Review: Be the Serpent by Seanan McGuire

Series: October Daye #16
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW
Released: September 6, 2022
Received: NetGalley

4 1/2 kitties

I can’t believe it – we’re already at the sixteenth (sixteenth!) novel in the October Daye series. And that’s not even counting all the short stories set in this world (if you haven’t read those, then you’re missing out!). Be the Serpent is the latest installment of this series, and it promises to be yet another groundbreaking novel. As with the last several installments of October DayeBe the Serpent comes with a new novella – Such Dangerous Seas.

Last we saw, October Daye, aka Toby, had only just survived her wedding day. You’d think that would have earned her a bit of a respite, but you’d be wrong. This is Toby we’re talking about – she’s practically magnetized to trouble.

As a hero, it is Toby’s obligation to respond when one calls for help. Though in this instance, she didn’t need the title of hero to force her into action. Her love for those involved would have been more than enough.

“Faerie readied us for war, because the war was already happening”

Wow. And ow. Seanan McGuire has a talent for getting me invested in a series and then ripping my heart out. Not because she goes with a rocks fall approach, but because she’s SO talented at writing relatable characters. And then putting them through hell, naturally.

I was looking forward to Be the Serpent. This is the first novel following Toby’s marriage, and I was curious to see how (if at all) this changed her life. None of us expected Toby to stop being a night. Even if it was asked of her, and she somehow agreed, life would still get in the way of that promise.

Be the Serpent wasted no time throwing readers into the thick of it. We’re instantly dealing with a political situation that is also deeply personal, and from there, it only gets more intense as other events rise to the surface.

Those other events are fairly gut-wrenching, so prepare for that. Consider the horrors that faerie can introduce into the world, and you’ll possibly be ready for the emotional roller coaster you’re signing up for.

As always, Be the Serpent was a beautifully written book. The pacing is fast enough to keep readers invested but not afraid to slow down, giving us time to digest the importance of any given situation.

I love Toby all the more in this novel, mostly because she’s still unafraid to speak her mind – even given the potential risk. It’s such a Toby move. This book also offers plenty of theory crafting, so have fun!

It should probably be mentioned that Be the Serpent does end on a cliffhanger. Though perhaps that isn’t the right term. Something terrible happens, as seems to always be the case in this world, and by reading it, you will join the legion of fans suffering and waiting for the conclusion of that arc. But I do not doubt that it will be worth it.

Such Dangerous Seas

Such Dangerous Seas is the novella included at the end of Be the Serpent, the sixteenth novel in the October Daye series. Given that this is a prequel story involving the Luidaeg, you probably don’t need to worry overly much about spoilers.

The Luidaeg wasn’t always the Sea Witch that we know and love. She wasn’t always bound by such strong (and horrific) gaes. That was forced upon her. This is the story of how the Luidaeg came to be bound.

It should probably go without saying, but Such Dangerous Seas is a pretty heartbreaking novella. Given the events that transpire here, I’m sure most readers could have figured that out on their own. Still, it hits all the harder following the events of Be the Serpent. So do your best to emotionally prepare for this one.

If you’ve ever had any questions about the gaes placed upon the Sea Witch, make a point of reading Such Dangerous Seas. This novella will explain everything, from why she cannot lie to how she sets terms and prices for her bargains. And yes, that will make her story hurt all the more.

Thanks to DAW and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks | Quirky Cat’s Comics | The Book Review Crew | Monkeys Fighting Robots | Storygraph | Bookhype | Bookstagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Reedsy


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.
This entry was posted in DAW Books, Fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Review: Be the Serpent by Seanan McGuire

  1. Sheri Dye says:

    Great review! I adore this series but I still need to get my hands on this one.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s