The Brightest Fell (October Daye Series #11)

The Brightest Fell (October Daye Series #11)

by Seanan McGuire

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Overview

New York Times-bestselling October Daye faerie series • Hugo Award-winning author Seanan McGuire • "Top of my urban-paranormal series list!" —Felicia Day

Contains an original bonus novella, Of Things Unknown!


Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that.  The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.

Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.
               
When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes.  Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks.  Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance.  But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?
               
Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally.  Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.
               
This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780756413316
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Series: October Daye Series , #11
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 612,021
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Seanan McGuire lives and works in Washington State, where she shares her somewhat idiosyncratic home with her collection of books, creepy dolls, and enormous blue cats.  When not writing--which is fairly rare--she enjoys travel, and can regularly be found any place where there are cornfields, haunted houses, or frogs.  A Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula Award-winning author, Seanan's first book (Rosemary and Rue, the beginning of the October Daye series) was released in 2009, with more than twenty books across various series following since.  Seanan doesn't sleep much.  

You can visit her at www.seananmcguire.com.

Read an Excerpt

One

October 9th, 2013

Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

—William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

THE FETCH IS ONE of the most feared and least understood figures in Faerie. Their appearance heralds the approach of ines­capable death: once the Fetch shows up, there’s nothing that can be done. The mechanism that summons them has never been found, and they’ve always been rare, with only five conclusively identified in the last century. They appear for the supposedly sig­nificant—kings and queens, heroes and villains—and they wear the faces of the people they have come to escort into whatever awaits the fae beyond the borders of death. They are temporary, transitory, and terrifying.
 
My Fetch, who voluntarily goes by “May Daye,” because noth­ing says “I am a serious and terrible death omen” like having a pun for a name, showed up more than three years ago. She was sup­posed to foretell my impending doom. Instead, all she managed to foretell was me getting a new roommate. Life can be funny that way.
 
At the moment, doom might have been a nice change. May was standing on the stage of The Mint, San Francisco’s finest karaoke bar, enthusiastically bellowing her way through an off-key rendi­tion of Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window.” Her live-in girlfriend, Jazz, was sitting at one of the tables closest to the stage, chin propped in her hands, gazing at May with love and adoration all out of proportion to the quality of my Fetch’s singing.
 
May has the face I wore when she appeared. We don’t look much alike anymore, but when she first showed up at my apart­ment door to tell me I was going to die, we were identical. She has my memories up to the point of her creation: years upon years of parental issues, crushing insecurity, abandonment, and criminal activities. And right now, none of that mattered half as much as the fact that she also had my absolute inability to carry a tune.
 
“Why are we having my bachelorette party at a karaoke bar again?” I asked, speaking around the mouth of the beer bottle I was trying to keep constantly against my lips. If I was drinking, I wasn’t singing. If I wasn’t singing, all these people might still be my friends in the morning.
 
Of course, with as much as most of them had already had to drink, they probably wouldn’t notice if I did sing. Or if I decided to sneak out of the bar, go home, change into my sweatpants, and watch old movies on the couch until I passed out. Which would have been my preference for how my bachelorette party was going to go, if I absolutely had to have one. I didn’t think they were re­quired. May had disagreed with me. Vehemently. And okay, that had sort of been expected.
 
What I hadn’t expected was for most of my traitorous, backstab­bing friends to take her side. Stacy—one of my closest friends since childhood—had actually laughed in my face when I demanded to know why she was doing this to me.
 
“Being your friend is like trying to get up close and personal with a natural disaster,” she’d said. “Sure, we have some good times, but we spend half of them covered in blood. We just want to spend an evening making you as uncomfortable as you keep making the rest of us.”
 
Not to be outdone, her eldest daughter, Cassandra, had blithely added, “Besides, we don’t think even you can turn a karaoke party into a bloodbath.”
 
All of my friends are evil.
 
As my Fetch and hence the closest thing I had to a sister, May had declared herself to be in charge of the whole affair. That was how we’d wound up reserving most of the tables at The Mint for an all-night celebration of the fact that I was getting married. Even though we didn’t have a date, a plan, or a seating chart, we were having a bachelorette party. Lucky, lucky me.
 
My name is October Daye. I am a changeling; I am a knight; I am a hero of the realm; and if I never have to hear Stacy sing Jour­ney songs again, it will be too soon.
 
