of Saltmist, considering that Toby was trying to find her sons. The Duchess and Duke seems surprisingly inefficient in it. I would have liked to see more of Connor’s family and friends, but the cast was really big already and I guess we didn’t really need an angry mother or sister or best friend trying to haul Connor back home :).

The Luideag has become my favorite character in the series and she’s in top form in this book. She has her own agendas and sometimes she has to bend or break the few friendships she has to do them. She’s powerful and one of the first fae ever, and she doesn’t let you forget it. But she has another side to her, too, which is revealed in this book.

Secrets are reveled, hard choices are made, and there are hints for future events. Once again, Toby’s life changes. The final chapter is especially poignant.

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