on 12 September 2012
At this point, six books into the series, we've seen October's character make quite the transformation, both emotionally and physically. From orphaned changeling kid, wandering lost in the human world. To wife and mother, trying to play Fairy Bride. And finally, where we are today; to kickass hero and knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills, friend and ally to the King of Cats and Sea Witch, rescuer of lost kids, acquirer of loyal friends, and just all-round reckless but totally lovable main character with an infectious personality. I absolutely love her! For reals.
And throughout all these changes in her circumstances, and the physical changes and power-ups she's gone through that make her now almost as indestructible as May (her former Fetch and kinda twin sister), she's somehow managed to keep that wonderful glibness, that highly inappropriate wit that so often gets her in trouble, but that is hilarious to read.
I have to say, Seanan McGuire's writing of Toby's dialogue is so funny, and so...random. I think her humour is quirky and possibly won't be for everyone, but it really tickles me. I often have to stop to do that silent laughing thing when she catches me off guard. I just like the silliness of it, especially when it's completely inappropriately-timed.
The plot for ASHES OF HONOR was a little more simplistic than past instalments have been, which I think is a good thing because this world is complex enough without having head-bending, multi-stranded plots to try and wrap my tiny mind around. It's another missing child case; a changeling teleporter this time. Which is problematic since Toby can't exactly follow a teleporter around. But that's why it helps to have friends in high places, such as the Sea Witch who can make a spell for almost any occasion, or the King of Cats who can travel through the shadows (which is almost the same thing as teleporting, but significantly more uncomfortable for a non-Caith Sidh like Toby).
There was also a separate subplot surrounding the Court of Cats which brought with it some new and very exiting developments. (You can't see me, but I'm grinning).
Most of the characters from past books made and appearance with a few notable exceptions: There was no Queen of the Mists this time (not really sad about that since she's batshit crazy and hates Toby's guts), but also not much mention of Danny the Bridge Troll (who I really like), and no one from the Undersea realm either. But I was happy to see we revisited Tamed Lightning. I love April the techno-Dryad and her complete inability to understand, sarcasm, jokes, emotions or anything said that's not meant 100% literally.
The best thing about ASHES OF HONOR for me was seeing the character development of many key players, but especially Toby. It's been a year since the last book (in Toby time as well as our time), and much has changed: Quentin, who's around 18 now, is growing up fast. May is becoming more and more like the twin sister people think she is. The Luidaeg still hasn't killed Toby. And maybe, just maybe, Tybalt doesn't dislike Toby as much as she once liked to believe he did. But at the start of the book, the one person who hasn't changed in the last year or moved on from the sad events of ONE SALT SEA, is Toby. Lucky for her, she's surrounded by awesome peeps who won't let that continue for much longer, and the progress she makes here in this book is immense.
For fans of the series, I think this instalment will become a new favourite. It certainly has for me. I feel like McGuire delivered everything I could possibly want from a UF novel, and I simply can't wait for the next one. I still have unanswered questions, but I'm confident McGuire has a master plan set in motion for revealing the answers in due course. For example, when are we going to see Amandine again and where the hell has she been? Who the frack are Quentin's parents? And what did the Sea Witch mean about the Selkies having to pay their debt soon? All these questions and more will have me counting the days until The Chimes at Midnight, which releases September 2013. Go faster time, damn you!
5 Stars ★★★★★ ♥