June 2024
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Review: One Salt Sea, Seanan McGuire

This is the fifth book in the series. Rosemary and Rue is the first book.

The sons of the Duchess of Saltmist have been kidnapped, and usual it’s October Daye who is called upon to rescue them. The stakes are very high; if Toby doesn’t find the boys, her country is going to go to war with those under the sea. To make the situation even more complicated, she’s finally gotten together with Connor, a Selkie, and they may be forever separated if she doesn’t succeed in her mission. With her many allies by her side, Toby sets out to find the kidnapper, even when those she holds most dear are threatened.

This particular book is a turning point for Toby – she is not the same woman at the end of the book as she was at the start of it. Several storylines that have been building over the course of the last few books – if not since the start of the series – actually see a resolution, and with devastating effect. Some of the things that happen to her are gut-wrenching, and the world really isn’t going to be the same. She isn’t even the same herself; thanks to the changes which took effect in the last book, Toby is still getting to grips with her own changed identity and magic.

The mythology and backstory of all of the characters continues to grow and change in this book. I loved learning more about the Luidaeg in particular, who finally starts to be revealed in this book, and who is becoming much more than an all-powerful sea witch. We also get bits and pieces about the other characters.

I think my only problem with the book really was that I don’t like Connor very much. The entire time, I was busy rooting for Toby to finally realize that it’s actually Tybalt she loves, which as you can imagine lessened the impact of parts of the book for me. I’ve heard some say this is a Peeta and Gale situation, but I don’t think it is; there just isn’t any chemistry at all between Toby and Connor, and I’ve actually yet to find anyone saying they prefer the latter. Nor does Toby really think about it; she loved Connor when she was young so she must love him now. Since Tybalt is by far the better, more complex character, I just couldn’t get behind those bits of the story.

Regardless of personal preference though, One Salt Sea was a fantastic addition to the universe and one that has really, genuinely changed everything. I’m not sure how I’m going to wait until next year to get the sixth book, but I know I’ll have it preordered as soon as I see it available. In the meantime, I’m going to read Feed, as Mira Grant is actually a pen name for Seanan McGuire, and hope for some more magic there.

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