Ashes of Honor: An October Daye Novel
by Seanan McGuire
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Review by Gayle Surrette
DAW Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780756407490
Date: 04 September 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
At the end of One Salt Sea , October 'Toby' Daye was in bad shape. It's now a year later and she's still not doing that great -- fighting depression and trying to build up her strength and flexibility again. It helps to focus on her squire, Quentin, and his training. But she's not as careful as she used to be and coming way to close to death far too often.
It's not a good time, but her fellow knight, Etienne, needs her help. His daughter is missing and he wants her found as soon as possible. Etienne is a stickler for procedure and following the rules. While Toby is a bit amused that he's fathered a Halfling, the fact is that he didn't know he had until his daughter's mother accused him of stealing her. Etienne's daughter, Chelsea, has inherited her father teleporting abilities, only she doesn't know how to control them and her abilities are far stronger than anyone would expect.
But, as in all the previous novels, this task is not going to be easy because nothing ever is when the fae courts and magic is involved. Before it's over, faerie itself will be at risk, a faerie court will be without a leader, Tybalt will be in a fight for his life and his kingdom, and with luck -- a lot of luck -- a child's life may be saved.
Once again the story is fast paced, action packed, and life and death. The October Daye plot lines usually involve families in one way or another. The families may not be the usual and, in fact, are often the made-families of like-minded people coming together to make a family when their own birth family has failed them in some way.
When halflings are involved there is the problem of a choice to be made. If October finds Chelsea, she has to offer her a choice to join the fae or stay human. If she chooses human, then she must be killed. If she chooses to join the fae, her mother will have to die. This is a lose-lose for Chelsea. When October's daughter was given the choice, October was able to change her daughter's biology to human and erase all memory of her experience with the fae. Toby is hoping she can do the same for Chelsea if she finds her.
There's a lot of hard choices in Ashes of Honor, but then maintaining honor in a world filled with opportunities and avenues for dishonorable behavior and actions always does. The characters are well-developed and still finding their way in a changing world. The story line is strong and well told. This series is getting better with each book.
The next book in the series is expected to be titled, Chimes at Midnight.