Two parallel stories, one about an understandable, but impetuous act during World War 2 with potentially devastating personal and political consequences for all involved, and the other about a 30 something librarian who suddenly finds themselves enmeshed in the hidden bureaucracy of the supernatural come together in some excellent world building.
October Daye is an urban fantasy series starring a PI who bridges the gap between fairy and humans. On its face, there is nothing to distinguish it from any of the other long running series like Dresden/The Hollows (PI), True Blood/Mary Gentry (fairies), etc, except it is a perennial best series nominee for the Hugos. Indeed, I’ve read and briefly reviewed the October Daye series not once, but twice before, putting them in the middle of my Hugo Series ballot in both 2017 and 2019. After the last round I praised them as “weapons grade escapism”, but given I enjoyed them enough this year to reread the series, they deserve a bit more than that. In particular, it misses what is the key strength of the series – a family of characters that I want to hang out with each instalment, the lexical equivalent of a great sitcom or procedural.
In addition to more than a dozen novels, McGuire has published nearly as many short works in the October Daye Universe. These break broadly into two categories: interstitials between the novels, which were eventually just included in her later books; and prequel works spanning both major cast members as well as minor or historic characters. […]
She imprisoned a god, but her work’s not done…I liked Trail of Lightning, quite a bit, but Storm of Locusts feels like the full realisation of Roanhorse’s vision. By taking us out of Navajo territory, we gain perspective on both the safety and austerity afforded by the four walls, and the translocation of Diné gods into more conventional settings makes the world bigger by quelling any idea that they might be genius loci, rather than world spanning deities. Indeed, while fundamentally built on the monster of the week format, Storm of Locusts puts meat on it, with both interesting tangents and a strong plot, expanding upon Trail of Lighting in almost every aspect.A stronger sequel to an already good book.
In for a penny, in for a pound. I reread an October Daye book and posted old reviews for the first seven books, and I’ve ended up rereading the series and figured I would fill out the rest. Obviously once you get to book 8 of a series, the only people reading are the hard core fans, so assume that you should go back and read the earlier books before getting to these ones, and that later reviews might contain spoilers for earlier books. Thanks to The Unkindest Tide being overdue, this completes the current run of novels, and just leaves the short fiction to review…
PUFFS is clearly made by someone who loves Harry Potter, but is not blind to its faults. Ever since it appeared on the scene, fans have been obsessed with which house they would fit in (Brave, Smart, Snake), but it was fairly clear that not all houses were created equal. Puffs answers the question, what is it like to be in the other, other, other house at Hogwarts, in the most humorous way possible…
Of all the Hugo categories, this is both the strangest, and the hardest to prepare for. Basically it is the best series over 240,000 words (about 500 pages), that hasn’t won this award yet, and had an entry come out in the previous year (no matter how small).
In honour of its nomination for best series, I dug out my old reviews of the individual October Daye Books. Hopefully this will herald a new era of me collecting my previous reviews onto one site.
The marquee category, prima inter pares, what people mean when they refer to “The Hugo Award”, the novel category is open to works greater than 40,000 words (~80 pages plus). It is also the category I dread the most; no matter how bad a short story is, it will be gone in a moment, while even a good story can drag at novel length. This year I’ve read two going in, Trail of Lightning and Revenant Gun.
This is a pretty self explanatory category typically composed of graphic novels and trade paperbacks. The big story of 2019 is how stagnant the selection is; half of the Graphic Story slate has been locked in since 2017, in the form of Saga (six time nominee), Monstress (two time winner), and Paper Girls. Fortunately two of the repeats (Monstress and Saga) were my top picks of last year, so it is hard to begrudge them their perennial status.