Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011

The second book in Vaughn’s urban fantasy series. It’s my last book in the Horror and Urban fantasy challenge and one of the books in my Take A Chance Challenge, number 7. I went to the What Should I Read Next page, put in Pride of Chanur by Cherryh and the page recommended Vaughn’s whole series. I don’t think they’re actually similar, though.

Publication year: 2006
Format: print
Page count: 321 plus a bonus short story Kitty meets the band
Publisher: Orion

After the end of the previous book, Katharine ”Kitty” Norville is staying on the road. She’s still doing her talk show on Friday nights, The Midnight Hour, and talking about various supernatural phenomena. She’s doing the show from a different city every week. Then she’s called to testify in front of the US Senate because they are investigating the Center for the Study of Paranormal Biology. So, Kitty drives to Washington, D. C.

There two hulking Men In Black take her to meet the local Vampire Master, or Mistress in this case. Alette is courteous but firm; the local lycanthropes are running wild, Kitty is Alette’s guest, and she will protect Kitty from her own kind. Kitty isn’t thrilled about it but doesn’t have a choice. She moves into Alette’s house instead of a hotel. Alette plans for her minion to always escort Kitty but Kitty slips out on her own to do some sightseeing. She’s also invited to parties. In one of them, she meets a werejaguar and is instantly attracted to the handsome Brazilian man. Through him, Kitty explores D.C.’s relaxed werecreature community.

But it’s not all fun. The Chair of the Senate committee is a paranoid religious Senator who wants to expose all ”the monsters” to the public. The head of the Center, doctor Paul Flemming, is another witness and Kitty finds out about his military background. A couple of old enemies are also in town. Not to mention all of the reporters…

I liked this book a lot more than the first one. Kitty is away from her former toxic werewolf pack and the dangling plot lines from Kitty and the Midnight Hour get conclusions, sort of. Vaughn can continue them if she wants to but it’s not necessary. I also really enjoyed the start of the book where Kitty does a brief literary analysis of Dracula: ”But what it’s really about is saving the world through superior office technology.” The callers are also very entertaining.

There are a lot of interesting characters in the book. I loved the way Kitty’s mom calls her every Sunday to catch up. Kitty’s lawyer Ben is a solid ally who does his best to protect Kitty’s interests. Originally, Kitty is afraid of Alette and also admires her style. Several people serve Alette and Kitty asks them straight out if they know that she’s a vampire. Turns out that they do; their families have served her for a long time. Also, Alette doesn’t use them against their will or oppress them. Emma is working through collage while serving Alette, and Tom and Bradley, the two MIB chauffeurs, turn out to be rather normal people, after all. I also rather enjoyed the professional psychic and the reporter who grew up with supernatural tales.

The werecreature pack is set up very differently than Kitty’s old pack and it was a revelation to her, and of course to us readers, that there can be a pack without constant jockeying for power and the alpha position. This makes sense, of course, because most people aren’t powerhungry jerks.

Kitty and the werejaguar Luis have a fling. Neither pretend that it’s more than that and it was great to see Kitty more relaxed and enjoying her life. There’s no huge proclamations of love or anything like that. Great!

Kitty has done a lot of growing up since the start of the first book. In a conflict situation her first instinct is still cowering and looking meek, but she can be more aggressive, when needed. She has a lot of guilt from the events in the previous book, which is understandable. The psychic helps her through them which I considered a bit too fast but I’m sure most readers don’t like Kitty dwell on her feelings.

The plot isn’t a roller coaster ride but moves in a good pace. There’s an air of tension about the Senate hearing because they could theoretically declare all werewolves and vampires non-humans and non-Americans. However, I wasn’t really convinced that would happen and I don’t know if that would have really changed anything. So, for me at least, there wasn’t a huge doom and gloom tension.

This was a great continuation to Kitty and the Midnight Hour; in fact I think I would have been happier reading them back to back.

In the short story Kitty meets, on her show, the band Plague of Locusts. The bass player is apparently possessed by a demon. Nice one.

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.

