“Be the Serpent” by Seanan McGuire: Emotional and Powerful

October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal,” she’s doing her best to adjust.

It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.

Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true. 

The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.

It’s no mystery why I love Seanan McGuire’s books, she grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Even though this is book 16 in the October Daye series, the story sweeps you up and you find yourself completely involved in October’s life and her struggles as quickly as if you just walked away from an old friend. And just as the book has started small and built so too does the series, this book building the series to an emotional and powerful crescendo that will be impacting readers for some time. 

One of the reasons the novel is so dynamic and emotional, is that Seanan McGuire quickly drops the reader into October’s life, pulling in the reader with ease, and presenting the current situation fast enough that you can’t stop reading. This novel’s battle is a uniquely fairy kind of problem and escalates, forcing October to learn more about Fairie, the way magic works and nothing is ever quite as it seems as just when the situation appears resolved something else happens. 

In this novel, we’re beginning to see more and more of the shape of the world Seanan has created, the future of the series and the kind of confrontation she is building to with the books. We also get a glimpse into why events have happened as they have. It makes for a powerful story with an emotional gut punch of an ending. I do like the way some things are resolved and other matters are left with a hook to keep readers invested in the next book. I know I certainly want to read it now. I also adore Simon Lordan, how his character has been redeemed and he is now one of my favorite secondary characters. I just want to hug him.  

Seanan has complex characters that are impossible not to love, a story that is riveting, an emotional and powerful conclusion and I can’t wait to see what she does next. If you love the rest of the books, run to the booksellers. If not, pick up the rest of the series, read them and then this one. This is a series that is building to something incredible and while each novel is amazing, I love seeing more of the arch of the overall series.  I do warn you, be prepared for the emotional gut punch of an ending. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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