The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire @seananmcguire @dawbooks

Posted September 9, 2019 by Robin in Book Review / 8 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire @seananmcguire @dawbooks The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #13
Published by DAW Books on September 3, 2019
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.

When the Luidaeg—October "Toby" Daye's oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can't refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren't the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg's price...or face the consequences.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden's brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that's when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.

Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?

I have been waiting for this forever, for the Luidaeg to call in all of Toby’s debts and it FINALLY happened.  The day of reckoning for the Selkies has come and their mother has called the time, place and price that will be demanded of them.

The time is neigh, the place is the Duchy of Ships (think pirates and you are half way there) and the price, well that is a little more complicated.  To say the Selkies are not excited about this is an understatement. It is a little understandable because their entire way of life is about to change. Cousin Annie has dropped all disguises; she is the Luidaeg, the Sea Witch, with transformations in her fingers and curses in her palms.

Most of The Unkindest Tide was good for me.  I definitely love all things Luigaeg and getting to see some of the sorrow she has held for so long was a little agonizing.  The story of the Roane and the Selkies is the saddest of tales. If I know nothing, I know this; there is at least one more Firstborn out there that deserves death.  

There is an entire entourage of people at the conclave.  Dianda, being of the Saltmists, comes along as witness along with many others.  I do love bloodthirsty Dianda and I even did okay with the side story stuff that included her.  Side note, do not get on her bad side.

I struggled with the murder mystery.  The Selkies have all come together at the conclave but when one of them ends up dead, Toby is Toby, and needs to find justice for the fallen.  I get it, but it was the least interesting part of the story since I did not know any of the characters involved personally and I just wanted to get to the stuff involving the Sea Witch getting her justice. 

Also, I struggle with Gillian.  I do love what the Luigaeg said to her (Ch 4. You can’t miss it), I’ll wait here while you go read it.  I really just wanted to smack Toby’s daughter this entire book. Janet too, for that matter, both of them drive me a little nuts. I’m hoping one day she’ll see everything Toby tried to do for her, but alas children rarely see that until they have children of their own.  

Best new character goes to Captain Pete, captain of the Duchy of Ships and Firstborn of Titania.  She is fantastic and I really liked getting to know another Firstborn that wasn’t an ass.

I did like how this ended overall.  I think there are some great set ups for things to come and it isn’t all bad that the future might be a little more fluid now because of the happenings in this book.  It will be interesting to see what comes of the events that unfolded here. I have a feeling that more people will end up on Toby’s doorstep with prophecies to foil in the future.  Let’s hope for her sake most of them don’t involve water.


“There’s no one in this world you can trust all the time. Not even the people you love, not even the people who love you.” 


I’d have your spine for jewelry if it wouldn’t make her angry. I’d make flutes from your bones and play them with my boys every time someone thought it would be a good idea to threaten us. She’s not condemning you. She’s sparing you, from me. You should thank her for her mercy, not look to me to save you from it.”


About Seanan McGuire

Hi! I’m Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I’m also Mira Grant (, author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).

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Posted September 9, 2019 by Robin in Book Review / 8 Comments

8 responses to “The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire