This is book #5 in the October Daye (Toby) series, and as usual Seanan does not disappoint. I might actually go into spoilers in this post, so I'll give fair warning before I do....
Toby is fae, a changeling, who was turned into a fish by an evil-ass fae when she was investigating the kidnapping of Duke Sylvester's wife and daughter. Fast forward years and Toby finally breaks from the spell that's held her captive. She comes back to find her boyfriend has moved on and married, and that her daughter has grown up and wants nothing to do with her. They think Toby bailed on them, and since she can't tell them that she's fae, she has to let them go.
While Toby was a fish, Luna (the duchess) and Rayseline (Luna & Sylvester's daughter) have returned to Sylvester. However, they've been held for most of Rayseline's life in a place that drove her insane. She's now married to Conner, a Selkie, in a political marriage to strengthen the Courts of faery. Conner was Toby's first love and they're still attracted to each other.
That's pretty much the set up for everything that happens in the series. And a lot of stuff happens. Through it all, Toby stays true to her character as she struggles to fix all that is broken. She gathers a very interesting support group along the way - from her fetch to the king of cats. (Oooh, I love Tybalt.)
What I love about the world that Seanan creates is how carefully she's constructed it. She's obviously done her research, because she introduces everything from the night haunts to selkies to Daione Sidhe with brilliant detail. The world makes sense. The divisions and alliances make sense. The relationships between various fae breeds (and changelings) are believable. Her characters have depth, they have motive and they have history behind them to explain their actions. She takes her time telling Toby's story - it moves along at just the right pace to keep you hooked. And you can't always guess where she's going (which I frankly love), but when she takes you there you know its the only place the story could have gone. Know what I mean? It's just one of the best UF series out there. So get out and buy it. This series should be on your shelves!
DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT
IF YOU DON"T WANT TO FIND OUT
SOMETHING BIG THAT HAPPENS
AT THE END!!!!!!!!!
I'm going to be honest here. I don't like Conner. I've never liked him. He's kind of a wishy washy foof head of a guy. I don't see what Toby sees in him, other than maybe a time before her life went to shit. Even then, I don't know why she's actually with him now. And in this book, he and Toby are together as boyfriend/girlfriend (in as much as fae are boyfriend/girlfriend). I didn't like it. Pthat. Gag. Ptooie. Their relationship is not equal. He's such a weak person...and Toby is so strong. I kept waiting through this entire series for him to grow a set of balls, only he never did. (Well, some might argue in his final act, he did - but I say not. I think he just figured he'd sleep for a while and she'd be right there taking care of him. Wiener.) So I can't say I'm disappointed with what happened at the end of the book. Toby might be mourning (I honestly think she's mourning the loss of her daughter more), but I'm not. She needs someone strong and capable (Tybalt!!!), to match her as an equal - not whiny, poor me Conner. Sorry. Don't miss him. Bring on Tybalt and some hot Cait Sidhe loving!! lol