October "Toby" Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood.
Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, most changelings are second-class children of Faerie spending their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills.
Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning - otherwise known as Fremont, CA - to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment - but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. January runs a company that produces computer fantasy games, and her domain is a buffer between Sylvester's realm and a rival duchy whose ruler is looking for an opportunity to seize control. And that is the least of January's problems. For Tamed Lightning has somehow been cut off from the other domains, and now someone has begun to murder January's key people. If Toby can't find and stop the killer soon, she may well become the next victim...
Seanan McGuire launched herself into the spotlight last year with her book Rosemary and Rue. What a wonderful book that was - I even picked it for my best book of September 2009. I was afraid that she wouldn't be able to repeat the magic for A Local Habitation; Rosemary and Rue was so original and astonishing that surely she would have used up all her brainpower on the first try. Shows how much I know - A Local Habitation may be even better than Rosemary and Rue. Yes, it's that good.
You've got to love Toby. She's still trying to figure herself out and is working to be a human again: she's got her PI credentials back, she's socializing and is going out with friends on Girls Night Out. No particular prospects are looking up in her love life as long as she pretends there's nothing between her and Tybalt. Ah, Tybalt. Look at who Heather from Darkly Reading picked as her Tybalt. I think I said Holy Cow! when I saw those pics :) Hollered it, more like. You'd think that the Cat King wouldn't be so appealing but the way McGuire writes him is pitch perfect. It looks as if he'll be in An Artificial Night quite a bit, out in September. Goody.
I loved pretty much everything about this book. It had another freaky mystery for Toby to solve. We get to see even more Fae (I wish I could get Elliot to make a bi-weekly visit to my house). We get more of Toby's wonderful sense of humor, especially when she interacts with Quentin, her knight-in-training assistant Boy Wonder. I was surprised and yet not that there's little to no mention of her estranged family, her child and spouse/boyfriend. I guess it's a little too soon for that. Maybe in book three? C'mon September! And October :)