by Seanan McGuire
Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches.
Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.
Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.
As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.
Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.
5 out of 5 stars
Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire stars changeling October “Toby” Daye who is back in her eponymous series, entangled in the oh-so-regimented brawl over what is going to be done with the cure for elf shot. Dealing with the war of manners and jockeying for power is frustrating, but she never wants to enliven the proceedings by having to investigate a murder and threats to allies and enemies alike. There are too many who are vulnerable and precious to her, but Toby is willing to use whatever tools are at hand to defend and protect those she cares for—the challenge is avoiding the destruction of the fae society while she does so.
This is an exciting fantasy tale that keeps one on the edge of the seat while marveling at the complexities that seem perfectly logical within the framework of the book. I love the twist on certain staples, including Oberon’s role in fae society and the concept of elf shot. The intricate politics and multiple factions jockeying for power are brought to life by the different forms that are involved (although I found myself consulting the pronunciation guide frequently, lol) and it was fascinating to consider the power of the Caith Sidhe due to the ability to slip through shadows.
Part of this author’s charm is her ability to create sympathetic characters who act within their obligations and whose actions are appalling but understandable. The intricate politics and jockeying for power is on a level that is disconcerting and ruthless but makes sense within the framework of the story. The immersion into this society is mesmerizing and the intensity of the drama that is playing out keeps one spellbound into the night, as unexpected events keep one from being able to facilely predict the outcome of the deadly dance being described. There are a plethora of characters and plenty of backstory that is important but I still was able to appreciate this story without, unfortunately, being caught up on the entire series.
There is a bonus novella also included that expounds upon an event that is anticipated but not quite achieved in the main story. It allows us to see a bit more of Arden Windermere’s character and background, as reflects on her ability to rule, and also demonstrates more of the author’s wry humor that blends fictional elements from current popular culture with traditional fictional elements.
This title was provided to me for review, a version of which was submitted to Night Owl Reviews