Fantasy sure has come a long way baby in the last twenty years. The fantasy of my youth was boring. B-o-r-i-n-g. But what about J.R.R Tolkien the true died hard fantasy fan might ask? True there was nothing dry or boring about his books however for every one J.R.R they were about fifty fantasy books whose purpose would have been better served as kindling.
Not quite so anymore. While the old boring stuff can still be found on shelves, a whole new breed of fantasy writer has emerged. We can credit the evolution of the paranormal romance for transition.
Seanan McGuire is one of these new breed of urban fantasy writers. I just finished my third October Daye novel and I tell you I never, ever want her to stop writing EVER. The first Rosemary and Rue was awesome. The second A Local Habitation was a little bit better and the third An Artificial Night blew my freakin' mind. The kind of read where you are holding your family off with the palm of your hand because you just have to finish. If Hollywood doesn't scoop up An Artificial Night for a movie than they are even stupider than I think they are.
In Rosemary and Rue, we're introduced to October “Toby” Daye, a half-fae, half-mortal woman living in San Francisco. As the knight for the liege Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills and a local PI, Toby has sacrificed everything for her kingdom. Cursed to live as a fish for 14 years, she's wants nothing to do with the fae world. But unfortunately for Toby, the death of an acquaintance drags her back into the world she so desperately wants to avoid.
In A Local Habitation, Toby is ordered to journey to a nearby kingdom, the County of Tamed Lightening aka Fremont, CA to investigate strange happenings in the land of Countess January O’Leary. Although January appears to run a successful but common computer fantasy game company, nothing is as it seems. People are dying from mysterious circumstances. Hopefully Toby can find the killer before anyone else dies.
In An Artificial Night Blind Michael is stealing children, fae and mortal alike to serve in the Wild Hunt. When her family is taken, Toby has no choice but to go after the children at great risk to her own life. If Toby cannot escape with the children, she will fall prey to the Wild Hunt and Blind Michael's inescapable power forever.
Toby is the perfect female character. Smart, brave, takes a beating like no one’s business. She’s bitter and angry but not so much so that it’s off-putting. The dialogue is great but truly the descriptive scene setting is what sets this series apart from others in the genre. Not a single word is wasted. Each conveys the story exactly as it should. Seanan takes world-building exactly to where it should be.