From McGuire's website: "The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery... before the curse catches up with her."
You can't read a blog that covers urban fantasy nowadays without reading glowing reviews of both Ilona Andrews and Seanan McGuire. Having tried and not cared for Andrews's work, I nervously committed myself to read the first book of the October Daye series from Seanan McGuire.
To begin with, it had a few things working for it that the Kate Daniels books did not. First, I love faeries. Second, I hate romance. Now, you are probably thinking that is a giant lie told by the most gigantic liar you've ever met considering my review list, but it's also partially true nowadays. I find that while a good romance ranks up there as one of the best things I can read or watch on film, a bad romance can make a very good piece of entertainment seem horrible to me. McGuire pretty much leaves romance off the table with this book. There are clearly mentions of romantic interests and hints that future characters will be important romantically, but there isn't any of this "we sniped at each other but underneath all of that was a clear sense of our impassioned need to have rough sex right at that moment" nonsense that some urban fantasies and paranormal romances seem to love.
Once you get beyond my superficial reasons for liking this book, there's also a lot of other things to enjoy. We come to Daye six months after an event that clearly was life changing for her. It gives her a reason to be negative and full of hate for the faery world, while also making her sympathetic immediately even with her attitude. Daye does not come across as all powerful, with simple illusions causing her headaches and pain. She seems, humorously enough, human. Her near death wish behavior in her quest to find the killing of her frenemy is reasonable too since her non-participation leads to death anyways. In other words, Daye comes across not as a angsty, sarcastic, and oversexed heroine, but as a person thrown into a situation and being forced to get their way free of that situation in any way possible.
Saying that, I didn't care for how often Daye was on the brink of death. After a while, that all bled together. (BAD PUN UNINTENTIONAL!) Nor did I care for the characters of Julie or Tybalt. They were uninteresting and one note. I was sad that we never got the meet Evening Winterrose as she seemed to be particularly interesting, but the Luidaeg was fascinating and I hope she's in every one of these stories. I also disliked the ease in which Daye fell into old routines with the fey even though she knew the consequences of working with them.
I'm definitely going to overlook the things I didn't care for about the book and continue with this series. I have high hopes that it'll be a favorite over time!
Verdict: 7. I liked it more than I like most urban fantasies nowadays.
Thoughts: After disliking the Kate Daniels series from Ilona Andrews, I'm relieved to like this particular blogosphere favorite. I don't like being a hater all the time.