Review: The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire

The Winter LongPublisher: DAW
Author: Seanan McGuire
Released: September 2nd, 2014
Received: Own
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

The Winter Long is the eighth novel in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, and this will surprise exactly no one, but Toby is still getting herself into trouble. What a shock, I know. At least this time it isn’t Toby’s fault. Mostly.

Everything was going well in the Kingdom of Mists, so naturally, that means something had to come along and mess all of that up. Or more accurately, someone. Enter Simon Torquill. Twin brother to Toby’s liege, Sylvester. He also happens to be a wanted criminal; one known for working with a renowned poisoner.

And if that wasn’t enough, he’s not the only one back to make more troubles for Toby and her family. Further proving that Toby has a way of getting herself into trouble. But this old/new antagonist made a mistake when they made it personal.


“Please don’t mistake villainy for evil. The two can exist side by side while remaining quite distinct.”

Spoiler Warning

The Winter Long was an amazingly intense read. It brought elements full circle in ways that I could never have anticipated. And there’s no doubt about how some of the news blindsided our beloved Toby.

I think we all knew that Simon Torquill would have to come back at some point. Seanan McGuire would never leave a loose thread hanging like that (though that does leave me concerned about what’ll happen with the other hints dropped throughout the series). I don’t think we expected Simon to come back in such a manner.

This Simon is not what I expected. And I actually love that. I love that once again, a curveball has been thrown our way. Or more accurately, Toby’s way. I knew that there had to be more to the story than we were seeing – we were never told his motivations, after all. But I don’t think I ever could have or would have made these guesses.

As for the other major revelation/twist in this novel? Yikes. I’m not sure more words are needed than that. Looking back on it, the hints had been there all along. Which is actually quite terrifying, not to mention extremely well done.

I know that the Luidaeg has been a consistent presence this whole time, but I do feel like she’s been getting some extra attention these last few books, and I adore that. I adored a little less some of the conflicts she faced here, though I’m happy to finally have some more of her situation full explained to us.

Speaking of situations, some of what happened in this novel broke my heart. I’ve known how bad the situation is between certain characters (looking at you, Luna) for a while now. But I think it was this novel that really drove it home for me.

Once again we have ourselves a novel that changes Toby’s view of the world, and overall view of what is happening around her. It’s amazing to see how much has changed, looking back on the previous eight novels. And I have no doubt that there are even more changes in store for us.

Now I’m on to A Red-Rose Chain next, wish me luck! I have a feeling I’ll be seeing some more of those changes very soon…

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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