Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire

The Basics:

Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Book 7 in the October Daye series
Urban Fantasy

I purchased the paperback.

This is the seventh book in a series that I quite enjoy. Because I'm already a fan of the series, I was eager to read this one.

In Chimes at Midnight, October is trying to get to the bottom of recent changeling deaths, caused by overdosing on goblin fruit. The Queen of Mists is entirely unsympathetic when October puts the problem to her, exiling our heroine. October must race against the clock to reverse the Queen's decree, deal with the goblin fruit, save her own life and... oh wait, maybe the Queen shouldn't be the Queen after all!

What worked for me:

McGuire's series is one of my favourite urban fantasy series currently on the market. I enjoy October - she's snarky, competent and constantly under threat of death or worse. She has complex relationships that contain enough mystery and genuine friendship/loyalty/love to draw me back, book after book.

On the topic of mystery, there's so much that we still don't know - that October still doesn't know - that I will continue to come back for more, as long as McGuire keeps writing the series. For example, the reveal about Quentin wasn't unexpected by the time it happened, but it *did* successfully peak my interest in the next book, in which I presume we'll explore his background more.

The heightened threat level that pervades this series (see what didn't work for me) benefits greatly from the sense of sarcastic humor that underlines most of October's interactions. It provides relief from the tension, allowing McGuire to then ratchet things up to the next level. Just when you think October's situation couldn't be any worse....

What didn't work for me:

Well, I intended to read this book over the space of a few days, to savor it as it'll be another year before I get a new installment. And though I read the first two chapters and set the book down, I unfortunately picked it up an hour or so later and then gobbled up the rest of the book. I couldn't put it down. So now I have no new October adventures until next September.

What I would like more of is the relationship between October and Tybalt. I do appreciate that this series isn't as heavily focused on their romantic involvement as we get in typical urban fantasy because I think it's easy for a series to burn out on that. McGuire gives us a few crumbs here and there, but never enough to truly satisfy the reader. Still, I'd like to read an October book - perhaps even just a novella - that runs with a plot that isn't always so dire. Give October a little more breathing room so we can have a scene or two featuring her and Tybalt without these other tensions pressing in on them. Please?

The consistently high threat level could probably also use some variation. Having October racing from place to place, trying desperately to beat the clock, is entertaining, certainly, but I think varying the pacing a bit more might give the reader relief beyond that offered by the comedic moments. It'll also help convey the truly heinous nature of the current threat, if we have more than the most stolen of moments to pause and appreciate everything that's at stake.

The Bottom Line

Genuine enjoyment of the series drove me to buy the paperback and it was worth every penny. I will pre-order the next book in the series as soon as it is possible.

Am I too much of a fangirl of this series to see potential flaws in the book? Possibly. I've heard criticisms about October's ability to bounce back from injury - a talent that October actually addresses in the book. What I like about the way she overcomes these setbacks is that she relies on this ever expanding network of friends and family who back her up in ways beyond the physical. October's grown from thinking she's a one-woman show to accepting that she has a broad social network of people who care about her. 

I absolutely recommend this book, and this series.

Five Stars
For Fans of the series, of urban fantasy, of books that incorporate faerie elements, of snarky heroines

No comments:

Post a Comment