A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire (October Daye, #14)
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.
TITLE: A Killing Frost
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
PUBLISHER: Daw Books
LENGTH: 302 (368) pages*
GENRE: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
*A KILLING FROST contains the novella SHINE IN PEARL, which comprises the final fifty or so pages of the book as published.
Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Secondary Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s), Trans Minor Character(s).
A KILLING FROST brings suitable resolution to some of the wounds and brokenness which have plagued Toby's family, finding those who have lost their way home. It's the culmination of things which have been a long time coming, and what closure we get is the sweeter for it. This is my favorite book in the series so far, surmounting at last my love for AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT without diminishing it. It has the best possible answer on all fronts to the situation with Simon. It handles the resolution of many things in a way that feels suitably dramatic for how long they've been left lingering, fitting something monumental into a single volume in a way that suits it without making that triumph feel easy. I loved seeing more of May and Spike than we normally do, along with a normal amount of Quentin and a bit of Dean.
It wraps up something which has been open for a long time. I'm not sure if the main storyline counts as having started in this one, since it is explicitly at attempt to address something that was left broken until now. However, while the reasons for the journey were laid well before this book began, the inciting incident pushing them to address things Right Now was fully within this volume, and this has its own story within the larger saga. It's not the last book and it leaves open a very major thing that definitely needs to actually happen at some point, as well as the various threads from previous books which this was never meant to address since it's not time yet for them. The main character is still Toby, but a few key moments play with what it means to be Toby and the contrast between those sections and the rest of this book (let alone the rest of the series) is stark. Her voice there is distinct from herself, and it's heartbreaking to read. This book would not make sense if someone didn't know about the series. Yes, things are explained as much as possible, but without going back to the last pivot point (I recommend A RED-ROSE CHAIN for this) there's too much history here for it to stand alone if someone found it at random. This is a culmination of many things, some wonderful and some devastating, and it needs that backstory to make sense. A long series needs jumping-on points to anchor newer readers, but this isn't one of them and it doesn't feel like it's meant to be.
This is a damn good book and I'm excited to see what comes next.
CW for kidnapping, blood, self harm, violence.