The fourth book in the urban fantasy series about October Daye.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Running Time: 11 hrs and 51 minutes


Toby’s life in far from normal because her fetch is her roommate and one of her closest friends is a bridge troll/taxi driver. So she’s not surprised when she’s called to attend the court of the Queen of the Mists, whom we haven’t seen since the first book. The Queen seems to be mad and has a grudge against Toby. So, Toby is quite surprised when the Queen appoints her the Countess of Golden Green, the Now which belonged to Toby’s friend, Evening Winterrose, before she was murdered. No other changeling has her or his own Now. However, Toby is sure that making her a Countess isn’t a favor, but a very clever ploy. But before Toby can solve that riddle, she hears that her good friend Lily is very ill.

Lily is the ruler of her own faerie Now and she’s a being composed of water, an Undeen, so she shouldn’t be sick at all. Toby and her friends rush to help her. Toby thinks that the water in the now must be tainted but she and her friends can’t find any evidence of that. Then one of Toby’s other friends falls ill and Toby is convinced that Oleander de Merelands is behind it all. Oleander was there, laughing, when Toby was changed into a fish for fourteen years so Toby has a personal grudge against her. Oleander is also one of the most dangerous and demented faeries around.

Once again, pretty much every character (alive) from the previous books returns which I enjoyed greatly since I like most of them. Tybalt, the King of Cats, has a significant role and I’m really curious to see what going to happen next with Toby and Tybalt. I still don’t trust Tybalt one bit but he’s always entertaining and, of course, because Toby is still a changeling, their relationship would be very, er, challenging. Tybalt is quite entertaining on his own, too.

We also got to see Sylvester in action more than in the previous books. We’re told a couple of times that he used to be a hero and even since then I’ve been curious to see more of him. Also, he has to face a lot of sorrow in this book which seems a bit unfair. (How about a spin-off book about Sylvester? That would be fun!)

I was sorry to see Lily go, as I rather liked her, but I think that when her instant healing abilities aren’t around to help Toby, things might get more dangerous for her. Also. Lily was one of the few faerie who isn’t predatory towards changelings. She has taken quite a few under her wing and now they are in essence orphans. Of course, Toby is going to take them in so she’s going to have more people to protect than ever so things going to be interesting for her. One of the major characters is new, Walter, who is one of Lily’s people and a teacher in the local university. He’s also a kind of modern day alchemist and eager to find out what has happened to Lily.

This time we get to know a lot of stuff about Toby’s past. This was great and I can’t wait to see the repercussions! Late Eclipses uses a lot of people and plot lines from the first book and that was great. We finally get to know, sort of, what happened to Luna and Racheline (spelling?) in their captivity and even Toby’s mother makes an appearance. This is all great for those of us who don’t care for the love triangle and instead want to get on with the story. 😉 We also get to know things about other people’s past, such as Toby’s mother!

Once again, McGuire blends action, humor, and pretty dark themes excellently. However, there’s again an air of tragedy on the story. Terrible things happen to a lot of people and some characters blame it on Toby. She comes face to face with the reality that even though she’s done great things to a lot of people, some resent her and blame her. No matter what she does, it never seems to be enough to some people. Without the comedic elements, this book would be very dark.

A great continuation to the series!

Superheros and zombies! The first book.

Publication year: 2011
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrators: Jay Snyder and Khristine Hvam
Running Time: 8 hrs and 03 minutes

I don’t know if these books can be categorized as fantasy (but they clearly aren’t realism!) but they have zombies and the occasional horrific moments so I’m adding this one and the Ex-Patriots into the RIP challenge and the Horror and Urban Fantasy challenge.

The first book in the series has pretty much the same style than the first except that this time we get a lot more descriptions of the main characters.

The zombie apocalypse ended the world about two years ago. A group of surviving humans is holed up in Paramount Studios which they’ve built into a fortress, called the Mount. Their leaders are superheroes and the people rely on the heroes a lot. The most organized hero is the mysterious Stealth and her right hand man is St. George whom the people look up to. Zzzap can turn into electricity but he has to the keep the Mount’s power going so he spends most of his time in an electric chair doing just that. Gorgon acts as the small town’s sheriff, organizing the watch over the undead hordes outside the gates and keeping order inside. Cerberus is a battle armor and its designer is using it as part of the security team.

