Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Candle-Ends: Reviews
Erin Bellavia

Ashes of Honor

I’m going to start this review with a confession: I don’t think I’m very good at writing reviews. When I love things, I love them. I loave them. I lurve them. And when I love things, I have a hard time being objective. (I do occasionally hate things. I tend to avoid writing about them and instead pretend they didn’t happen.)

It was no surprise to me that I lurrrrrved Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire. Ashes is the sixth installment in the adventures of October “Toby” Daye, a half-human, half-fae private investigator living in San Francisco. Life hasn’t been easy for Toby; she’s been turned into a fish, watched friends and lovers die, and has nearly died herself too many times to count. Toby’s stories have a certain noir feel to them, and I don’t think it would shock anyone to learn that McGuire was a fan of the three-season series Veronica Mars. (I usually picture Toby as a darker-haired version of Kristen Bell.)

When I reviewed the first book in the series, Rosemary and Rue, I said, “Seanan McGuire’s first novel, Rosemary and Rue, is for anyone who has ever believed in faeries, for anyone who has ever wished to step into a wardrobe and out into a world that is magical and every bit as real as our own.” I stand by that statement, and would apply it to any and all of the books in this series. If you read one, you’ll be a part of Toby’s world forever, looking anxiously forward to the next time you can return.

Ashes of Honor has the usual mystery for Toby and her ragtag Scooby gang to solve; Toby’s fellow knight, Etienne, hires her to find his missing changeling daughter, Chelsea (whose existence has just been revealed to him). Chelsea is a teleporter like her father, but her power is out of control and threatens to tear holes in the very fabric of Faerie if she isn’t found and stopped. She’s popping in and out of realms she shouldn’t be able to enter, and someone seems to be using her for their own nefarious purposes. It’s a great adventure with a series of twists and surprises, and an ending that satisfies.

Even more satisfying, though, was the development of Toby’s relationship with Tybalt, the local King of Cats—a “will they or won’t they” that’s been in the works since the first book. I won’t give away details, but I don’t think any Tybalt fans will be disappointed. I know I wasn’t!

If you’ve followed the events of the last couple of books, you know that Toby has gained a near-supernatural ability to heal herself. One thing I really appreciated about this book was the way Toby talked about the injuries still hurting—an idea that gets glossed over in a lot of stories in which characters have healing powers.

Toby’s world gets richer and deeper with every book, a testament to McGuire’s worldbuilding ability. I’ve never found a trip into Toby’s San Francisco (and the pockets of Faerie that overlap it) disappointing, and I’m always looking forward to the next time I can return.

Tl; dr: Ashes of Honor was awesome. I lurved it. I hope you do, too.

Ashes of Honor hits the shelves September 4.


Seanan McGuire wrote Finding Your Fairy Godmother: A Guide to Acquiring a Literary Agent for Absolute Blank in September 2009. We interviewed her alter-ego, Mira Grant, in April 2011.

Seanan’s Live Journal
Seanan’s Twitter
Mira Grant’s Twitter


Email: billiard[at]

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