Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: October Daye #13
Hardcover, 368 pages
Publication: September 9, 2019 by DAW
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg—October "Toby" Daye's oldest and most dangerous ally—tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can't refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren't the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg's price...or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden's brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that's when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
Bringing back the Roane has been a long time coming. After hundreds of years The Luidaeg is finally fulfilling her promise and cashing in on Toby’s debts. With The Luidaeg, Toby, the gang and some tagalongs; the group travels to the Duchy of Ships for the Selkie Convocation as The Luidaeg determines the clans’ fate. But of course, this is Toby we’re talking about, nothing can ever be just as is. As the convocation begins, Toby finds herself in the middle of searching for a clan member’s murderer and rescuing Peter Lorden from Saltmist.
We’re thirteen books into the October Daye series and it is still going strong. The last couple of books were a hit and miss for me but the tides (pun intended) has changed with The Unkindest Tides. In the latest installment of the series, I begun to feel the same spark and enjoyment as I had when I first started the series ten years ago. In The Unkindest Tides, we find both The Luidaeg and Toby in a tough predicament. They are on the verge of righting a past wrong that will change all of Faerie. By bring back the Roane, they’re bringing back not only an extinct race but also the power of seers/oracles and taking away the option for the Selkies to pass down their skins to their children. Which means those without skin will die as humans.
The Luidaeg has always been an enigmatic character; she’s a Firstborn, The Sea Witch, a legend and a monster to some. But we finally see the women beneath the mask; Antigone of Albany, a daughter, a mother, Cousin Annie and friend. I’ve always felt that The Luidaeg was wearing a mask and putting up walls, afraid of getting close to anyone. Thinking that she needed to uphold the image and expectations that people had of her. I could imagine how exhausting it was. I loved seeing this new unburdening and lighter version of The Luidaeg and learning more about her past and the Selkie/Roane.
I get pretty excited each and every time I see a new part of Faerie. In The Unkindest Tides, McGuire takes readers into an alternate dimension to the Duchy of Ships which is exactly like what you’d imagine. An island comprised out of shipwrecks and accumulated oddities from wine barrels, net, metal, barnacles and so much more. The duchy’s inhabitants are from all over the realms, most so unique even Toby can’t figure out their scent signature. And one of the last unexpected surprises was the island captain, which I won’t say much about except that Captain Jack Sparrow got nothin’ on Pete.
All in all, I thought The Unkindest Tides was a great addition to the series. Despite being thirteen books into the series, I still find myself excited to see all the mayhem and adventures the characters find themselves in. Crossing my fingers for a wedding in the next book!