Review: A Killing Frost (October Daye #14) by Seanan McGuire

This review may contain necessary spoilers for previous books in the series, but I will do my best to be vague and not spoil this book

I really wanted to enjoy this book in the series more than I did the last, but I didn’t. There were good moments, don’t get me wrong, and I think some really promising things were set up in this novel, but I think A Killing Frost (like The Unkindest Tide before it) is a better series entry than stand alone book.

I understand that thirteen books is a long time to maintain storylines, realistic character progression and build a mythology in a natural feeling way, but a lot of the things that happened in this book seemed tacked in, rather than the exciting series developments they should have been.

The cover is fine, but October really should have pale hair by now. Also I’m reasonably sure her leather jacket is brown? It doesn’t matter, though, it accurately captures the mood, and doesn’t unnecessarily sexualise anyone, so I’m not mad at it

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.

The characters and continued development in this novel was, as always, a strong point. Simon is a fantastic character, and his storyline I quite enjoyed. Especially where things ended, I thought that was fantastic, and I look forward to seeing things progress from there.

I hate the way Luna’s entire personality shifted when her kitsune skin was removed. I don’t find her interactions with Toby to be realistic, and for that reason, they often lack emotional pay-off (for me! As always, this review is my opinion, and not a subjective statement of fact). Sylvester also seemed to become a shadow of himself, though I hope that some of the developments from this book change that going forward.

Rayselline is a character I cannot wait to see re-introduced, and I hope this happens soon. Especially with the mentioned possibility for her future that gets brought up in this book (sorry I can’t be more specific without absolutely spoiling something).

I feel like Quentin and Tybalt were hardly in this book, but that’s another unavoidable problem of the long-running series. There’s not enough page-time for everyone to participate. May as a character could stand to be fleshed out more, and I’d especially like to see her interact with Toby’s blood family. I can’t remember how they treat May, and I think estranged-sister meets death-omen-turned-sister-by-choice could be a really entertaining dynamic.

One thing I feel the need to mention is Walther’s relationship with Cassandra seeming weird to me. She is eighteen, he’s over one hundred. Even with the respective maturity levels they presumably have because of their respective heritage, that seems questionable. Toby did mention that it seemed weird, but I honestly don’t know why it was included.

I enjoyed what this book did for the series, and I was entertained overall but I felt like the storyline of this book in particular was weak. A lot of the big twists seemed anticlimactic, obviously coming for a while, and others (like discovering the place Luna and Rayselline were kept captive) seemed…arbitrary? Even one of the major twists (and what I assume was meant to be a big tension-filled moment at the end of the book) seemed to be introduced just so they could happen.

I really like this series, and I like the characters, but I felt like the recent books didn’t quite reach the same heights as the previous October Daye novels. I’m not even sure if I posted my review of The Unkindest Tide because it seemed really negative. I’ll have to re-read book twelve and see if my thoughts are still the same.

Overall, if you enjoy the October Daye series, A Killing Frost has plenty of anticipated developments, and there is a lot to enjoy. I’d also recommend the series (don’t start reading at book 13, for your own sake) to people who like Lisa Mantchev’s Theatre Illuminata books, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files or the Blood Singer books by Cat Adams.


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