Danny, who was looming beside me at the bar, nudged me with his shoulder. “It ain’t so bad,” he rumbled, in a voice deep enough to sound like it had bubbled up from the bowels of the earth. It was in proportion to the rest of him: he’s a Bridge Troll. When not wearing an illusion to make himself look human, he’s more than seven feet tall, with skin like granite and hands that can punch through walls. Take the rest of him into account, and his voice is kind of dainty.
 
At the moment, he looked like any other wall of a mortal man, wearing a brightly colored Hawaiian shirt that somehow wasn’t any more garish than the décor. His hand dwarfed the cocktail glass he was holding. Its contents were an impressively virulent shade of pink.
 
“They’re going to make me sing,” I said.
 
“Probably,” he agreed, taking another sip of his cocktail. “But you know what?”
 
“What?”
 
“We’ve been here for three hours and you ain’t had to bleed on nothin’.” His grin was broad enough to show his back molars. “If we can make it another hour, you and I set a new personal best, and Quentin owes me twenty dollars.”
 
I lowered my beer bottle in order to gape at him. “You’re betting on me?”
 
“Oh, please. As if you didn’t know that going in.”
 
“I suspected, but I didn’t think any of you would be stupid enough to admit it to my face.”
 
Danny kept grinning, unrepentant to the last.
 
We weren’t the only people in The Mint. Aside from the bar staff— ortals all, although given where they worked, they proba­bly saw weirder groups than ours on a regular basis— nd the ka­raoke DJ, there were about twenty regulars who had yet to give up and surrender their places in the karaoke rotation. May had planned the party for a Tuesday night because of the bar’s popu­larity: if it had been a Saturday, those twenty regulars would have been fifty or more, and it would have been a lot harder to get to the bar for a beer.
 
I needed my beer. I needed a lot of beer. Thanks to my specific flavor of fae heritage, I heal at an incredible rate. Sadly, that means I can’t get drunk without really putting in an effort, and even if I manage it, I can’t stay that way; my hyper-efficient liver sobers me right up. By drinking almost constantly, I could stay mellow enough not to flee screaming into the night. If I stopped, sobriety would reassert itself, along with the true horror of my situation.
 
All things considered, I might have been happier getting cov­ered in blood, the betting pool be damned.
 
May finished her song to scattered applause, some of it more sincere than the rest, and hopped off the stage to sweep Jazz into her arms and kiss her deeply. That got more applause from the regulars, who clearly appreciated a good floor show. I took another swig of beer.
 
“Next up, we have . . .” The DJ squinted at the slip of paper in his hand. “Diana, come on down.”
I choked on my beer.
 
“No,” I said, refusing the evidence of my own eyes as Dianda Lorden got up and took the microphone, to general cheers from the people at her table. She was wearing a short blue-and-green–sequined dress that showed off the legs she normally doesn’t have. It was weird. I didn’t like it. “How does she even know what kara­oke is? I call shenanigans.”
 
Danny smirked.
 
Dianda is several things. Cheerfully violent. The Duchess of Saltmist. A frequent ally of mine. And, oh right, a mermaid—specifically, a Merrow—which means she lives under the Pacific Ocean and doesn’t have that many opportunities for exposure to human culture. I’d been surprised when she’d shown up at all. I certainly hadn’t been expecting her to sing.
 
I definitely hadn’t been expecting her to sing Phil Collins.
 
“I really don’t know how to deal with this,” I said, staring at the stage.
 
Danny plucked the empty beer bottle from my hand and re­placed it with a fresh one. One nice thing about being the bache­lorette: even if I was being forced to watch essentially everyone I knew play pop star while wearing illusions designed to make them look human, at least someone else was picking up my tab. I could drink until I forgot why I needed to keep drinking, let myself sober up, then do it all over again.
“So don’t deal with it,” he said. “She’s pretty good. Have another beer.”
 
“All my friends are awful and I hate you,” I said, handing the beer back to him as I slid off my stool. “Save my place. I need to pee before I do any more drinking.”
 
“You got it,” he said, and settled in to loom menacingly over my stool. The few people who’d been looking at it thoughtfully backed off, recognizing a lost cause when they saw one.
 
The Mint is designed to prioritize karaoke over alcohol, with the bar dividing the entryway— which served as a space for the serious drinkers to do their serious drinking—from the stage and perfor­mance space. The entryway side is narrow to the point of being a claustrophobic panic waiting to happen, and naturally, that’s where the bathrooms are, since that makes a poorly-timed flush less likely to disrupt someone’s Sondheim medley. I pushed through the crowd toward the back of the bar, feeling my buzz dwindle with every step I took.
 
