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Early Review: The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #11)

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The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire // VBC ReviewThe Brightest Fell (October Daye #11)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Sept. 5, 2017 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy 

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars 

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will contain references to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Rosemary and Rue.

Things have never been easy for October Daye. Pretty much, when things start to get quiet, it’s time to start worrying. At least this time around Toby gets to enjoy her karaoke bachelorette party (thrown by her fetch May) before all hell breaks loose.

When Toby’s absent mother, Amandine, shows up and demands Toby find her long lost stepsister August, Toby is quick to dismiss Amandine’s demands. I mean Toby owes nothing to the mother that abandoned her long ago. When Amandine takes Tybalt and May’s girlfriend Jazz as collateral to ensure Toby’s cooperation, Toby will have to turn to the last person she’d ever think of asking for help: Simon Torquill.

Simon is, as we more recently learned in the series, Amandine’s husband, therefore he’s August’s father (Toby’s stepfather), so he’s an extremely useful resource when trying to recover August, who, by the way, has been missing for one hundred years.

Simon was truly a standout character for me in this book. He’s been painted the villain from the very beginning after he turned Toby into a fish for fourteen years and ruined her life with her human fiancé and daughter. He has a chance to redeem himself somewhat here, and we learn that maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem when it comes to his past. A novella featuring Simon and Amandine would be one I’d quickly devour should Seanan McGuire choose to write one. I loved how Toby’s devotion to those she loves, and her willingness to do anything to get them back, mirrors Simon’s own experiences when he went in search of August by himself once upon a time. Simon holding on to his failures was heartbreaking to read. The Brightest Fell was not lacking on these moments, which made it one of the more tear-worthy reads in the series thus far.

The Brightest Fell deals a lot with family. I’ve been looking forward to Amandine properly showing up for a while now, and while I could have hoped for more page-time from this extremely complicated character, it definitely solidified the idea that families are not always what you’re born into. Sometimes, as with Toby, you make your own family, and we see that here when you compare Toby’s relationship with May (who despite initially being her fetch, is now her sister is all ways that matter) and the non-existent relationship with her true sister August.

The Brightest Fell was nearly perfect for me. I’d say one of the only things I’m a little disappointed about is the fact that I’m starting to dislike Tybalt being use too frequently as of late as the catalyst by which Toby is forced to solve whatever mystery is going on at present. I loved when he would lend the helping hand to Toby and I don’t think that should change just because they are now engaged. He’s a captivating and powerful character. I don’t like seeing him delegated to the background.

While I won’t tell you how things end up working out I will say that The Brightest Fell seems to set up more complications to come in the near future for Toby. I loved getting to walk back through memory lane as the history we thought we knew plays out before us, and before we embark on new uncharted territory.

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex

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