SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1622 One Salt Sea, by Seanan McGuire Book Review | SFReader.com

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One Salt Sea, by Seanan McGuire
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Daw
Published: 2011
Review Posted: 10/20/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

One Salt Sea, by Seanan McGuire

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

I've been reading Seanan McGuire since her first release from DAW, and while I've fallen slightly behind (she's fairly prolific after all), I'm still an avid fan.  This is the fifth book in her October Daye urban fantasy series, and I'm happy to say that it's by far the best one in the series so far.
 
This time, October "Toby" Daye finds herself pressed into the service of the Luidwaeg, who asks Toby to find the two kidnapped sons of the Duchess of Saltmist, who's convinced that the Queen of the Mists has something to do with the abduction.  If Toby can't find them within three days, war will break out between land and sea.  And while the Mists are preparing for battle, they haven't fought a war in hundreds of years.  Saltmist is far more prepared for battle.  Toby will have to travel to the undersea kingdom with the help of the Luidwaeg to track the kidnappers down.  But before the end, the hunt will become far more personal than Toby ever dreamed.
 
One of my issues with past October Daye books is that Toby's investigations did not often make much sense.  They felt loose, with Toby wandering from place to place, action to action, without any significant plot thread connecting each sequence or scene.  Toby often acted completely on impulse or instinct, or was simply reacting to events around her, rather than following her own course of action.  So while the stories were still fun to read, her decisions and the plots often left me frustrated as a reader.  This is why they often received only 3 or 4 stars:  fun and interesting, but frustrating.
 
Not so with One Salt Sea.  This is the first book in the series where I felt the plot was rock solid and Toby's investigation into the two boys' disappearances made total sense.  Toby wasn't just reacting to the events around her, she was actively controlling them and following the leads that she found as she investigated.  Toby's special abilities also factored into the search in significant ways.  Overall, it was a much more satisfying read as both urban fantasy and mystery than any of the previous books.
 
In fact, the overall writing was excellent.  Not just the plot was rock solid, but the characters and their development as well.  It was smooth reading and great flow all the way through.  While I enjoyed Seanan's previous books in this series, I walked away from this book completely satisfied.
 
I'm certainly looking forward to the sixth book in this series now, and have even moved it up higher in my short TBR stack near my bed (as opposed to the huge TBR stack that's relegated to a separate room).  I'd definitely recommend this book to any urban fantasy enthusiast.
 
Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
www.joshuapalmatier.com
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