St. George and Cerberus lead a group of people to a scavenger hunt to nearby LA. They defend themselves against the ex-humans but mostly they try to sneak around. However, they soon notice that someone has been piling cars and the ex-humans shouldn’t be able to do that. On the way back, the group is ambushed by the biggest human gang in LA. The gang wants the Mount’s resources and their leader has a personal grudge against one of the heroes.

The plot moves fast with fights and twists. Every chapter has a part called “Then” written from the POV of an individual hero and set in the past; how he or she got their powers, why they decided to become heroes, and how some of them witness the first zombie uprisings. These stories introduce the heroes to us in a way that couldn’t have been done in the main story without a lot of exposition. I really liked the technique. The heroes are quite different from each other. St. George is the Superman analogue who wants to save everyone while Stealth is a ruthless woman who is willing to sacrifice a few for the common good. Gorgon is a hardened man who waged his own war against the gangs of LA before the apocalypse. He has an interesting power: when he looks at someone, he drains their energey and become stronger himself. That’s why he has to wear goggles all the time when he’s not in battle. Danielle operates the Cerberus armor whom she designed and built. Regenerator has lost his former healing powers and his wife, and he doesn’t have any hope for the future. Zzzap is perhaps the most powerful hero; he can turn into pure energy. However, he also has to power the Mount and when he’s in his human form, he needs a wheelchair. We also get a few stories from heroes who didn’t survive.

I have only two gripes. The heroes are described more than in the next book and there’s a lot of focus on Stealth’s outfit. Apparently, she has a literally skintight, thin costume and although it covers her completely every male drools after her. Was that really necessary? Don’t we have already enough female heroes who are nothing but hot bodies? Do they have to be in the books, too? Sigh. Her rather cliched background doesn’t help the situation. My other gripe is the weird shift in mob mentality. One minute they are adoring their heroes and the next they are willing to believe that the heroes have betrayed them. This feels like quite a quick shift.

Otherwise, I liked this story as much as I liked the next one, Ex-Patriots, which I listened accidentally first. The heroes are facing a huge problem and they are doing the best they can. However, people are getting restless inside the Mount, where they are safe but where they also don’t have much to do. The heroes work surprisingly well together, even Gorgon who was a loner before.

There’s a lot of action in the book, fighting the ex-humans. The heroes have also a couple of scientists working on the zombie problem and we get to know the pseudo science behind it.

The book has a lot of pop culture references. For example, one of the buildings in the Mount is called the Roddenberry, one of the characters is called Jarvis, Lady Bee wonders if Spider-Man could beat St. George, and Stealth is compared to Batman. The fighting humans also have a contest about killing celebrities and we find out about the gruesome fates of a few famous actors.

The two narrators work the same way as in the next book. Snyder narrates most of the book and Hvam narrates the dialogue for female characters. She also narrates the “Then” parts when the focus is on a female superhero with Snyder reading the male dialogue. I liked this technique but it’s not for everyone.

Oh, and this book is all fluffy fun. If you’re looking for weightier content, this is the wrong book for you.

Superheroes and zombies!

Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Jay Snyder and Khristine Hvam
Running Time: 11 hrs and 32 minutes

Two years ago zombies overran the Earth and society as we know it collapsed. Now, a couple of thousand survivors are holed up in a fortress called the Mount which they have built from a former film studio on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The Mount is lead and protected by a small group of superheroes. St. George is strong, very durable, can fly, and breathe out fire and smoke. He used to be called the Mighty Dragon and he was one of the most famous heroes before the collapse. Stealth is a mysterious woman who can fight really well, move silently, and turns herself invisible in her suit. She’s also a great strategist. Then there’s Zzzap who can change into pure energy form. In his human form, he’s in a wheelchair and he doesn’t get a miracle cure. Also, when he’s in his energy form, he uses up his own energy reserves which are limited. Danielle is a scientist who was working on a battle armor called Cerberus. Now, she’s using it to keep others, and herself, safe. However, Cerberus isn’t as flexible as the Iron Man armor; it takes about an hour for Danielle to get into and other of it, and that was a great touch of realism.

The book starts with a humorous episode where St. George gets a haircut, which isn’t easy because of his almost indestructible state, and the population celebrates USA’s Independence Day. It downplays the horror aspects of the situation.

