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Dayes of Glory - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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March 10th, 2011


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12:22 am - Dayes of Glory
For over a year, I have been telling you to read Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye series. Rosemary and Rue introduced the changeling detective, a prickly private eye caught between the worlds of human and Faerie and drawn into a murder mystery that opens old wounds. A Local Habitation found Toby trapped in a Fremont start-up with a murdered picking off victims one by one. And in An Artificial Night, Toby faced off with Blind Michael, one of the fearsome, powerful Firstborn. Over the course of three books, Toby's racked up quite a few corpses and made more than a few enemies...and everything is about to come back and bite her in the ass all at once.

If you have been waiting to see how the series would do, if you have been waiting to make sure it didn't start sucking after the first book, if you have been waiting to see if this series was really worth your time, I am here to tell you that NOW IS THE TIME.

Late Eclipses, the fourth Toby Daye novel, is my favorite since the first, Rosemary and Rue. Part of it is environmental: after one book spent in a building and one book largely spent in a Faerie forest, it was refreshing to get back to the familiar environs of Shadowed Hills and the Bay Area. Part of it is characters: at this point, there are many characters I just love spending time with, even if it's only for a few pages, and the addition of May, Toby's Fetch, to the cast is a huge plus.

But what really makes this book so strong is that Toby has a very personal connection to the mystery. Not only is the villain a dark figure from her past—like the previous book, this is not a whodunit, as Toby is confident she knows the culprit very early on (or does she?)—but she's targeting the people Toby loves. This is in addition to the multiple people who want to kill her. She's going to have to do some very expedient detective work—mixing magic and science!—if she wants to catch the culprit and save her friends.

And yet, as exciting as the main plot is, the real reason it's this book that makes me say, "Go, go pick up the first three books and get in on this series NOW," is that through the course of the story, seanan_mcguire pays off many things that have been set up and brimming throughout the first three books. Something very important happens in this book. It may very well make you go OMGWTF. And then you will re-read certain passages in previous books and you will see that the clues were there all a-fucking-long. And then you will wonder what other clues are staring you right in the face, and you will not be able to wait to see where this story goes.

I've enjoyed Toby's adventures so far, but Late Eclipses has made me a true believer: I'm in it for the long haul.



Similarly, I'm now hooked on Morning Glories, the hot new Image title from Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma that's been described as Runaways meets Lost, although there's a fair bit of Prisoner influence as well.

Welcome to Morning Glory Academy, one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Meet Casey, the strong-willed blonde girl. Meet Zoe, the bitchy Indian girl. Meet Jade, the emo redhead. Meet Hunter, the geeky redhead. Meet Ike, the sociopathic rich boy. Meet Jun, the strong Japanese boy.

They're being watched. They're being observed. And they can't leave.

There is so much WTF in this book, but it's deftly balanced by the more grounded character interactions. As you'd hope and expect, Spencer draws real characters out of the basic archetypes, and I wanted to know more about all of them. The teen dialogue is good and appropriately snappy, while the adult dialogue is a little more cryptic at times. And unlike Runaways, these six kids don't automatically form some kind of superteam: hell, they don't even all get along. Also, they don't have superpowers. OR DO THEY.

But let me get back to the WTF. You guys, this book is fucked up. Shit happens in the very first issue that makes you wonder how in the hell MGA manages to pass as a real school because they are so completely terrible, but I'm sure they have their ways. They do have the equivalent of the Smoke Monster, and it's a doozy...plus you also get a WTF-y clue about it in the first few issues. There is a lot of crazy shit going down at MGA, and there are many cryptic and vague conversations about what its purpose is, what they're doing with these kids and what they need them for, but then there's more WTF to distract you.

While there are plenty of mysteries that need solving, the characters shine as well. I even want to know more about Miss Daramount and Mr. Gribbs, who Number Two it up in entertaining and chilling ways. And because the first arc focuses on Casey, I think she's awesome, and I am rooting for her to kick everyone's ass. But it's clear each character is going to get his or her chance to be the Most Interesting Character.

Nick Spencer is kind of obligated to say that he has it all planned out, that he has an endgame in mind, and that we'll be able to look back at these first issues for signs that he knew what he was doing right from the start, and I will take his word for it. There's already more than enough going on with the Academy and with the characters to keep me interested, and not just me. Morning Glories is one of the big hits of 2010, selling out issues like crazy, so it's time to get on this exciting and intriguing train while it's hot. The first trade is only ten bucks, issue #7 is on the stands, and issue #8 will be out this month, and, boom, you're caught up. NOW IS THE TIME.
Current Mood: grumpygrumpy
Current Music: Cibo Matto - Beef Jerky

(10 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:daynr
Date:March 10th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC)
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I've read the first 3 and enjoyed them, though I like the first far more than than the second two. I don't track when they get released so I'm glad the fourth is out. Now I just have to get through at least one, preferably two books, so I can get it! (I instituted a rule about how many books I can have in my queue and got screwed by getting over a million for xmas.)
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 10th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
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Managing the reading queue can be very difficult, I know!

I think you'll dig the fourth one if you've been enjoying the series. The fifth book comes out in September, and then they'll be coming out every September.
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[User Picture]
From:etherealclarity
Date:March 11th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC)
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I read them! The first three Toby Daye's! I didn't know the fourth was out! I will definitely read it soon. :D
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:March 12th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
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On a more serious note, how are things down there? Any tsunami damage?
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:March 12th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, the Bay Area didn't get hit very hard at all.
[User Picture]
From:the_narration
Date:March 12th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
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That's good to hear. Seattle's basically immune because of the islands shielding the mouth of the sound, but I heard some places down there in Cali got hit.
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[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:February 11th, 2013 09:03 pm (UTC)
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So...Saturday I read Late Eclipses and had been trying to stifle myself from, you know, expectations, knowing that you'd said in various posts that it was your fave. I was really excited for it because I just KNEW it had to be payoff time. There were so many Chekhov-style guns in the earlier books I've been clawing my way through this series WAITING for, well, the stuff this book deals with to be dealt with.

Also I read One Salt Sea yesterday and kind of liked it even more. Possibly because I called the ending, but not in a way that I felt like it had been predictable. It was just satisfying that I'd called about four major plot points.

And now I feel like I have way more Bay Area geography in my head than I should.

The bummer part is I've been steamrolling this series because for some reason I thought there were already, say, 10 out, and now I realize there aren't that many left before I will have to WAIT for more. Especially if I keep reading one a day. Oops.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:February 11th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you're loving them so much!

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