5 Reasons to Read ONE SALT SEA

  1. October Daye’s magic just keeps getting stronger with each book.  Remember waaaayyy back in Rosemary & Rue?  When she got her ass handed to her in every other chapter?  Well… that still happens.  But before, her changeling ex-boyfriend could beat her up.  Now it takes First Borns & an army of goblins with bazookas*.
  2. Two words: Under-water Fae.  Asrai, Hippocampus & Cetace, oh my!
  3. Here’s a pleasant surprise!  We are finally given some back story on The Luidaeg (pronounced ‘the lou-sha-k’), Toby’s super scary First auntie and my favorite character of the whole series!  Cranky, rude, pretty in a creepy-I-eat-roaches-kinda-way – whenever Toby calls (more of a project than you think)The Luidaeg picks up the phone and somehow bails her out.  Except now she’s calling in favors.  And when the Luidaeg asks for help, nothing good can follow.
  4. Let’s talk plot:  The young princes of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist have been kidnapped.  Unless they’re found there will be war between land and water.  So once again Toby & friends are on a deadline to save the day.  McGuire brings back all the characters and overarching storylines that her fans love.  We learn a little more about Faerie; about fetches & the night-haunts;  Toby’s past shows up in an unexpected way & her love life continues to be complicated.  And did I mention Rayseline is back?  (That can’t be much of a spoiler if you read the other books).  McGuire hints at a resolution to her & Toby’s relationship which on its own is enough to have me impatient for a glimpse at Ashes of Honor (the next book of the series, due out next year).

And the #5 REASON to Read ONE SALT SEA is:

Because you trust me.  If you’re reading this post and have no idea what the hell I’m talking about: buy a copy of Rosemary and Rue.  If you like Urban fantasy, are sick of the paranormal or are looking for escapist fiction that doesn’t follow a formula… One Salt Sea is the book for you.  You just need to read four others first.

Publisher:  DAW Books, New York (2011)
ISBN:  978 0 7564 0683 7

*O.K., I made that up.  The bazookas, not the goblins. 

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Fan Girl Alert! Fan Girl Alert! More October Daye!

Late Eclipses, the latest installment inthe October Daye series by Seanan McGuire comes out tomorrow.  And it looks like we’ll finally find out what the deal is with Toby’s mother Amandine.

I know.  I’m a complete fan girl.  I’m OK with embracing my inner geek.

(And if you’re a friend or family member reading this… don’t even think about calling me after work tomorrow!  My phone will be off until Wednesday morning).

FEED by Mira Grant

Milk & Cookies. Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Zombies & Bloggers. The best things in life come in pairs. Mira Grant’s Newsflash Trilogy takes her readers into a world where the people no longer trust the conventional news media, we’ve cured cancer and the common cold… and side effects include lots of moaning and attempting to eat your neighbors after you die.

Georgia (George) & Shaun Mason are brother & sister bloggers. The year is 2039 and they’ve just hit the big time. One of the lead presidential candidates has made an unprecedented decision – to include bloggers as part of his media team. Senator Peter Ryman is the first person to run for president who was under the age of 18 when “The Rising” occurred, and that means he remembers the suffering that occurred when the traditional news outlets lied and only the bloggers were left to tell the truth. He’s chosen the Mason siblings – and their friend Buffy – to report on his campaign.

FEED introduces the reader to a new blogger world order. George is a Newsie – she reports straight, un-doctored truth and her reputation is impeccable. Shaun is an Irwin – thrill seekers (think Steve “the Crocodile Hunter” Irwin and the guys from Jackass) who provide valuable survival tips spiked with a heavy dose of suspense. Buffy, a “Fictional” – author and poet, as well as a techie extraordinaire – rounds out the trio.