Then a small group led by St. George and Cerberus heads out to LA to gather any possible supplies. To my surprise, only a few of the local Marines are in the group. They shoot down any zombies that gets too close and continue their ongoing competition in who can kill the most famous people. This again downplays the horror.

Some of the people at the Mount are expecting the rest of surviving humanity to rescue them. Some are convinced that they are the last survivors. However, when a drone plane flies over the Mount, both groups are surprised, some pleasantly and others not so much. St. George sends Zzzap to investigate and he confirm that the drone belongs to a group of US soldier. However, after two years of isolation, can the groups trust each other?

There are a lot of different people at the Mount. Some of them are ordinary people but there is a Marine base, too. Apparently a gang, the Seventeens, started the zombie apocalypse and some of the gang members are now in the Mount but they aren’t exactly trusted. Christian was a member of the local government and she resents the power that the superheroes have. She’s agitating for an election. I was expecting her to have a more prominent role but she didn’t. I can’t help but to think that the heroes should have giving her a role in the new governing structure.

There are a lot of pop culture references in the story. For example, one of the buildings in the Mount is called the Roddenberry, Zzzap laments that he’s never going to know how Lost ends, and when the scavengers are given armor, they say they should be in the Lord of the Rings. Yes, it’s cheesy but I liked it.

The characterization is surprisingly good. The people have come somewhat used to the situation and are using humor to make things bearable. However, Danielle has been so traumatized that she doesn’t feel safe outside the Cerberus armor and refers to herself as “tiny, helpless woman”. She’s a scientist and an engineer, just like Tony Stark. St. George is a clear analog to Superman and Stealth is an analog to Batman. Apparently, they are romantically involved, sort of, but Stealth keeps St. George, and everyone, at an arm’s length. There are also several super soldiers who are trying to do the right thing. I was delighted that the female character aren’t shown just as accessories or possible romances to the males or as hostages. Stealth uses a suit that covers her up completely and the Cerberus armor isn’t gendered (no pointy breasts here!). Even though Stealth is quite underpowered compared to St. Gorge and Zzzap, she’s competent and more than holds her own in a fight.

Most humans aren’t comfortable calling the undead zombies, so they are often called “ex-humans” or exes.

Some of the heroes got their powers accidentally, much like most of the heroes in the DC universe. However, most of the secondary super powered characters are soldiers who got the powers through a US government program. The zombiefication seems to be a virus that is spread through biting.

The chapters have been divided between “Now” and “Then”. The Now chapters follow St. George and his group in third person. The “Then” chapters each have a different narrator and some of them are set in the time before the zombie apocalypse and some after it but before “Now”. These chapters are in first person. They showcase characters who are in the current storyline but don’t get a POV which is a great way to give more insight into them and getting a bit more sympathetic POV to characters who aren’t sympathetic in the other story line. Near the end of the book, we get POV chapters from the villains, too. This structure worked really well for me.

The audio book has two narrators: Jay Snyder is what I’d say the dominant narrator; he narrates the Now chapters, no matter if the POV character is male or female, and the various male characters’ dialogue. Khristine Hvam narrates female dialogue except in “Then” chapters which are narrated by a female character. Then Hvam narrates the chapter except for male dialogue which Snyder narrates. I’ve listened to both of them with other books and I liked them. However, I was really impressed how well they worked together. I haven’t listened before an audiobook with two narrators but at least here it worked really well for me.

The Audible book has a bonus short story at the end which runs about an hour. Codependent is about Holly who is surviving alone among the ex-humans. Then she meets up with another woman who claims not have been infected with the zombie virus. For me, this story was more horrific than the main story. The zombies, called junkies this time, seem to be somewhat different than in the main story. For example, they can speak a little and fight amongst themselves over food.

Oh, I’ve just realized that this was the second book in the series. Well, I’m certainly getting the first one!

Third in the Dark Days fantasy series. It continues right after the end of the second book, “Dayhunter”.