Sometimes it’s nice to have a Timex watch for a body—I can take a licking and keep on ticking. But when I can’t stay drunk for more than ten minutes, or get enough of a jolt from a cup of coffee to actually wake myself up, it sort of sucks. It would be nice to be impossible to kill and capable of reaping the benefits of caffeine, but alas, we can’t have everything in this world.
There was a short line for the two unisex bathrooms. I took ad­vantage of the opportunity to check my phone. It was barely past midnight. We’d been here for three hours, and May had stated, several times, that she intended to close the place out.
 
Swell.
 
Dianda hit a high note; someone whooped. It was probably her son, Dean, who was refreshingly not embarrassed by everything his mother did. They have a remarkably solid relationship, one that has only been strengthened by him moving out to take over the County of Goldengreen. His father, Patrick, is Daoine Sidhe, and Dean takes after his father’s side of the family, which means he can’t breathe water. Dianda clearly misses him, and every time I see her, she’s just as clearly relieved not to have to spend her time worrying about whether he’s going to drown.
 
Faerie makes families complicated. Mermaids have sons who can’t breathe water. High Kings and Queens send their children into hiding to keep them from being assassinated before they reach their majority. Fetches become sisters.
 
People like me, who mix their fae blood with human ancestry, wind up standing on the outside looking in, wondering what it’s like to have two parents who know and accept them for who— and what—they are. My father died a long time ago, and he died be­lieving that my mother and I had been killed in a house fire. My mother . . .
 
Well, it’s complicated.

