The Brightest Fell is the 11th book in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. This series just keeps getting better and better.
The October Daye series is an awesome urban fantasy series. I mean, seriously good. Seanan has written a series that drops hints along the way that you won’t figure out until 4 books later. I love that so much. It’s always fun to go back to do a reread and find something and go oh, I never noticed that before. It’s things like that that keep the series fresh and interesting and will keep readers like me coming back for more.
Anyway, the October Daye series starts with Toby, who’s a changeling. Her mother was a member of Fairy and her father was human. She is a private investigator who is working on a missing person case for her liege, Sylvester. His twin brother took Sylvester’s wife and child. Toby follows Simon and his co-conspirator to try to figure out what is happening, and he turns her into a koi fish. She spends the next 14 years of her life living in a pond with other fish, not knowing who she is or what is going on. When she comes back to herself, her entire life has changed. Her daughter didn’t know her and thought that she had abandoned her.
Eventually, Toby starts to pull her life together and build herself a new life, with loads of wonderful people in it, none of whom are actually human. All her wonderful people turn into a family that she will die to protect.
In The Brightest Fell, we open on Toby’s bachelorette party. She’s getting ready to marry her Cait Sidhe lover, Tybalt, the local King of Cats. All her friends show up at the karaoke bar to sing, drink, and celebrate. She gets home to find Tybalt and his nephew asleep on the couch, watching Shakespeare. Just as she and Tybalt start getting happy to see each other, there’s a knock at the door. It’s Amandine, Toby’s mom. Now, Toby and her mom have a really, really, really bad relationship for so many reasons. Amandine wants to hire Toby to find her older sister, who is pure-blooded, and the daughter of Amandine and her husband, Simon. Yes, the same Simon who turned Toby into a fish.
When Toby turns her down, Mommy Dearest takes Tybalt prisoner, along with Toby’s Fetch’s lover. (Sound complicated? Yeah, kinda is. Read the series, then it’s not. Trust me, it’s worth it.) Toby has to find her sister, August, in order to get her people back. And thus, we start going on Toby’s adventure to find her sister, get her fiance back, and try not to kill her mother.
I love this series. If I didn’t I wouldn’t write about it, obviously, but it’s a great series. It’s full of a lot of layers and dimensions, and there is always something to find on a reread. There is language, there is violence (Toby beats someone’s head in with a baseball bat), and there are some sex scenes, but they aren’t usually incredibly graphic. And of course, there is romance, adventure, and sometimes swordplay. The world building is awesome, and the mythology that Seanan created and uses is wonderful. Definitely a great read.
When you read the book, you will see how fantastically awesome this picture is as a spoiler warning. One of my favorite scenes, and the first time I laughed out loud while reading this book. I had to explain why it was so funny to my husband. He really just rolled his eyes at me. Silly man.
So, Toby’s mom has taken away Tybalt and Jazz, who are both shapeshifters. Amandine has laid down an ultimatium, and Toby has decided to start think about how many ways she can kill her mother, and why it isn’t a good idea right now. She’s doing the latter so that she doesn’t use the former.
Toby starts to talk to her allies to figure out what to do. That leads her to Simon. Now, legally, by the laws of Fairy, Simon is her father, even though he had nothing to do with her life. That’s because he was married to her mother at the time that Toby was born. Toby’s mom was married to a human man, Toby’s father, at the time, but that didn’t count, since he was human. Simon has also been elf-shot which means that he’s asleep. Toby’s friend Walter came up with an antidote to elf-shot, but Simon was sentenced to stay asleep because of his crimes. However, Toby needs him awake so that she can use him to find her sister.
Simon has tried to rehabilitate himself somewhat. In fact, he got elf-shot while he was saving Toby. But, he still did a bunch of terrible shit. And people who are angry at him have a really good reason to be angry at him. He did what he did out of the best intentions, but the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. However, right now he’s the only person who isn’t lying to Toby in any way, because he knows that she’s tired of being lied to.
Remember how I talked about Seanan leaving hints all over the place that lead back to later books? She did that when it comes to August. There are hints through several books about who and where she is. It’s totally awesome when we find out where she is. Unfortunately, she’s still lost, since she traded away her way home for help on her quest. She doesn’t recognize Simon, and she never knew Toby, so she gets a touch grouchy.
OK, I’ve put more than enough spoilers, but you knew they were coming, so if you read them, it’s all on you. Go read this book. I’ll be rereading this series very soon, just to track all the various hints and see where they intersect. I’ll be highlighting and putting notes on my Kindle just so I don’t miss anything.
Tomorrow, Maisy Archer’s MM romance, The Easy Way, written under May Archer. Wednesday will be The Girl in Black and White. Thursday, you are in for a huge treat, Stolen from Addison Cain. This is #1 in the Alpha’s Control series, and doesn’t come out until 9/26. I’ve read it and gotten permission to share it with all of you lovely people. It’s fucking awesome. I literally fell asleep reading it and only woke up when my Kindle hit me in the face. There will also be cover releases, recommendations, and other such things. Meanwhile, happy reading!