When Sorrows Come by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #15)

It’s hard to be a hero. There’s always something needing October “Toby” Daye’s attention, and her own desires tend to fall by the wayside in favor of solving the Kingdom’s problems. That includes the desire to marry her long-time suitor and current fiancĂ©, Tybalt, San Francisco’s King of Cats. She doesn’t mean to keep delaying the wedding, it just sort of…happens. And that’s why her closest friends have taken the choice out of her hands, ambushing her with a court wedding at the High Court in Toronto. Once the High King gets involved, there’s not much even Toby can do to delay things…

…except for getting involved in stopping a plot to overthrow the High Throne itself, destabilizing the Westlands entirely, and keeping her from getting married through nothing more than the sheer volume of chaos it would cause. Can Toby save the Westlands and make it to her own wedding on time? Or is she going to have to choose one over the other?

TITLE: When Sorrows Come
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
YEAR: 2021
LENGTH: 303 (384) pages*
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Secondary Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s), Trans Secondary Character(s).

*WHEN SORROWS COME contains the novella AND WITH REVELING, which comprises the final sixty or so pages of the book as published.

It's the culmination of a great many things, a chance to happen upon trouble and help save the day once more. With nearly equal parts prep, stress, and investigating high treason, WHEN SORROWS COME is Toby and Tybalt's wedding (and it's about time). The wedding is beautiful, so much thought went into every bit of it, from the actual event in the book to just the right level of death and danger trying to get in the way. This doesn't develop much for Tybalt, since he's been ready for the wedding and Toby's the one who has to come to terms with this being a good thing she can actually have. It's well balanced between introspection and danger, with some tangible things for Toby to fight as she's having her internal struggle. Toby's relationship with Quentin gets examined in a new context now that Toby is around his family and former home. It changes and reshuffles things in a complicated but ultimately good way and leads to some of my favorite moments from this one.

This wraps up an enormous thing left hanging from... the last several books, and that's the wedding! For real, it actually, finally is happening, Toby is in a wedding dress on the cover and that's no lie. There is a major storyline which starts here and wasn't present before, though the underpinnings of it (as per usual) can be glimpsed in the older books. A major thing is introduced and resolved as part of that storyline. This isn't the end of the series, and it leaves the emotional arc of a really important relationship of Toby's in an unresolved place that I'm sure future books will address. It also sets up a positive trajectory to a few more relationships that had been in a precarious or downright negative place before this, and I'm looking forward to how all of those continue to play out, for good or for ill. The wedding and reception scenes made sure to hint very specifically at something that Toby hasn't given much thought before not but I'm pretty sure is going to become important within a book or two. Toby is still the narrator and her voice is consistent with the previous books. I think this would be an okay jumping-on point, but it'll definitely make more sense if the reader started at least as far back as A RED-ROSE CHAIN. For someone determined to move boldly onwards without reading the previous books, I suspect this will be an okay landing place because it clearly establishes the status quo of a lot of Toby's relationships through the framing of who is and isn't at the wedding and why (some of that happens in the included novella, so definitely don't skip that). The wedding itself will be a lot more satisfying to readers who have been along for as much of Toby's journey as possible, of course. 

AND WITH REVELING is the included novella for WHEN SORROWS COME, and it's the reception after the wedding, literally. I love the blessings, it's a great way to get intimate conversations (some more tearful than others) in such a large party. I like it as a novella because its story arc is distinct from the main book. The violence and threats have been dealt with and now they can party. This sets up several things for later books to address, and is a very important part of the story. Definitely don't skip this novella after reading the main book.

CW for cursing, blood (graphic), gore, self harm, violence (graphic), injury description, murder, death (graphic).

Novella CW for violence (backstory), injury description, genocide (backstory), death (backstory).

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A pale woman with brown hair in a white formal dress, her waist stained with blood and a sword in her right hand. In front of her is a banquet table struck with arrows.


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