Customer Reviews

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The Brightest Fell (October Daye Series #11) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is part to a series but each story can be read as a single book. While some long term plot lines do cross book to book each one is a complete story with some unresolved longterm conflict. Seanan Mcguire never disappoints me as a reader. The long term character development is always good. Read this book in the series or start at the beginning either way you will have a good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As always well written, great pace and pure fun. My only concern is a turn toward more introspective October with lots of time spent on internal angst and loathing. Tends toward a teenager book. I really love the novellas as they expand the universe!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful installment to the series but I honestly can't wait for Toby and Tybalt's wedding!!! The short story at the end of the book was also really great. It's about April O'Leary and both of her Moms. Hate to say much more without giving anything away but OF COURSE, you need to read this book!
MaraBlaise More than 1 year ago
Alright, book 11 in a series is perhaps not the best book to start with. But, I "discovered" Seanan McGuire thanks to her Wayward Children series and thought I try this, the latest book to see if it's to my liking. Now, the book is perfectly alright, it was a lot to take in, a lot of characters to get to know, and a lot of history, but I enjoyed learning more about Toby, her friends, and family, etc. However, the story was a bit slow, with the hunt for Toby's sisters August not awfully thrilling. It's started off amusing with the bachelorette party for Toby, then Amandine, her mother shows up and kidnaps two important people in Toby's life and she will only get them back if she finds August. Yeah, she makes Joan Crawford feel warm and cuddly. I liked the story, but I did not love it. But, it did make me interested in reading the previous books. In the end, I will say that it was a pleasant book, I liked the characters, it was not hard to get into this book and understand what was going on, I just wish I had connected more with the story. The interesting thing is that there is a novella at the end of the book, which stars April O'Leary. And, story-wise was the novella much more interesting than the book's story.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Exciting page-turner. Another winning installment in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am spending all of my mad money on acquiring everything Seanan McGuire published, and you should too. Start with Rosemary and Rue, it's fantastic.
Dianne57 More than 1 year ago
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Sorry about the spoilers, however, I did warn you! I hate to say this but the reason this book got such low stars from me (but not 1 star like I think I should have, 'cause I did manage to finish the book) is that it was one of the most boring and predictable of this series. I actually fell asleep several times while reading this book and it makes me question whether or not I should keep on reading this series. Toby had just returned from her bachelorette party (for which she just sat around sneering and rueing the fact that she couldn't get drunk)-Gods forbid that such a badass admit to having a good time even if it was a Karaoke Bar to or just go with the flow (I'm rolling my eyes here if you can't already tell)- when she is visited by her mother Amandine and is forced to search for her sister August. Bad things happen to Toby's beloved and to Jazz (naturally) Simon re-enters the picture of course, and they leave on a quest to find August. Naturally, the Sea Witch has her hand in what will be an epic disaster. Most of the book was spent explaining things that we the readers already knew and re-explained them over and over again -much like how we used to hear about Toby's coffee addiction in past books. She has lost most of her Fae-ness (again) and of course gets hurt (what's new?) We finally and thankfully get to the end and of course things couldn't go worse, she is asked not to return to Sylvester's court, Luna still hates her, Toby and her beloved DON'T get married etc, Simon is now on the loose and looking to pay back Toby. *sigh* *ARC supplied by publisher
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The whole series is excellant
stickerooniDM More than 1 year ago
I recognize that I may be one of the last readers of urban fantasy to discover the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. The first couple of volumes that I read (not the first in the series) showed the signs of McGuire's crisp storytelling, but I will admit that I was just a little lost with who the plethora of characters were and their relationships to one another. But with this volume, the characters, the relationships, and their abilities became very apparent and I really enjoyed my time here. October Daye is a half-breed - half human and half changeling. She's tried desperately to live her own life and not get caught up in the politics of the Summerlands ... the fae land that exists on the other side of the mirror. Though she chose to be changeling rather than human at the age of sixteen, she ran away from her mother Amandine (the Liar) at the age of twenty-five and now tries to live peacefully on earth with her Summerland and earthling friends. As this book begins, Amandine pays October a much undesired visit. Amandine wants October to find her older sister, August. August has been missing for over 100 years. It isn't lightly that Amandine would demean herself to seeking October's help and it is reluctantly that October agrees to help. But because Amandine is the vindictive and suspicious sort, she takes a couple of captives - October's friends - to ensure that October will complete her promise. If October hadn't had any real motivation to find someone missing for a century, she had it now. But Amandine isn't known as Amandine the Liar for nothing. Wow...this was fantastic. The intricacies woven into this story are tight and spectacular. The character of October became much more clear to me with this book (again ... I haven't read the entire series), and the relationships of the multitude of characters is much clearer. I really liked the appearance of some creatures who provided a unique look at October's past, October's general character, as well as revealing the variety of life in Summerland. I really don't want to reveal too much here because McGuire is a reading delight and making discoveries right alongside her characters is absolutely delicious. The characters are well-fleshed out and the world these stories takes place in feels full and real and not just another Charlaine Harris/Carrie Vaughn/Kim Harrison rip-off. There was so much packed in these 350+ pages that I felt I read an entire epic rather than just one book. You'll want to read this. Looking for a good book? The Brightest Fell is the 11th book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. You don't need have to have read the previous ten books in this series to understand what's going on or who these characters are or to have a tremendously good read ... but you'll want to. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series, and yhis book lived up to it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book yet! Can't wait for the next one. Good read Seannan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And the second novella was an unexpected treat.