Publication year: 2009
Format: print
Page count: 372
Publisher: EOS

After the climatic ending of the previous book, Mira has had a little breathing space. She returned to her current home town, Savannah, to gather strength for the next conflict between herself and the naturi. However, the naturi followed her home. They attack her and her underling vampires, and also use the local werewolves which throws the lycans into a disarray. Barrett, the leader of the local werewolf pack starts to accuse Mira and wants to drive her away because Barrett believes that when Mira leaves, the naturi will follow her. In fact, Mira is going to leave soon to Machu Picchu where the naturi will try to bring their queen to Earth in just a few days. Unfortunately, the naturi have kidnapped one of Mira’s closest underlings and she is adamant that she will find Amanda before she leaves. She has to beat the werewolves into giving her the time she needs.

Meanwhile, Danaus returns with an Earth witch. In the previous books Mira found out that she can sometimes sense and use Earth magic which no other vampire can do. She wanted someone to guide her in it and Danaus found the one Earth witch who is willing to teach the legendary Fire Starter. Mira is suddenly dubious but agrees to let Shelly, the witch, to tag along.

When Danaus, Mira, Shelly, and Mira’s underling Knox are freeing Amanda from the clutches of the naturi, they also find someone else: a naturi Princess who is being held prisoner by her own kind. Mira is both eager to use her as a bargaining chip but also suspicious of her sudden, and quite convenient, appearance.

The plot is again very fast-paced: the naturi attack quite often and increasingly desperately because they are trying to stop Mira from reaching Machu Picchu. We get to see some familiar characters from the previous books and also a few new ones, Shelly and Cynnia, the naturi princess. Shelly is an Earth witch and she’s so cheerful person that Mira is willing to send her back the moment they meet. However, Shelly is willing to help Mira and her gang to fight the naturi. Cynnia claims that she doesn’t want the war between humans and the naturi, and that is why she’s been taken a prisoner.

The inclusion of Cynnia brings in another character whom Mira can’t trust. Through Cynnia we also learn more about the naturi who up to now have been pretty much a faceless mass of enemies, except for their leader Rowe.

At the start of the book we meet familiar characters from the first book: Amanda, Knox, and Barrett. We also get to see Mira more in a leadership role in her own domain. She has a few trusted police officers and even a coroner who can mop up the bodies of naturi and other supernatural creatures before the press gets them. Mira seems to have a quite an efficient machinery going on. She’s clearly the leader of her community. She also casts aside her protestations of being a loner and starts her own vampire family.

The book wraps up the naturi storyline with epic fight scenes. There is a chance of continuing it and most of the subplots are left wide open, but the conclusion is satisfying.

Second in the Dark Days fantasy series. It continues right after the end of the first book, “Nightwalker”.

Publication year: 1993
Format: print
Page count: 368
Publisher: Harper Voyager

The six hundred year old vampire and Fire Starter Mira is back. After the battle in London, at the end of the previous book, she, Danaus the vampire hunter, and a young vampire called Tristan travel to Venice where the leaders of the vampires live. The Coven has summoned Mira to answer for what she has done and also to discuss the returned threat of the naturi. Much to her surprise, the Coven has already struck their own bargain. Many of the nightwalkers in Venice want to kill Mira so she has to be constantly on guard against the others of her own race. Those that don’t currently want to kill Mira, want to manipulate or control her and use her as a weapon against the naturi. She has very few allies.

Mira says all the time that she’s a loner and doesn’t want a family. For a loner, she sure has a lot of people around her! In addition to Danaus, who is there just to hunt the naturi, who are a bigger threat to humanity than the vampires, there’s Gabriel, Mira’s human bodyguard, and now Tristan, a young vampire whom Mira promised to rescue from his sadistic maker. Also, Mira acquires another follower, a werewolf, in this book. She has a lot of people to protect not just from the dastardly naturi but also from other nightwalkers. In order to protect them and her own standing, she has to intimidate and fight other vampires, including her own makers. In fact, most of the book concentrates on nightwalker politicking, intimidation, and posturing.

Right at the start, we get to know some more about this world’s nightwalkers and later we find out just what Danaus is. Hopefully, that will be explored more. Mira and Danaus also have a few philosophical talks about just what makes a person evil but Danaus still has no qualms about killing vampires. Apparently, a lot of readers want Danaus and Mira to end up together, but I don’t. I think they are far more interesting as reluctant allies who have agreed to kill each other after they’ve destroyed the naturi together. However, they now have a mental connection to each other and I strongly suspect that the are going to get together no matter what. We also get to know some more about the organization that Danaus works for. I also enjoy their status as reluctant, almost perhaps dependable allies.

