October Daye is a changeling private investigator. Well, she was, until she was turned into a fish and lost fourteen years of her life.
You read that right. In the first chapter of the first book, an evil faerie turns October into a fish and throws her in a pond. She only escapes fourteen years later. The world she returns to has changed and she doesn’t want anything to do with the world of Faerie anymore.
October was born a changeling. Her mother is pure blood Fae, her father human. Unfortunately, changelings are the outcasts of faerie society. When they first display their powers, they must choose: human or fae. The faeries take those that choose human and force them to become part of a society that looks down on them. Those that choose human are killed. October ended up on the fae side of things, but it has done her no favors.
She managed to do okay. She had a human husband and child and a job as a private investigator. Then, somebody turned her into a fish. After losing fourteen years, her husband and her child estranged, who can blame her for wanting nothing to do with faerie any more. She has a bad trauma and barely survives with odd night jobs.
Then, an old friend fills her answering machine with messages. Somebody is about to murder her, and she curses October to find the killers. This draws October back into the world she was trying to leave.
October is an angry traumatized woman. She lost her family, and she blames faerie. She has a point too. But she’s often too stubborn, and snaps at the people that actually care about her. Despite that, she tries to do the right thing.
Sylvester Torquill is the duke of Shadowed Hills. He took October in and made her a knight. However, the case that got October turned into a fish, was the case of a kidnapping of his wife and daughter. That has changed him, and October is scared to face her old liege after losing his wife and child fourteen years earlier.
Devin runs a kind of flophouse for changelings. Faery society tosses changelings to the streets to fend for themselves, and Devin is there to pick up the pieces. Well, pick them up for his own ends. He is a lot like Fagin from Oliver Twist, a criminal who teaches children to be criminals.
Finally, Tybalt is the King of Cats. He can walk the shadows and comes by regularly to torment October. But not all is what it seems with him. He seems to hate October, but he also helps her out in times of needs. To what end doesn’t immediately become clear.
There are sixteen novels in the October Daye series, making it one of the longer running fantasy series around. It’s urban fantasy, and reminds me most of the Dresden Files, the Deathspeaker Codex, and Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter (the early ones, the Anita Blake series rapidly devolves into fetish stuff with terrible plots).
Where I could only read two or three parts of the Dresden Files at a time, because it got too formulaic, I’ve been devouring the October Daye series. It follows the urban fantasy tropes, but manages to surprise, sometimes veering a bit into horror, then back to a procedural detective, then to back fantasy, and even romance on occasion.
I have a weak spot for urban fantasy, and I really love the October Daye series. I’ve been reading the novels back-to-back since October (a coincidence), and I’m now cruising through the sixth one. I can highly recommend this series to anyone, if you like urban fantasy anyway.