Review: The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #8)


The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire // VBC ReviewThe Winter Long (October Daye #8)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Sept. 2, 2014 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

You know when Seanan McGuire states in the acknowledgements, “Everything I have done with October’s world to this point has been for the sake of getting here, to the book that you now hold in your hands,” she means business. I had no idea going in The Winter Long was such an important book, but once I read that I knew things were going to get serious.

In Chimes at Midnight Toby finally had her showdown with the pretender Queen of the Mists and won. The Winter Long starts roughly four months after Chimes at Midnight during Yule. Arden Windermere is settling into the rightful role of Queen of the Mists and decides to throw a party. To close out the evening Toby is officially declared “a hero of the realm”(that is your tipping off point that calmness is soon to be short lived for our hero).

I was wondering where McGuire was taking us this time in Toby’s adventures. I kept waiting for it to jump out at me, and jump out it did in the form of Simon Torquill. Yes, that Simon. The Simon that turned Toby into a fish for 14 years. He shows up on her doorstep like his presence there is nothing out of the ordinary, yet he doesn’t come at her as an enemy per se. He claims his actions were to protect Toby. Shocked, Toby is hit with revelations about the past that will change how she looks at the future.

Since the very first book, we’ve known Toby to be a very capable character. Despite what others think of her actions at times, she somehow seems to make it through to the end time and time again. Better than any of its predecessors The Winter Long showcases how truly powerful Toby has become and will continue to become. Toby is still learning what it means to be a Dóchas Sidhe.

Reading an October Daye book, you know Toby is no stranger to the use of blood magic. I’d have to say The Winter Long is bloodier than even the most bloody horror novel (if you doubt me, just go back and take a look at the cover, I’ll wait). Yep that’s all blood. I found it really interesting to see Toby taking the reins so-to-speak on her power. A power that she was misinformed about until very recently. She seems more at home in her ‘new’ skin.

Being so jammed packed full of revelations, The Winter Long really had to choose what was important and everything else kind of took a backseat. There was very little May and Jazz, among others, but I didn’t really feel their absence as I was so focused on how Toby would get out of another life-and-death situation. One area that I want so badly to be addressed is Toby and her mother. We get little things in each book that already builds upon what we know, but with Toby’s mother essentially MIA the confrontation between mother and daughter has yet to happen, but it’s something I personally can’t wait to read.

The Winter Long truly lives up to McGuire’s statement on the acknowledgements page. It is the culmination of everything that has happened in the series up to this point. McGuire always drops little mysteries throughout to be addressed at a later time. Where she goes from here is anyone’s guess.

Sexual content: References to sex

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