Hundreds of years ago, the Selkies made a deal with the sea witch: they would have the sea for as long as she allowed it, and when the time came, she would call in all their debts at once. Many people assumed that day would never come. Those people were wrong.
When the Luidaeg–October “Toby” Daye’s oldest and most dangerous ally–tells her the time has come for the Selkies to fulfill their side of the bargain, and that Toby must be a part of the process, Toby can’t refuse. Literally. The Selkies aren’t the only ones in debt to the Luidaeg, and Toby has to pay what she owes like anyone else. They will travel to the fabled Duchy of Ships and call a convocation of the Selkies, telling them to come and meet the Luidaeg’s price…or face the consequences.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When Dianda Lorden’s brother appears to arrest Dianda for treason against the Undersea, when a Selkie woman is stripped of her skin and then murdered, when everything is falling apart, that’s when Toby will have to answer the real question of the hour.
Is she going to sink? Or is she going to swim?
Seanan McGuire is subversive. Her work appears to be urban fantasy but behind the trappings, are universal truths and concepts that compel the reader to examine their beliefs and humanity. This is especially true in her latest novel, “The Unkindest Tide”.
In the novel, which is about vows made and kept, the message slipped in between the lines is that while it is important to keep your word, it is equally as important how you keep your word and remembering your humanity even in the face of loss. It is important to treat each other with kindness and respect.
The thirteenth book is as better than the first, bringing together multiple complex storylines and a rich diverse world with characters that are three dimensional, heartbreaking but also heroic, not just in the big ways but also in the choices that they make, to love, to help, and to keep each other safe.
If you haven’t begun reading this series, why not? I wouldn’t recommend starting at number 13 but I would recommend it because it is the progression of Seanan McGuire’s characters, world, and writing. She only gets better with each book she writes.
Rating: 5 stars.