Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Be the Serpent by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #16
Published by DAW Books on August 30, 2022
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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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.
Seanan McGuire has built a fantastic world in the October Daye series. A world rich in characters, histories, prophecies and magic. Toby McGuire is a hero in this world and in Be the Serpent she is about to be tested in ways she maybe wasn’t prepared for. This book ended up darker than some of the others in the series with a twist that I never saw coming.
“We could be standing at the intersection of twenty different flavors of reality and only seeing the two where we have any business being”
Titania is back and she is just as brutal as she ever was. Toby is going to have to reconcile herself to the implications of this and find a way to save all the Brown children who have ended up in Titania’s sights. With the help of her crew being Tybalt, Toby’s new husband and Cait Sidhe king, her trusted squire Quinten, fetch May, newly acquired father Simon, The Luidaeg (famous Sea Witch of the sea, yes that Sea Witch) and more but those will be the main player along with a very reluctant Oberon who are tasked with containing the newly returned Titania.
This story was WOW, I don’t know why I thought it was possibly going to be a little fluffier with a newly married Toby trying to figure out how to balance marriage with all of her hero duties but this was full of tense moments, emotional hits to the gut and a deeper understanding of The Three (Titania, Oberon and possibly Maeve). They are the makers of Faery and they have a lot of explaining to do in Toby’s eyes.
Toby is very hard to kill but she has a big part to play in this fight and she is going to be stretched farther than she ever has before. Not to mention the little secret she has yet to tell her new husband that is weighing on her mind.
This story was an unusual one for the October Daye Universe because there is definitely one completed story in this book but normally books in the October Daye series wrap up and end at a solid ending. We have a bit of a cliffhanger in Be the Serpent and I am on pins and needles seeing how it works out in the next book. Really a phenomenal story. I love Toby’s irreverence in the face of danger and those with more power than her. There is enough quick wit and funny things said to help with the dark tones of the book and give it a good balance. One of the best in the October Daye world.
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