October Daye is the name of a series of modern Urban Fantasy novels written by Seanan McGuire and set in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the faerie kingdom of mists.
October Daye is also the name of the series’ central protagonist.
The October Daye Series
The October Daye story attempts to present a world within which Fairy Tales are true but often a little different from the stories that have been told of these fantastical creatures by modern society.
Within Seanan McGuire’s universe, faerie have always existed, their presence often hidden, restricted to a world parallel to the human realm, and often so much more terrible in their existence than their much nicer fairy tale counter parts.
They are not human and have no wish to engage with human kind; yet they will occasionally take up human lovers, their union producing what is known as changelings; not stolen children but half breeds, displaying the mortality of human kind, the fantastical traits of faerie, but belonging to neither.
October Daye is a changeling born in San Francisco; growing up in the Summerlands, October left home and the faerie realm at the first opportunity presented to her, unwilling to expose herself to the cruelty of the fae and a world that didn’t quite understand her.
Finding that human kind was no different, the October Daye series follows October (or Toby as she is known) and her adventures as she attempts to find her place in the world that bears little more than hostility against her.
The October Daye Universe
Seanan McGuire’s world is a fantastical realm that is ever expanding, spending as much time in San Francisco as it does in the faerie realm, with major locations including Sylvester Torquill’s fae kingdom of Shadowed Hills located in San Francisco, The Tea Gardens (Toby’s home for 14 years); The Library of Stars, Kingdom of the Mists in Northern California, The county of Tamed Lightening and Muir woods to mention but a few.
There are eight types of Faerie within the October Daye Series, namely: Dochas Sidhe, Air Sidthe, Kitsune, Daoine Sidhe, Tuatha de Danann, Cait Sidhe, Undersea Sidhe and Land Sidhe.
Once visible to humanity, the world of the fae went into hiding a long time ago, only emerging when faerie and man collide to bring changelings into the world, second class children that spend their existence fighting for respect among the unkind fae.
The faerie world is often described as existing in those places that man cannot reach; like the sea and the sky, where creatures like gnomes and pixies exist beyond the prying eyes of mortals.
The faerie world is complex, with its own multi-layered society built upon politics, feuds, rivalries and changing alliances. Among the numerous races of fae, the Big Three, Titania, Oberon and Maeve stand above all as the highest points of authority, and it is because they have remained absent from the world of fae for more than five centuries that fae have descended into chaos.
Fae will come in different species, shapes and forms, some as fiercely loyal and human as others are ferocious, dangerous and self centered. Changelings stand as the bridge between mortal man and fae, hated by both and given the choice to become fae once they come of age, or else risk losing their lives.
Those young changelings that choose the world of faerie are whisked away to the Summerlands where they are educated in the ways of the fae; it was from the Summerlands that October chose to escape, unwilling to expose herself to the cruelty of her people, instead choosing to lead a normal life, in so much as the fae would allow it.
Rosemary and Rue
As a changeling, October Daye has been burned by both the fae and human sides of her heritage; an outsider since birth, Toby, as she is known, makes the choice to retreat to a normal life, a choice the faerie world will not countenance.
October finds that she is drawn back into the fae realms by the murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, or more accurately the curse that the countess placed upon her, binding Toby to the murder investigation, forcing the changeling to resume her role as Knight errant. Reconstituting old alliances, October is quickly reminded of the reasons that drove her from her ancestral home; the betrayals, moral ambiguity and a threat to her life.
The first book in the October Daye series presents both positive and negative elements; the primary protagonist is easily likeable. The story is melancholic without being too depressing and even the rather meandering nature of the plot, which, in many cases, can’t seem to quite determine what it wants to do, does little to innervate the entertainment value of a wholly immersive world.
A Local Habitation
October Daye is a changeling, daughter to Amandine, a fae, and a mortal man; the only changeling to have obtained knighthood and gifted in blood magic, Toby operates under the command of the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, Sylvester, her liege.
When Sylvester commands October to travel to the country of the Tamed Lightning to check up on Countess January whom he has been unable to contact, Toby quickly learns that all is not well with Sylvester’s niece; as an unknown force begins to murder all those persons close to Countess January, Toby is impelled to solve the mystery, lest she becomes swept up in the wave of death.
The second book in the October Daye series continues to tell a great urban fantasy story laced with elements of romance; the key to its success lies with the hardships that Toby must contend with on a daily basis as a changeling, not quite as powerful as her fellow fae, often thrown against opponents she has no business opposing, but choosing to display a level of loyalty, determination and strength of will that allows her to overcome overwhelming odds.
Seanan McGuire’s story is fast paced, solving as many mysteries as it presents, maintaining a plot that is tightly wound and bursting with tensions. The book also does a great job at further expanding upon and exploring several characters from the first novelBook Series In Order » Characters » October Daye