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Book Review: The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

***This book was reviewed for Berkley via Netgalley

The Brightest Fell is number eleven (!) in the October Daye urban-fantasy/paranormal series. Eleven! How is this the first time I’m reading this series? It has all the things I love. It’s got many types of Fae folk, including cait sidhe. I love cait sidhe! It has a sassy heroine, relatable and engaging characters, and a great storyline. I am mystified at the lack of this series in my life.

October ‘Toby’ Daye has a most unexpected visitor in the early morning hours after her bachelorette party. Her estranged mother has come looking for help October isn’t inclined to give. Unfortunately, pureblood Fae aren’t in the habit of being told no, and those of the Firstborn even less so. When Toby refuses to cooperate, Amandine forces two of her friends into their animal forms, one cait sidhe and one ravenkin, and kidnaps them.

Knowing how fickle her mother can be, October must find August sooner rather than later. There’s just one problem. She’s been missing for longer than Toby’s been alive. About a century to be exact. This takes ‘cold trail’ to a whole new level. In order to have a chance at finding August, Toby must waken one of her most feared enemies from his enchanted slumber, and trust he will be more interested in helping with this particular case than he might be in harming her.

It’s his daughter that’s missing after all.

Coming in at this point in the series, I am forming first impression relationships with all of the characters. This will be interesting when I go back to the beginning, especially, I think, with Simon. I kept reading about how bad he is, or about the bad things he’s done in the name of finding his daughter. Yet… I liked him from the moment he woke. He seems a person who’s made a great many mistakes, but the underlying motivation is love. I disliked Amandine from the moment I met her. She came across as a real @$$.

Family, and what defines it, is a big theme all through this book. Toby is looking for a sister who’s never really been a sister, for a mother who never acted like a mother, while traveling with the person who is her legal, though not biological, father. To ensure Toby’s cooperation, two of her bond family, her family of choice, are taken. Oh yeah, and she’s traveling with her Fetch, May. In this series, Fetches are death omens. May became family instead. Besides Toby’s familial relations, there’s also the dynamic between Simon and his twin brother Sylvester. This quest forces Toby and the others to reconsider what they know about Simon.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the first October Daye book I’ve read, so I cannot say how it stacks up against the rest of the series, but I found it to be well-written and very thought provoking. I loved that MacGuire didn’t do massive information dumps to recap previous information. I found it was rather neatly done as part of the on-going story, for the most part. Usually, by the time a series gets eleven books in, things start to flag. I didn’t get that feel here, and I’m very eager to read the next one, and all the past ones. I just hope jumping in at this point doesn’t ruin how I view the past books by knowing how the characters will evolve. Spoilers don’t bother me. Obviously I would never have considered starting at the end instead of the beginning, but sometimes I don’t like personality changes, and though they may have been gradual over books 1-10, it’ll be abrupt to me.

????? Highly recommended, especially if you like urban fantasy, or novels with Fae.

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