Review: A Killing Frost – Seanan McGuire

Review: A Killing Frost – Seanan McGuireA Killing Frost
by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #14
Also in this series: The Brightest Fell, Night and Silence
Publisher: DAW
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Source: NetGalley

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie's archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future.... and the man who represents her family's past.

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Look, there’s a reason this has a super short blurb and an ominous title. The easiest non-spoilery way to review this book is just to say OMG WHAT WHAT WHAT YES WAIT TOBY NO WHAT OMG and leave it at that. If you’re looking for something a little more useful, read on.

“We carry ourselves forward through time, with no possible way of knowing what’s on the other end. We have to keep going, because standing still isn’t an option. It never has been. That’s where people like my mother and Eira get it wrong: they think if they stomp their feet and hold their breath, they can keep the world from changing. And it doesn’t work that way. It never has.”

Before starting this book, it would be a good idea to be refamiliarize yourself with the plot of the eleventh book, The Brightest Fell, aka “Amandine kidnaps Tybalt and Jazz to make Toby go find her sister August” as many of the plot threads left hanging get resolved here. The pacing is slower than the previous books, especially in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. If we’re going for a theme word for this book, it’s “change.” And one of the things I love about this series is that things change. The October of A Killing Frost isn’t the same woman she was in Rosemary and Rue. No character stays stagnant, and the world around them changes as a result of their actions as well. The things that happen in this book have been building and hinted at for a long time. The author isn’t afraid to drastically up the stakes and I cannot even begin to imagine how the repercussions of this book will be felt in the rest of the series.

“I trust her to be October, and what I’ve learned, what’s done nothing to stop my heart being given to her care, is that to be October is to be constantly in the path of destruction and not always to have the sense to step aside. I’m uncomfortable not because I don’t trust her, but because I trust her too well.”

In terms of side characters, we do get a lot less Tybalt in this book (cue sad eyes), but the parts involving him are sweetly romantic and utterly heart wrenching. It’s hard being Toby’s friend (I think we all remember what happened with that knife and her spine in the last book) and it’s even harder being the person who loves her and is loved by her. Their relationship isn’t perfect and they both have missteps, but at the end of the day they understand each other and are willing to put the work in. There’s also a few peeks into some of the other established relationships, plus a new one that came completely out of left field but honestly felt right to me. There’s also the usual doses of Quentin and May as well as everybody’s favorite Firstborn.

“Love can’t always save you, but love should always try to guide you home.”

It’s also a chance to revisit characters we haven’t seen much in the past two books. As you can guess from the blurb, Simon plays a major role in this book, and Toby is forced to confront her feelings about him – legally her “father,” since humans don’t count  – and how his actions have affected her and those she loves. He is, after all, the person who turned her into a fish as a way of saving her life, with no regard for whether that was something she’d want or how it would ruin her mortal family, the person who traded his way home to save his daughter, and the person who willingly served Eira with all her coldblooded machinations. After the last book’s exploration of justice and mercy, watching Toby work through those feelings is both painful and freeing.

“Trust Toby to punch the unstoppable force of chaos,” said May. “You know she’ll do it.”

Overall, this is another excellent entry and I cannot wait for the next book, where the blurb seems to suggest Toby and Tybalt will finally get married – hopefully before her wedding dress gets soaked with blood!

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