“…We’re the all-purpose opiate of the new millennium: We report the news, we make the news, and we give you a way to escape when the news becomes too much to handle.” – Georgia Mason

Grant has created a brave new world, and if she’d stopped there I’d still want to read FEED just to explore it. But of course she gives us more than that. The story really gets going when tragedy (and zombies) strike on the campaign trail. And then strike again. And again…

Mira Grant is a pen name of Seanan McGuire. If you read BookSexy you know I’m a huge fan of her October Daye novels.  This new series has all the same strengths and weaknesses. I’m an acolyte of the Robin McKinley school of world building – throw the reader into the deep end and let them learn to swim. McGuire’s…um, I mean Grant’s… technique is the exact opposite. She explains everything and she explains it more than once. It annoys the hell out of me – Because, really, who is George (the narrator for most of the book) explaining all this stuff to? In the October Daye books the explanations can be justified because Toby describes a world that theoretically exists parallel to our own but is hidden. But Georgia would logically assume that anyone she’s talking to is a contemporary and would already have a handle on the zombie situation. This inexplicable need to dumb down the narrative keeps a really good genre novel from becoming a great one.

But, even with its flaws, FEED is still fantastic – better than most zombie movies. The characters are people readers believe in and care about. You can’t help yourself. And, I’m warning you now, when McGuire’s holding the pen anything can happen and no one is safe. The story twists, turns and ties you up in emotional knots. I laughed. I cried. (Seriously, I really did cry). O.K., it’s not going to win a National Book Award… but who cares?

“Zombies are pretty harmless as long as you treat them with respect. Some people say you should pity the zombie, empathize with the zombie, but I think they are likely to become the zombie, if you get my meaning. Don’t feel sorry for the zombie. The zombie’s not going to feel sorry for you when he starts gnawing on your head…

If you want to deal with zombies, stay away from the teeth, don’t let them scratch you, keep your hair short, and don’t wear loose clothes. It’s that simple. Making it more complicated would be boring, and who wants that? We have what basically amounts to walking corpses, dude.

Don’t suck all the fun out of it”. – Shaun Mason

Publisher:  Orbit, New York (2010)
ISBN:  978 0 316 12246 7

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Cara at Oooh… Books! was kind enough to invite me to do a guest post on her blog, expanding on my review of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.

A little snooping around her archives and I discovered that we have the similar taste in books!  Here’s a few reviews that caught my interest:

  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon is an old favorite, and one of the first books reviewed on BookSexy.  It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s opinion.
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe is a book that received a lot of buzz when it was published- though I think I’ll wait for the paperback.
  • Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett – Here’s an author I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read. Can you imagine???!  Never Read!  He’s British and has published a gazillion books – I don’t know how I’ve missed him for so long.

A Different Kind of Private Eye – The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire

If a book is released as a mass market paperback (the kind sold at grocery stores) I’m most likely going to download the e-version onto my kindle.  It is a decision based on both finance and space considerations.  These purchases tend to be impulse buys, downloaded on a lazy weekend when I want something trashy, and tossed aside after one reading.  There are a few exceptions.

One of which is the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire.  These books are the guiltiest of pleasures: urban fantasies set in a modern day San Francisco densely populated by the races of Faerie.   But don’t confuse  these stories with something put out by  Disney.  McGuire’s world is more closely related to the Brothers Grimm, Celt mythology and the old  ballads that tell of a powerful race of beings referred to as “The Kindly Ones”… in the desperate hopes that they will live up to the name.

October Daye, called Toby for short, is a Changeling (the child of a human father and fae mother).  In the human world she’s a Private Investigator and in the Summerlands, home of the fae, she’s a knight-errant bound to the Duchy of the Shadowed Hills.  Like all good P.I.’s (and knight-errants for that matter) Toby has a tragic past filled with mistakes and regrets that she can’t quite seem to shake.  The endings of these stories aren’t always happy and the successes all come with high costs attached.  McGuire has created a damaged heroine torn between two worlds and unable to find peace in either.  Add a supporting cast of characters with motivations as mixed as Toby’s and you have a winning formula.

It all makes for surprisingly good pleasure reading on beaches and buses.  And while these books are imperfect – Toby sometimes misses the obvious clues and has a bizarre habit of underestimating her powers – they are steadily improving.  A Local Habitation (a locked room mystery) was much better than Rosemary and Rue (written in a hardboiled crime/ noir style).  That pattern should hold true for the third installment, An Artificial Night , which is due out in September.

Rosemary and Rue
Publisher:  DAW  (2009)
ISBN:  978 0 7564 0571 7

A Local Habitation
Publisher:  DAW (2010)
ISBN:  978 0 7564 0596 0

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