Friday, May 20, 2011
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
A Local Habitation is the second in the October Daye series, and has been sitting on my bedroom shelf for months, awaiting my acquisition of the first novel, Rosemary and Rue. Now I gotta go find the third one, drat it! Anyway, this one turns out to be a mystery of the Orient Express sort, wherein all of the suspects in a murder are employees of the same company, and the challenge for us - and Toby - is figuring out who and why. I actually had the main "who" of "dunnit" fame pegged from the start, but there were a few twists that kept it interesting right up till the last few pages.
Toby is recruited by Duke Sylvester to go check up on his niece, January O'Leary (odd coincidence with the month names there), in Fremont, CA, where there is a desmene of the fae that serves as a buffer zone between two kingdoms nominally at peace. He hasn't been able to contact her in some time, and is getting a bit concerned. He sends along one of his squires, Quentin, whether to learn the knightly trade or just to keep an eye on Toby isn't exactly clear, but Toby does take the young elf under her wing as far as the investigation is concerned.
Totally out of the blue - NOT - Jan has a high-tech computer company in Fremont which has been doing some development of electronic gadgets, like cell phones, which will actually work in Faerie lands. When a dryads' grove nearby was denuded, demolished and bulldozed, she managed to "save" one of the dryads by downloading its essence into a server (computer) with some very special circuitry, and has adopted the dryad, April (another month name?) as her own heir.
When Toby and Quentin arrive, there have already been three murders, all contact with the rest of the elven world has been cut off, and the killer is not through yet. As the cast of characters drop like flies, it's up to Toby and Quentin, the only two we can trust, to figure it all out, report back to the Duke, and prevent a war from breaking out when Jan's buffer zone, the County of Tamed Lightning, is destroyed.
Again, though sorely tempted, Toby doesn't indulge in pages and pages of graphic sex, though the violence was quite well done. The reader gets to learn some new things about the world McGuire has created, and it should provide some more entertaining installments.