How did I get it: The library.
Why did I get it: I enjoyed the first October Daye book and wanted to give the second one a try. The book will also count towards my Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge for 2011.
How I would rate it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas…
Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn’t stopped, January may be the next victim.
Review: A Local Habitation really helped me to appreciate the first book in the October Daye series a little bit more. The complexity of McGuire’s world is awesome and so is her ability to explain various types of fairies as well as their issues with one another. She also continues to understand the importance of having an equal balance of Fantasy and Urban in Urban Fantasy by never overlooking the way the human world and fairy world affect, taint, and even harm one another. But here in the second book, I felt like there was a lot more going on character-wise as well as plot-wise and most of it was an improvement.
This time around, Toby gets to be more in her element with much more to do and less time to chat up old exes. I finally got a better sense of her as a character and a bit more empathy for her issues. There also isn’t a lot of romance in this book so much as Toby is trying to develop connections and friendships while even taking on a somewhat mentoring role in regards to Quentin. I also got to know and like other minor characters from Rosemary and Rue like Quentin and Tybalt as well as new minor characters like Elliot, Alex, Jan, and April. I’m still not cool with Toby and Connor or Toby’s attitude in regards to Sylvester’s troubled daughter. Happily, these issues were not main focal points and I’m hoping eventually that Toby will eventually have cause to change her mind. At least Toby doesn’t put up with much nonsense from any other fairy just because she ends up developing feelings for them, genuine or otherwise. Although in that respect, I have to say I felt just the tiniest smallest bit bad for Alex if only because he can’t be anything but what he is.*
The vaguely horrific murder mystery that plays out in A Local Habitation was interesting if somewhat predictable due to knowing a bit about fairy behavior, being suspicious of holographic avatars thanks to Resident Evil, and there not really being any other possible suspect with the right sort of motive. Even then there were plenty of twists, and the way it all came together surprised me so that was pretty cool. Besides, I’m not much of a mystery buff. As a reader, I definitely care more about enjoying the ride than trying to figure out who the bad guy is along the way. And now I can honestly say I like Toby. I’m not sure I love her yet, but we’ll see what happens with the next two books.
In conclusion, A Local Habitation was a very enjoyable follow-up to Rosemary and Rue and much harder for me to put down than its prequel. I plan on continuing the series in the very near future.
* Then again I also felt that way about the incubus in Sarah Monette’s “Elegy for a Demon Lover” so your mileage may vary.