Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: This review will be spoiler free, but may contain information about the first book in the series, Rosemary and Rue.
October “Toby” Daye spent the last fourteen years of her life as a fish. Having recently been returned to her changeling state Toby was determined to leave all things Faerie behind. Unfortunately she was dragged into solving a Fae murder and thus pulled right back into her previous life.
Now, a couple of months later, Toby has retained her P.I. license. While she does work in the human world, her first loyalty is the Duke of Shadowed Hills, Sylvester. This time Sylvester needs Toby to go check on his niece January. She runs the county of Tamed Lightning. She and Sylvester speak on a regular basis and he becomes worried when he hasn’t heard from her in awhile. Figuring it is just a communication error, Toby takes Quentin, also at the behest of Sylvester, as a learning experience.
What they discover when they get to Tamed Lightning is anything but a communication error. Someone has been killing January’s employees and keeping her from contacting anyone outside of the county. As much as Toby doesn’t want to be stuck with a killer, she can’t just leave the mystery unsolved, but will she be able to keep herself and everyone else alive in the mean time?
I liked that the majority of the mystery takes place at January’s business ALH computing. This leads Toby to the conclusion that someone within the company is the murderer. It really gave Seanan McGuire room to focus on and develop the setting. Something that has, so far, made this series really good is the very changing and expanding Fae world. There is just so much that McGuire can play with and manipulate. The setting descriptions and fae lore are the strongest things in A Local Habitation.
In A Local Habitation we also get a more in-depth look at Toby’s blood magic. She has to use it repeatedly throughout the course of the story, and since she’s teaching Quentin as well, the readers get more insight about what exactly blood magic entails. In one scene Toby summons the night-haunts, the creatures that come after a Fae dies and replaces the Fae body with a replica to keep the humans none the wiser. We got a lot of background information about whom/what the night-haunts are and exactly what they do. Easily one of my most favorite parts of the book, it also becomes apparent that Toby really has some power, even being only a changeling. I’m really interested to see where that power takes her in future books.
Something that was a little irritating for me was Toby’s detective skills. Honestly, she’s trained and working P.I. yet oftentimes she wouldn’t go with her gut instincts. Of course, not everyone at ALH is being truthful with Toby, but instead of demanding answers, she seemingly ignores the obvious even when she is specifically told that information has been kept from her. One would think that she would try her hardest to find out what that information was right away, but she doesn’t. On the other hand, had Toby been more astute the mystery would probably have been solved in a few pages rather than an entire novel.
A plus about A Local Habitation is that Tybalt is featured more in this story, and I honestly can’t complain. He’s one of the more interesting and mysterious characters in the series thus far. I’ve got a hunch that we’ll see more of him as the series continues on (hopefully!).
Connor also makes an appearance as a helpful hand in the investigation. If you recall, Connor is married to Sylvester’s daughter, yet he and Toby have this weird flirtation going on. His presence stands for nothing more than to complicate Toby’s life even more. I don’t understand the attraction between them, if there even is one, so I hope this is a story thread McGuire cuts soon. I would like to see Toby have real romance. Maybe, ahem, with a certain King of Cats mentioned above.
Overall, A Local Habitation drew me in from page one and kept me drawn in throughout the entire story. I’m excited to continue reading Toby’s adventures!
Sexual content: Kissing