Two years ago, October "Toby" Daye believed she could leave the world of Faerie behind. She was wrong. Now she finds herself in the service of Duke Sylvester Torquill, sharing an apartment with her Fetch, and maintaining an odd truce with Tybalt, the local King of Cats. It's a delicate balance—one that's shattered when she learns that an old friend is in dire trouble. Lily, Lady of the Tea Gardens, has been struck down by a mysterious, seemingly impossible illness, leaving her fiefdom undefended.
Struggling to find a way to save Lily and her subjects, Toby must confront her own past as an enemy she thought was gone forever raises her head once more: Oleander de Merelands, one of the two people responsible for her fourteen-year exile. But if Oleander's back, what's her game? Where is she hiding? And what part does Toby's mother, Amandine, have to play?
Time is growing short and the stakes are getting higher. For the Queen of the Mists has her own agenda, and there are more players in this game than Toby can guess. With everything on the line, she will have to take the ultimate risk to save herself and the people she loves most—because if she can't find the missing pieces of the puzzle in time, Toby will be forced to make the one choice she thought she'd never have to face again...
Late Eclipse is the fourth book of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, in which the main character, October “Toby” Daye, has another mystery to solve and another battle to fight for the Fae. October Daye is a half fae/half human, in a struggle to straddle societies of both worlds in which she can neither whole heartedly belong to. Using her private detective skills, the help of some interesting friends and foes, and those she considers like family, Toby takes assignments willingly, forcibly, and some bound by honor, noting all the while trying to solve the cases that more mysteries into her personal life become more apparent.
For the past three books, I cringed at the 1st person narrative that gave little details painstakingly slow about Toby’s life. For the past three books I wanted to grab October by the shirt and ask her why won’t she push farther into her odd standings with Tybalt. For the last three books, I nearly cried when Toby would just bend over and take it from the Fae court. And now here is the fourth fantastic book and it has been worth every little bit of frustrating agony! Seanan McGuire is a sneaky woman, knowing how to play her audience like a fiddle book by delicious book; never giving too much, but making you want a whole of a lot more. Now, now, there are still plenty more questions needing to be answered by the end, and will make readers put a note on their calendar for the next release date, but now at least I can stop pulling out some of my hair.
So we start out the book fast and furiously with Toby’s great friend, Lady Lily, in dire need of her help to stop a sickness that is killing her. Once again, we see someone personally connected to Toby in peril and the emotional drive that moves her forward on in this non-stop journey. This book has many key highlights to the story that I don’t want to spoil, but I will go on about the general feel of the book.
I love the fact this book is more focused in her hometown of San Francisco with a couple interludes in lands belonging to Fae. The story shows a more in depth attachment to her surroundings, and as a reader I get drawn in with a great sense of familiarity from previous descriptions in the other books.
As on the back cover blurb, you can see that many of the characters we have all come to love, or love to hate, make their way back into this story. I was amazed how well they intertwined instead of being thrown into the midst of it. Some of the characters made me laugh, a few made me want to throw the book at the wall, and one or two made me cry. Yes, I can admit it, I’m addicted to them no matter their role and I always want more.
The King of Cats, Tybalt, finally comes out to play and toil with the reader and Toby. Secret developments that have been vaguely foreshadowed in the last book by him, press upon Toby in life altering perceptions of herself and show light to more of her past. His role finally gave me that extra something I was looking for in the past books. As I said before, the questions are not totally closed, just slightly altered with a new sense of “hmm?” and “I wonder?” preparing me for the next book.
All in all, I found the book exciting, wonderfully paced, imaginative, and a little sad that the world of October Daye won’t be gracing mine again until October 6th, 2011. I would recommend these books to any urban fantasy fan and though it's a better experience to read this series from book one it's not completely necessary.