A Red-Rose Chain is the ninth book in the October Daye series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.

Things are finally looking good for Sir October Daye and the Kingdom of the Mists, but there is no time to get comfortable. When the Silences target Arden’s seneschal, they are declaring war, a war Toby’s people would rather not have. The plan? Send Toby as a diplomatic ambassador to try and talk their way out of it. You have met Toby, haven’t you?

Really, you just lie awake all day coming up with new ways to screw yourself over, don’t you?

As these series goes on, there’s seems to be more and more that Seanan thinks needs a little recap or explanation in the first few chapters. I know I forget a lot between books but it just means it takes an awful long time to get into what is an otherwise great story. Maybe the (admittedly useful) pronunciation guide at the start could be extended to include these little reminders and leave the body of the novel for the plot to unfold.

Anyways, enough quibbling. A Red-Rose Chain focuses on discrimination in the fae world. Before Arden took over, the Mists wasn’t the most accommodating place for changelings but at least they were free. As Toby visits the Silences, the neighbouring kingdom, she soon learns how bad things can be for those who aren’t pure.

King Rhys of Silences does not let Toby forget who she is, or more importantly to him, what she is. She’s a changeling, so she’s beneath him, yet her blood holds a power he covets. With the scheming former Queen of the Mists at his side, Toby can’t risk turning her back for even a second.

Is this related to the notice I received from Queen Windermere that a war was being beta-tested, and might be cleared for release? I do not have time to allow my coders to be slaughtered. It seems very inefficient.

I was a bit sad that all the politics and defying death meant there wasn’t much time for Toby and Tybalt’s wedding planning. They seem to be doing this at the start of the book, a sign that things are calm and they are getting on with life. So OK, preventing war comes first, but I would have liked a bit more of the happy. Maybe we’ll get the wedding in the next book…if it isn’t the scene of a mass fae slaughter.

Anyway, I love the world-building overall that has gone into this series and it’s my favourite fae world, even when sometimes the individual building blocks may be a bit wobbly. I’m not a huge fan of series going on indefinitely these days though, and I do hope this one doesn’t go on so long it loses its shine.

Note, this series is now published in the UK by Corsair (hurrah) but release dates are behind the US (boo). If you want to read this now, you can still hunt down the Daw edition from a few places.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery

Book Source: Purchased