Let me start by saying, I love October Daye. There’s just something about her. She’s constantly putting her life on the line, bleeding out, and getting into general mayhem thanks to her overly developed hero complex. October has to be the one to save everyone, whether she really even likes you or not. And she’ll never let you down. Whenever you pick up an October Daye novel, you know that you can count on Seanan to place Toby in crazy, death-defying circumstances, and you can count on Toby to be Toby. The Winter Long is no exception. In fact, it’s the eighth book that proves the rule and yet it was still a fantastic ride that kept me up until 2:00am.

The Winter Long takes Toby and the reader back to the beginning. To be honest, I loved this and at the same time I didn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve read the first book and I felt like I could have used a refresher or a reread in order to make all the subtle nuances and pieces fit together. Instead, throughout the story I had to pause every once in a while to try and remember book 1 Toby and book 1 problems. It’s not a deal breaker, but if you want the best experience, rereading Rosemary and Rue before The Winter Long may be a good idea.

Beyond the full circle, the book had some great action, although I am amazed how many ways and how often Toby can get herself into major trouble. However, I didn’t feel the same urgency and dread in The Winter Long that I felt while reading Chimes and Midnight, but that was actually good. Chimes was a gut wrenching journey that was beyond exhausting. I wouldn’t have wanted that two books in a row. Winter Long is just as important and provides so much new information about Toby, without the heart wrench. Although, there is one scene around midway through that had me bawling like a baby.

The good news is, if you love Tybalt as much as I do, the big and bad King of Cats plays a major role. By this book Tybalt and Toby are a true team and it’s nice to see. Seanan is not an author who adds needless relationship drama just for fun. Instead, you actually get to enjoy watching Tybalt and Toby grow into their relationship and into their love. I won’t deny that I’ve kept reading the October Daye series just for Tybalt and Toby and The Winter Long doesn’t disappoint.

In this book you’ll also find a good bit of the Luidaeg and all your other favorite Toby characters. I don’t think anyone is really left out—although you don’t get too much interaction with May and Jazz, which is disappointing. However, if you want a big plot book, this is it. While this is clearly a transition book, setting up a lot of new pieces for the future, it’s also a huge reveal book. If you want to continue the series, I have a feeling that you need to know everything from this book.

Things that bothered me:

  • Toby seems fully accepting of her powers, in fact she uses them often, and yet she refuses to let go of her humanity. This really stands out to me as nonsensical and as a contrived plot device. As much as Toby gets hurt and is in danger, it would only make sense for her to fully embrace her Fae side.
  • Tybalt and Quentin follow Toby everywhere but during conversations, 90% of the time it’s only Toby talking to the other individual while her “boys” stand there quietly. I understand the purpose, it just feels awkward.
  • I really dislike Sylvester and his relationship with Toby. That may just be me.

Things I loved:

  • The relationship between Toby and her boys. It’s real. It’s funny. And you can’t help but root for all of them. They keep the pages turning.
  • The world. There is so much depth and breadth to Toby’s world. It seems like every new revelation drives you deeper into Faerie, and you just don’t want to leave.
  • The dialogue is fantastic. The right amount of humor, pain, sarcasm, tension, etc. All of it is built into the dialogue between all the characters.
  • Even when Toby is being a complete idiot, I can’t help but love her. She’s lovable and I want her to win in every situation. And honestly, I love how she has grown and changed as a character and I can’t wait to see more.

Overall, this was another great addition to the series. Seanan is really setting up Toby and her world for some important revelations and I look forward to finally seeing it all come to fruition. I give it a 4 star rating because although it was a great story, and a strong addition to the series, it just lacked a little of that umph to push it to a higher star count.