One Salt Sea is the fifth book in the October Daye series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.
The fae of the land and the sea are on the brink of war. When the sons of the rulers of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist are kidnapped, all fingers are pointing to the Queen of the Mists. October must discover who’s responsible and bring the boys back safe and sound in just three days. Or the fate of her friends will rest on her shoulders.
The story starts with Toby having got together with Connor. Considering all the looks and unspoken communication between her and Tybalt in the past, this seems a bit sudden. His pyscho wife has left and that means they’re together with no build up at all. In previous books it was mentioned they were childhood sweethearts but they grew apart, especially when Toby fell in love with a human and had a child. Then she’s a fish for 14 years and comes back and thinks he’s cute but there’s not really anything there. He’s a bit of a damp squib and a romantic lead, showing none of the sexual tension that exists between Toby and Tybalt. OK, am on team Tybalt and he does tend to disappear off for long periods of time, but he’s a cat. That’s what cats do. I would be more inclined to accept the relationship were there some sort of event which got them together. I have noticed there is a short story that falls between Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea so I will have to dig that out to see if it’s expanded upon.
It doesn’t take long for Connor to be called back to the sea and I couldn’t help feeling good riddance. I made the mistake of reading an Amazon review which contained the hugest spoiler ever, however there was enough other story to keep me interested. However Toby seems really detached from her emotions when it comes to her daughter. I thought this in the previous books but put it down to her stint as a fish, numbing her memories and emotional connotations. So when her daughter is in mortal danger, she goes through the actions of what is expected but the prose doesn’t really offer any emotional distress.
The thing with the Luidheag and her past with the sea and the selkies tugged at my heart strings. She is a fantastic character and I’m glad she and Toby have formed an awkward sort of friendship. I’ve come to notice that Tybalt keeps taking his jacket back sneakily and boosting his scent in the leather. It seems his way of subtly marking his territory but it also brings a sort of comfort to Toby. There’s a moment when it no longer smells like him and it really feels like it’s marking an end. His coat has become an important symbol which added to the sense of confusion with the whole Connor thing. Toby has acknowledged there’s something there on a few occasions and he is always looking out for her. In his growly ways, he is adorable.
Sometimes you can absolutely love a series even when some of the parts are lacking. I still ploughed through the pages and can’t wait to read more (I ordered the next book as soon as I finished). I am emotionally attached to certain characters and can forgive the flaws in each individual story.