"Late Eclipses" by Seanan McGuire

Pros: Emotionally gripping action-packed story.
Cons: It feels like the heroine is getting everything but the kitchen sink thrown at her.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

October Daye is adjusting to all of the recent changes in her life. From an odd relationship with the King of Cats to her new unusual roommate, things have been strange lately. But when one of her dearest friends falls mysteriously ill, Toby swings into action to try and find a way to help her. The few clues she finds seem to point to an old enemy, one who has done great harm in the past. Toby’s going to have to figure out this puzzle, or she may find herself making a difficult choice all over again…


 

I have to admit, I’m hooked on October Daye after reading A Local Habitation and An Artificial Night. Gripping, emotional plots with a well-developed mythology are like catnip to me, and so I was eagerly awaiting the release of Late Eclipses (Book 4). After all of the anticipation, the book left me feeling disappointed.

As much as I enjoy urban fantasy, I’ve found that one of the pitfalls that authors can run into is trying to up the ante for their characters by throwing more and more at them. After a while of that, I’m left wondering why the characters have become beaten down and I feel depressed when I put the book down. I’m not saying that this book has signaled the beginning of the series turning into this, but the more I saw being thrown at Toby, the more I became concerned about where the series might be heading. That worry kept distracting me from the plot so that I wasn’t even able to enjoy as much of the emotional roller coaster that Ms. McGuire provides.

I’m not giving up hope, though. Yes, Toby goes through a lot, but I can also see that Ms. McGuire is setting up so many avenues for Toby’s character to develop as the series progresses. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Toby goes next, because there are so many interesting possibilities. I can’t help comparing it to a team-building year in sports; as a fan I’m not entirely thrilled with the way thing are at the moment, but I also know that great things are on the horizon. And Ms. McGuire is such a talented author that I’m sure she’s going to take Toby in intriguing directions. I just wish that my reactions to seeing just about everything but the kitchen sink thrown at Toby hadn’t gotten in the way of my losing myself in the book. I kept going from wrapped up in the plot to wondering how badly Toby was going to be scarred by events.

If you’re a reader who’s thinking of picking up the series with this book, I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s plenty of context if you do choose to, but this volume can be depressing because so much feels like Toby’s not going to be able to overcome it without serious scars. If that’s the sort of thing that you look for in urban fantasy, then you’ll probably enjoy it.

Although Late Eclipses wasn’t my favorite in the series, I am certainly looking forward to seeing where Toby goes. There are so many personal, political, and relationship possibilities that I can’t help but think a pretty substantial series is being set up! Now to start counting down to the next book…

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