We also get to know more about the other supernatural races in this world. I was very intrigued to find out that even though the supernatural elements are in hiding currently, they have a time table for revealing themselves to the world. In order to prepare the humans properly, the werewolves, witches and others own companies that produce propaganda for them, in other words, TV-shows, movies, and books that make the supernatural creatures look cool and good guys to the world at large. That’s hilarious!

Mira has a lot of guilt and regrets from the previous book so she wasn’t as sure of herself and confident as before. However, when she’s in a fight, and there are a lot of fight scenes in this book, she’s focused on fighting. She’s still a very powerful and enjoyable main character.

Oh, and the vampires in this series are evil. They enjoy torture and they create new vampires who are deliberately left powerless so that the older ones can torture the new ones and eventually kill them. There are a few nigtwalkers who have a more philosophical outlook but even they want to manipulate the people around them. In fact, Mira seems to be the only one who doesn’t want to manipulate everyone around her all the time.

A great continuation to the series. My only complaint is that the main plot didn’t advance much.

My newest review: Walter Greatshell’s Xombies: Apocalypso.

The third book in the horror/satire series. I rather like the series and gave this one four stars from five.

My newest review: Sarah Jane Stratford’s Midnight Guardian.

It’s a new vampire series set during the second World War. I rather liked it, especially some of the characters, and I gave it four stars from five.

The third book in the October Day fantasy series. I thought it was best in the series.

Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal
Running Time: 12 hrs and 32 minutes

How many miles to Babylon?
Three-score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, there and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You will get there by candle-light

October Day is a half-blooded Daoine Sidhe and a private investigator. This time her story starts a bit mellow. She goes to a four-year-old boy’s birthday party; his mother Stacey is a good friend of Toby’s. Then things start to go down hill, a lot and fast.

Toby’s Fetch shows up. A Fetch is a death omen; she or he looks exactly like the target and when the target dies, he or she will escort the target to the afterlife. However, there’s no way to know when the target dies. Toby is, of course, upset.

Then Stacey tells Toby that two of her kids have vanished and one is sleeping so soundly that she can’t be awakened. Toby investigates, of course. Then she finds out that other fae kids and some humans kids have vanished, too. She finds out that a very old and terrible fae called Blind Michael, the leader of the Wild Hunt, is responsible. He gathers a new hunt every hundred years. Toby is determined to get the kids back.

Most of the book is set in the faery lands. Blind Michael’s lands are not easy to get into and Toby has to get there. This involves old children’s rhymes and the three roads have each strict conditions.

This book has pretty nightmarish side to it with kids being kidnapped and what is being done to them. And what Toby has to do to save them. But there’s also humor in the characters and some situations. It has the funniest car chase scene I’ve ever read. And Danny the bridge troll/taxi driver who adopts a litter of barghests who are small dog sized poisonous creatures

All of the established (alive) characters are seen again. The Sea Witch tells Toby that she’s going to kill her at some point but at the same time she is a sort of teacher and adviser to Toby. Toby’s liege lord has a lesser role than in the previous books but he stops by.

The Fetch, May Daye, is a fun new character. She looks like Toby and her personality is molded after Toby’s but she’s her own person. She also has her own rules to deal with. For example, she shouldn’t help Toby in any way. Also, while she has Toby’s memories, she doesn’t necessarily have her skills. For example, it’s a bit different to watch someone drive a car and do it yourself… If she sticks around, she’s like to become even more distinct character from Toby.

We also get to know more about one of the established characters and I enjoyed that.

On the other hand, I felt that Tybalt was out of character. In the previous books, he’s been interested in Toby and even protective of her, but now when the Fetch shows up, Tybalt is incredibly blasé about it. It was mentioned that Toby hadn’t seen him for a couple of months, so I guess he has a new lover or something. Connor seems to be increasingly interested in Toby but he’s still not capable of divorcing his lunatic wife. Too bad.

Also, there’s a lot of repetition. That’s often part of the myths that McGuire draws on but it may not work so well in modern stories. And once again, the existing mysteries of Luna’s kidnapping and King Oberon’s continued absence are left unresolved.

The next book in the series isn’t available from Audible. Sigh.

Next Page »