Review: A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #9)


A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire // VBCA Red-Rose Chain (October Daye #9)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Sept. 1, 2015 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

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

Out of all the fictional heroines I’ve read about I’d have to say Seanan McGuire consistently puts October Daye through worse situations than most. As much as the drama, action, and intrigue draw readers in and moves a story forward at a quicker pace (usually), I’d honestly say I’d love to read a book with October getting to do everyday mundane tasks for a change. A book where there’s no danger to her, where things just get to slow down a bit for our hero. I feel as though this character has earned some legitimate down time.

Alas, any hope I may have harbored for Toby to get a modicum of peace and quiet did not come in A Red-Rose Chain. Instead of getting a book where Toby plans her imminent wedding to Tybalt (a storyline I seriously hope Seanan McGuire will not rush over), we instead find Toby possibly facing her most dangerous mission to date…that of diplomat. Huh, you say? We’re talking about the same October Daye, right? Yes, yes we are.

After an attack on the rightful Queen of the Mists’ seneschal is followed by a declaration of war on The Mists by The Kingdom of Silences—who declare the aforementioned rightful Queen isn’t “rightful” at all—Toby is sent in to try to prevent said war from happening. When the Queen orders, there’s very little one can do in opposition without finding oneself in even more trouble. Once in Silences, it becomes clear that their Kingdom is worse off than everyone thought. Being run by an arrogant, bigoted regent (appointed by none other than the false Queen of the Mists), and it seems as though Toby’s mission was doomed before it even began.

Despite the various ways Toby is constantly put through her paces, I almost feel like it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek by this point in the series. Even though Toby definitely doesn’t get it easy this time around either, I felt A Red-Rose Chain was a bit lighter than The Winter Long. Running up against an infuriating regent is nothing new in the Tobyverse so in a way I guess you could stretch it to say readers get a slight reprieve especially considering all the new info dumped on readers in The Winter Long.

I enjoyed discovering new, sometimes subtle, tidbits of information about the characters. Sometimes there would be a casual sentence, there one second and gone the next, that would hold so much I would have to go back and reread to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Sometimes those carefully constructed sentences would be expounded upon later, and other times those words would be left waiting to be possibly picked up again in another book down the line. Because what would a long-running series be if the characters didn’t grow and change throughout?

A Red-Rose Chain reminded me how much I love these characters. I think with one book being released every year it’s easy to forget how great it is until you’re ensconced once again in Toby’s world. I always enjoy when Toby can silence the naysayers and she does a great job here. See you again next year!

Sexual content: kissing, references to sex

One Response to “Review: A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #9)”

  1. susan emans says:

    I celebrated A Red-Rose Chain by doing a marathon reread of the entire series. Honestly, I found it very hard to move on to any other book after I finished. I love speculating about the meaning of her little clues. Seanan McGuire does not disappoint. Thanks for the great review.

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