BenT-Gaidin More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent, if also wrenching to read. It starts out so happy, with karaoke and a bachelorette party even... and then things start tumbling down again. As Toby notes, these are all problems she had known about, and put off dealing with; on the other hand (and as she _doesn't_ note), these are only _her_ problems because she feels responsible for them, rather than through her own fault. It's also a book about families, and this is where it hurts the most, in the contrasts between the family she (and others) have made of bonds of trust and love and support, and the family ties that bind and abuse. We see the mistakes people have made with what they thought were the best of intentions, the harms done in a thousand thoughtless, petty, cruel ways, and the way those acts echo out to everyone around them. There's also a much happier short story at the end, featuring other characters we haven't read about for ages. This one is about the long edge of grief, and memory, and finally a miracle. It doesn't exactly balance the other story, but it's another side of it, the way connections endure, and another last desperate hope.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... but I'm going to have to :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it. It is October at her best
S_White_1218 More than 1 year ago
The Brightest Fell First and foremost, thank you to Netgalley and Berkley/DAW for approving me for an ARC in one of my absolute favorite series. I was given a copy of this book to read in exchange for nothing more than an honest review. Seanan McGuire is one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of reading. She knows how to set up the action, to build the plot to the explosive scenes you know are coming, but somehow seem to still usually subvert expectations and provide an even better result than you had predicted. She excels at character development -- making us feel and care and relate and share hopes and fears with these characters. She's set up a beautiful, dark, lovely, dangerous, amazing world and an extremely diverse and developed cast. Most importantly, she knows just where the next piece of the story needs to take us to push the overall series narrative forward, every single time. This novel is no exception. In fact, it's one of the brightest (see what I did there?) examples of her talents as a writer. She finds a believable way to force October onto another hero's quest, with limited access to her true allies, plenty of complications along the way, and massive amounts of development in Toby's emotional growth AND in some of the secondary characters as well. It left the book feeling reminiscent of some of the earlier books of the series where the cast hadn't grown as large, but with the more mature and confident and loved Toby that has come from the series as time passes and her "family" grows. And this one referenced the events of so many of the other books, and revealed that so many of the little things were bread crumbs to a bigger story... I'm beyond excited for the next few books. I have a feeling that the search for Oberon is a big part of endgame, and I'm ready for Toby to show the world of Faerie just how amazing her and her family is. I'm thoroughly impressed with Seanan McGuire every time I pick up one of her novels. Even the worst of her novels is still near to masterpiece. If you haven't started the October Daye series, it's time to jump in (with Rosemary and Rue, book 1). Seriously, you should have started years ago. Go, get on that. NOW. (PS- Chapter one of this book is absolutely one of my favorite opening scenes from any book ever. It features one of the best characters to ever grace the pages of a book... and I can't say more, because spoilers.) Of Things Unknown Also included in this book is a brand new shorty, staring the creepy but cool digital Dryad, April O'Leary, and provides some resolution to some stories from way back in the beginnings of the series. It's well known that most of McGuire's shorties can be extremely heartwrenching. This one was an interesting surprise -- not only because it's got some happy moments in it, but because we got to see October from someone else's perspective, we got to see the inner workings of a very intriguing character, and we got more of Seanan's ability to put fresh spins on myths and the fae, etc. Five stars for the shorty as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything Mcguire writes is amazing but this story should have trigger warnings for those with their own mommy issues... before the 3rd chapter was over, my head was hurting and I wanted Amadine dead so badly I was ready to hurl my tablet against the wall.
JAislynn More than 1 year ago
***This book was reviewed for Berkley via Netgalley The Brightest Fell is number eleven (!) in the October Daye urban-fantasy/paranormal series. Eleven! How is this the first time I'm reading this series? It has all the things I love. It's got many types of Fae folk, including cait sidhe. I love cait sidhe! It has a sassy heroine, relatable and engaging characters, and a great storyline. I am mystified at the lack of this series in my life. October 'Toby’ Daye has a most unexpected visitor in the early morning hours after her bachelorette party. Her estranged mother has come looking for help October isn't inclined to give. Unfortunately, pureblood Fae aren't in the habit of being told no, and those of the Firstborn even less so. When Toby refuses to cooperate, Amandine forces two of her friends into their animal forms, one cait sidhe and one ravenkin, and kidnaps them. Knowing how fickle her mother can be, October must find August sooner rather than later. There's just one problem. She's been missing for longer than Toby’s been alive. About a century to be exact. This takes 'cold trail’ to a whole new level. In order to have a chance at finding August, Toby must waken one of her most feared enemies from his enchanted slumber, and trust he will be more interested in helping with this particular case than he might be in harming her. It’s his daughter that's missing after all. Coming in at this point in the series, I am forming first impression relationships with all of the characters. This will be interesting when I go back to the beginning, especially, I think, with Simon. I kept reading about how bad he is, or about the bad things he's done in the name of finding his daughter. Yet… I liked him from the moment he woke. He seems a person who's made a great many mistakes, but the underlying motivation is love. I disliked Amandine from the moment I met her. She came across as a real @$$. Family, and what defines it, is a big theme all through this book. Toby is looking for a sister who's never really been a sister, for a mother who never acted like a mother, while traveling with the person who is her legal, though not biological, father. To ensure Toby’s cooperation, two of her bond family, her family of choice, are taken. Oh yeah, and she's traveling with her Fetch, May. In this series, Fetches are death omens. May became family instead. Besides Toby’s familial relations, there's also the dynamic between Simon and his twin brother Sylvester. This quest forces Toby and the others to reconsider what they know about Simon. As I mentioned earlier, this is the first October Daye book I've read, so I cannot say how it stacks up against the rest of the series, but I found it to be well-written and very thought provoking. I loved that McGuire didn't do massive information dumps to recap previous information. I found it was rather neatly done as part of the on-going story, for the most part. Usually, by the time a series gets eleven books in, things start to flag. I didn't get that feel here, and I'm very eager to read the next one, and all the past ones. I just hope jumping in at this point doesn't ruin how I view the past books by knowing how the characters will evolve. Spoilers don't bother me. Obviously I would never have considered starting at the end instead of the beginning, but sometimes I don't like personality changes, and though they may have been gradual over books 1-10, it'll be abrupt to me. Highly recommended,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A 3 at the beginning, a 4 in the middle, and a 5 by the end.