Tuesday, August 30, 2022

#Review - Be The Serpent by Seanan McGuire #Fantasy

Series: October Daye (#16)
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: August 30, 2022
Publisher: DAW
Source: Publisher
Genre: Urban Fantasy

October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal,” she’s doing her best to adjust.
It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.
Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true. 
The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.


Be The Serpent is the Sixteenth installment in author Seanan McGuire's October Daye series. Timeline, this story takes place in June of 2015. It has been 6 years since Toby was released from her 14 year captivity as a koi fish in which she lost both her husband and her daugher. After once again saving the day in Toronto, she's now married now to Tybalt, the King of the Cats. She's also Knight of Lost Words, Hero of the Realm of the Kingdom of the Mist, and named Realm Breaker by more than a few former enemies who are weary of this new turn in Toby's life.

Before I continue with this review, I want to express how hard it is to write this without spoilers. The author, in fact, pretty much warns readers ahead of time that she used the pandemic to write a entirely new story arc that will rock Toby’s world and have consequences on the Fae and everyone that Toby has surrounded herself with. If you have read this series from the beginning, you know that fate has found ways to dig at Toby at all angles and in some ways, Toby has changed Faerie for better or worse.

Be the Serpent picks up with a hearing in Arden's court to determine whether Rayseline should be woken after being asleep for 4 years thanks to being elf shot. If you've followed this series closely, you know that Rayseline has made a choice, and now that choice is being revealed. Going into this story, I was extremely peeved at Sylvester for allowing his wife to treat Toby like garbage, thus breaking a bond that was like the one that Toby has with her squire, Quentin. 

At the beginning of the day, Toby thought that her biggest problem would be persuading the queen to waken an elf-shot prisoner and give Toby custody of her, to save Raysel from her parents Sylvester and Luna. At the end of the day, Toby has found that someone extremely dangerous has been hiding in plain sight. Someone who she grew up with. Someone who she loves like a sister, and someone who has been there since Toby was a street rat. With the help of Tybalt, Quentin, May, Simon, and The Luidaeg, along with a very reluctant Oberon, Toby must face her most dangerous threat yet.

We have known from early on that Toby was the subject of several prophecies. Also, the Luidaeg has plans for her and has made it apparent that she is the only one allowed to murder Toby, when she's finished with her. As is the nature of fairy tale prophecies, some of them have come true. But not in the way that anyone thought they would. If you want to read a HOLY!!! CRAP!!! cliffhanger ending, you must prepared for two stunning revelations that happen within minutes of each other. 

The story reaches deep into the past and deep into the future. How was Faery born?  Could Maeve being hanging around waiting to return? Will what was broken in the Broken Ride be fixed? This book ends with a short novella Such Dangerous Seas that features Luidaeg as well as several other characters. The story pretty much reveals why Luidaeg is unable to lie to anyone. It's a good story.   

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