Joshua Palmatier's Reviews > A Local Habitation

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
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Jul 21, 2010

really liked it

A Local Habitation is Seanan McGuires' second book in her October Daye series. I read the first one and enjoyed the writing and the characters and the worldbuilding, but felt that there was some random wandering around in the middle of the novel.

Not so here. This book was extremely focused and kept me riveted to the story throughout the entire book. The basic idea of the world setting is that the fairies haven't gone anywhere, they've just learned to live alongside the rest of the humanity. So in San Francisco, you have the human world and, hidden by gateways in places like Golden Gate Park, the fairy realms alongside them. In A Local Habitation, the main character October Daye is send to an adjacent fairy realm called Tamed Lightning localted "next to" Fremont, CA, sort of a buffer realm between two much more powerful realms. This buffer realm is ruled over by January O'Leary, the niece of October (call me Toby) Daye's leige. He's sent her to check up on his niece, since he's lost contact with her and he doesn't trust the other more powerful realm not to have taken over the buffer realm.

Of course, what Toby finds when she gets there isn't what she expected. When people begin to die, she has to use all of her powers to find out who the killer is and what their motives are. This is a mystery in the grand tradition, all mixed up with the urban fantasy setting that many of us adore.

I have to admit that I'm not a huge urban fantasy fan. I haven't read too many that I've actually enjoyed that much, ones where the world sucked me in and held me there, but Seanan McGuire has done that for me. I love the set-up of the world; I love the main character; and at least for this novel in the series, I loved the story and the mystery and the resolution.

The best thing about the story is that we get to see some rather cool uses for Toby's blood magic and we get to learn more about the way the fairy world works. There are two instances of her magic in here that really pushed my WOW factor, but I can't explain them without spoiling some of the plot. But very, very cool. My only qualm about the story itself was that at one point I got incredibly frustrated with Toby because a few of the characters kept not answering her questions and she let the non-answers slide when it was obvious that the answer was a key to the entire mystery. In one or two of the instances where this occurred, I was OK with it, because Toby was nearly unconscious and couldn't press the issue realistically, but there were still one or two spots where I thought she should have been more forceful in getting an answer immediately. However, this qualm didn't destroy my enjoyment of the novel in the slightest.

So, in summary, A Local Habitation rocked and has put Seanan McGuire on my must read list for future novels. Anyone who enjoys urban fantasy--especially ones without vampires or werewolves as main characters--MUST check these books out.
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