Seanan McGuire, The Brightest Fell (DAW 978-0-7564-13431-6, $26.00, 354pp, hc) September 2017. Cover by Chris McGrath.
Family provides the focus for this 11th novel in the October Daye series, which opens with Toby’s bachelorette party, complete with karaoke and a very odd assortment of friends. Back home that night, though, things go downhill fast when Toby’s mother Amandine turns up. The youngest of the children of Oberon and Titania, Amandine has great power and few limits, and a sociopathic lack of empathy. She forces Toby, by threatening those she loves, to undertake a search for the elder sister she never knew: August, the pureblood daughter of Amandine and her legal husband, Simon Torquill – the stepfather who turned Toby into a fish for 14 years, and worked for Toby’s greatest enemy. He was also the last person to see August, and with a cold trail – over 100 years old – Toby needs his help. The search has many classic quest elements, as when Toby gets help from beings she helped earlier, and Simon comes close to redeeming himself in Toby’s eyes. Not too surprisingly, though, elements that in a different story could lead to a happy ending here turn out twisted and dark, resulting in some intriguing developments for those following the series. An added novella, also involving mothers and daughters, follows April O’Leary in the techno-magic realm of Tamed Lightning, with a considerably more upbeat ending.
Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.
This review and more like it in the November 2017 issue of Locus.