Regular disclaimer for reviews in this series: we are fourteen books in now if you can believe it. Series spoilers can’t really be avoided. So I won’t bother
But seriously, fourteen books in already?
With a series this long, some drops in quality are to be expected and some instalments will work better than others. I have to admit, while I enjoyed the previous book, The Unkindest Tide, it did feel a little like treading water to me. But happily, for me, A Killing Frost picks up where both The Brightest Fell and Night and Silence sort of left off, making me a very happy camper indeed.
One of the underlying plot-threads from the most recent books is October’s engagement to Tybalt, the King of Cats. To say that this has been a bit of a long engagement is a bit of an understatement — the nuptials have failed to move forward for several years of real-time. Now, I’m not much of a romantic — quite the opposite in fact — but even I’m starting to wonder whether or not these two will ever move forward and tie the knot.
We all know that faerie politics and family dramas can be a bit of a prick to work and live around, and Toby has suffered from more than her fair share of both. Unfortunately for our long-suffering girl, both of them raise their head here again when the Dianda Lorden, of all people, drops a particularly nasty bombshell on her and Tybalt when they’re out having a nice steak dinner. Archaic Faerie tradition dictates that in order for Toby’s wedding to go ahead, she really needs to seek approval of her father and invite him to the ceremony.
Now, Toby’s dad, being mortal as he was, has been dead for years at this point and is probably not expecting a nice embossed envelope in the mail. But Simon Torquil, her mother’s legal husband, is a very different matter. Although he has ‘lost his way’ and his wits along with it, Simon is still very much alive. So Toby needs to track down her errant stepfather before Faerie can cry ‘dishonour on you and dishonour on your cow’ and declare her impending nuptials invalid.
Unfortunately, thanks to the events in The Brightest Fell and Toby’s idiot of a sister, tracking down Simon also means tracking down Oberon. Big fucking deal, this one. So once again, Toby has to put her personal plans by the wayside and prepare herself for another quest.
What about Tybalt, you ask? As a changeling, Toby might be naive to many faerie customs, but Tybalt is a bloody King of Cats. It turns out that he knew, but he was hoping that if Toby was kept ignorant, they could probably get away with whiffing it. So now Toby’s peeved at him for keeping secrets, and the both of them are peeved at the Diana and her husband Patrick for setting Toby up for this impossible sounding quest. Which then leads us to ask: why are they the ones to bring this all up in the first place?
I really enjoyed this one. I find most of Toby’s family’s politicking to be highly entertaining, so I welcomed a return to Simon-based dramas — they are aeons ahead of Gillian-based dramas, which are not my favourite. And while a good deal of recap-ing has to happen in such a long-standing series such as this one, I think it was integrated much better in A Killing Frost than in a number of previous other instalments, where it was breaking the flow of the story. I know some people forget details between book releases, especially if they’re a year apart or more, but it got so excessive in the last two books that I was sometimes reduced to grinding my teeth while muttering ‘Wikis exist. For A Reason’ As the events in A Killing Frost are likely to snowball into further books in the series, I really hope the more subtle, integrated approach holds up.
But overall, A Killing Frost was a great bit of fun. It ties some long-running plot points and sets up plenty of potential drama for the future.
Now indulge me here for a minute: although I know it won’t happen because it will greatly offend another character’s parents, I really wish that Toby eventually makes the decision to throw every last faerie custom the garbage, set it on fire, and just get married to Tybalt at the Town Hall with her best mates in tow. The pair have had enough drama to last even an extended fae lifetime. She could be in an AC/DC t-shirt or something, and he could be in his best leather pants.
Reckon Aunty Sea-Witch would approve of the massive fuck-you energy that would convey?
So for bingo, the is Repeat for Happy