Literature / October Daye

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Toby Daye is a private investigator. She's also a changeling — daughter of a faerie creature of the Summerlands and a human. A loyal knight, she was investigating the disappearance of her liege's daughter. Her liege's Evil Twin busted her doing it, and the consequences of being caught cost her fourteen years of her life and everything that mattered to her.

As a result, Toby cut herself off from dealing with the fae world, and lived as a recluse and hiding her fae appearance under spells and illusions, until another fae, with her dying breath, geased a reluctant Toby via answering machine to solve her murder.

This is where the adventure in Rosemary and Rue starts. Toby must return to the fae community to solve the case or literally die trying thanks to the geas. To her astonishment, the fae community is happy to have her back. And once she solves this case, she only finds more to do.

So far, the series, written by Hugo Award-winning author Seanan McGuire, comprises:
  • Rosemary and Rue (September 2009)
  • A Local Habitation (March 2010)
  • An Artificial Night (September 2010)
  • Late Eclipses (March 2011)
  • One Salt Sea (September 2011)
  • Ashes of Honor (September 2012)
  • Chimes at Midnight (September 2013)
  • The Winter Long (September 2014)
  • A Red-Rose Chain (September 2015)
  • Once Broken Faith (September 2016)
  • The Brightest Fell (September 2017)
    • Of Things Unknown novella packaged with TBF.

Short stories:
  • "Rat-Catcher", which focuses on Tybalt's early history in Londinium, published in A Fantasy Medley 2.
  • "Through This House", which fills in a few gaps between Late Eclipses and One Salt Sea, published in Home Improvement: Undead Edition. A few fragments have also found their way around.
  • "In Sea-Salt Tears", a prequel to One Salt Sea, published on McGuire's website.
  • "Never Shines The Sun", expanding on a story Toby only gets a glimpse of in Chimes At Midnight. It is available only in the paperback edition of Chimes At Midnight. Ebook versions do not (or are not supposed to) contain the short story.
  • "Forbid the Sea", a sequel to "Rat-Catcher", published on McGuire's website.
  • "No Sooner Met," a Tybalt-narrated short story chronicling Tybalt and Toby's first "official" date.
  • "The Fixed Stars", about the Luidaeg's history, published in Shattered Shields.
  • "Heaps of Pearl", featuring the first meeting of Dianda and Patrick of One Salt Sea, published on McGuire's website.
  • "Full of Briars", in which we meet Quentin's parents, who get to decide if he remains with Toby after his Secret Identity starts to become less secret. Published electronically by DAW books.
  • "Dreams and Slumbers", in which Arden struggles with balancing her new life as "Queen in the Mists" with her old life as a bookseller. While dealing with her decision to wake her brother Nolan from his cursed sleep.

McGuire has sold the first thirteen Toby books. The upcoming ones are:
  • Night and Silence
  • When Sorrows Come


This series provides examples of:

  • Acquitted Too Late: Raysel's plan for Toby in Late Eclipses.
  • Action Girl: Toby, who repeatedly states that she's uncomfortable when she's unarmed.
  • Action Mom:
    • Dianda Lorden of Undersea, who's pretty much ready for a fight at a moment's notice.
    • Toby sort of qualifies - she's an action girl and a mother, but after her fourteen-year absence she's no longer a part of her daughter's life. She still goes Mama Bear when the children of her friends are in danger, though.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In One Salt Sea, the scary, unaffectionate Luidaeg gives Quentin's hair an affectionate ruffle.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Tybalt collapses in Ashes of Honor and Toby has to race to get the healer to help him.
    • In Chimes At Midnight, Tybalt collapses again and Toby has to make a deal with the Night Haunts to find out how to save him before it's too late.
    • In Once Broken Faith, Tybalt collapses again and has to be "elfshot" until a healer can be found. Different from the second case in that it was not from overexertion but from being impaled through the torso with a serrated stake.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: After landing in ALH through the gate in Ashes of Honor, the first consideration is treating Tybalt's injuries; they talk as they go.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemy is Walther's magical specialty, and a natural fit with his day job as a chemistry professor.
  • Alien Geometries - Knowes tend to have these.
    • ALH: Windows look out at different times of day. You can walk down a hall and be three floors higher at the other end than you started.
    • Shadowed Hills: Windows in the same room can look out at different locations (and seasons).
    • In the unclaimed areas of the Summerlands, distance isn't always consistent. If you really, really need to get somewhere, then wherever it is you want to go will become closer to you.
  • All Part of the Show: Quentin muses that eventually the fae won't have to glamour up to hide from humanity. Mortals will just think they're part of an Augmented Reality game.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Most Tuatha de Danaan are olive-skinned with dark hair, but since they're fae, they don't really correspond to any human ethnicity.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Blind Michael planned to do this to Toby, at Acacia's expense.
  • Annoying Arrows: Thoroughly averted. Elf-shot is fatal to changelings and mortals, and arrow wounds can take down even pureblooded skin-shifters.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Rayseline is this to Sylvester and Luna after her years of captivity turned her Ax-Crazy and she gets involved in a conspiracy with Oleander.
  • Anyone Can Die - It's spoilery to name names, but the fae are capricious and cruel. So is their world.
  • Arranged Marriage - Connor and Rayseline, a political marriage to tie Shadowed Hills with the underwater Duchy of Salt Mist.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - Toby's list of reasons why she can't be Quentin's knight starts with "I keep getting him shot" and ends with "I don't brush my teeth every night before bed."
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Undersea nobility are expected to be warriors; their culture is a bit bloodier than that of the land fae. Dianda Lorden and her "if it can be solved by punching it, do so" attitude are no exception.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Sylvester, Duke of Shadowed Hills and hero of the realm; Toby, knight, hero and briefly Countess of Goldengreen; the aforementioned Duchess Dianda; and others.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Toby and Tybalt. They behave more like Slap-Slap-Kiss but as the books progress, it becomes clearer that it's to mask genuine affection for each other.
  • Ax-Crazy: Rayseline was driven mad by a traumatic kidnapping and her own self-contradictory mixture of bloodlines.
    • Inverted with Book 6's villain. Toby's warned repeatedly that the character is more dangerous because they're sane - they can't be counted on to make the same mistakes an insane person might.
    • Said to be a racial hazard for anyone with mixed blood of two different faerie races due to the blood warring with itself. Most characters with mixed blood have shown some degree of instability, increasing in proportion to just how much of a mixed heritage they have. The Queen of the Mists, with three different bloodlines within two generations, is a clear example, and Toby and Luna theorize later on that part of the reason Rayseline went so far off the reservation was due to her heritage.
  • Back from the Dead: Countess Evening Winterrose was actually never dead, and it's such an amazing miracle to the fae that they never consider that might not be a good thing.
    • Alex and the Luidaeg, both courtesy of Toby's Dochas Sidhe powers.
    • As of "Once Broken Faith" Toby starts realizing after she fell to her death that some of her close calls in earlier books were actually this.
    • As of Of Things Unknown, everyone who died in A Local Habitation
  • Bad Dreams: Toby has nightmares about being a fish after spending fourteen years trapped as one.
  • Badass and Child Duo: In Once Broken Faith, Karen is the child. The Luidaeg is the badass, there to protect her from Eira Rosynhwyr, who has been threatening her in her dreams.
  • Badass Family: Any of the Firstborn, because they're only one remove from Oberon/Titania, Oberon/Maeve, or Oberon/____.
    • Team Toby. May is technically and legally her sister. Quentin qualifies as her ward. And that is not taking into account Toby's blood relatives: Amandine, and her aunt the Luidaeg, who also now owes Toby a life debt.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Toby has to be this in Rosemary and Rue for the Torquills.
    • Once again Toby has to take this position in The Brightest Fell when asked directly.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: October and Tybalt in the earlier books, but once it is resolved, they become almost Sickeningly Sweethearts.
  • Beneath Suspicion: How Oleander gets into Shadowed Hills. Also the reason why Toby herself accidentally overlooks one of the culprits in Once Broken Faith; she's shocked and disturbed to realize she's started thinking more like a pureblood than a human.
  • Benevolent Boss: Sylvester and January. Also, the High King and Queen of the Westlands.
  • Bi the Way: In A Red-Rose Chain, Toby discovers a picture on Quentin's phone of his apparent new boyfriend Dean Lorden.
    • Word of God states that this is true of all faeries and most changelings, bar Toby who was born in the '50's.
  • Big Eater: Quentin, as befits a teenaged boy. Any time food is offered, he responds with an enthusiastic will. He often stashes snacks in his pockets.
    • Raj, Karen, Dean Lorden, and Chelsea are also teenagers and are also this.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: All of the Firstborn are this, being half-siblings at the least.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Lucky Charms in coffee instead of milk.
    • The Luidaeg eats her burritos with the foil still on.
  • Blood Magic: The Daoine Sidhe (and any changelings descended from them) are particularly good at it, as are The Luidaeg many other faeries descended from Maeve. Amandine and her daughter race, the Dochas Sidhe are even better.
  • Blood Upgrade: Amandine and Toby both get big powerups from being near blood, as do most Daoine Sidhe. Even more pronounced later when Amandine changes the balance of Toby's blood
  • Break the Cutie: What becoming part of Blind Michael's ride did to Quentin's human girlfriend, and several other children stolen for that purpose.
    • A different instance of breaking the cutie at the hands of Oleander and Simon, involving keeping her in a formless, dark nothingness for years is why Rayseline is Ax-Crazy.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Toby gets a chance with Amandine, but it doesn't actually help much.
    • She also vows to do this to her grandfather, Oberon, if she ever meets him.
  • The Call Left a Message: Countess Evening Winterrose's phone message at the beginning of the first book, which carries a geas to force Toby onto the job.
  • Canada, Eh?: Quentin's family hails from Canada, and it's made obvious by a little affectionate French from Quentin, and his father's affection for Tim Horton's.
  • Cats Are Magic: Faerie superstition goes that, so long as a cat exists, the memory of the fae will go on. Also, Toby's cats apparently report to Tybalt, although they don't have other magical qualities.
  • Cats Are Mean: This is a truism for the entire Cait Sidhe population, if you translate "mean" to indicate "bloodthirsty and dangerous." Their rites of ascension are all barbarous and bloody — a royal kitten is not considered worthy for ascension if they can't hold their own in a fight. That said, individual Cait Sidhe can be as mean or as kind as their inclinations permit.
    • Tybalt, for example, begins the series cold, sarcastic, and aloof, but as he and Toby work together more often and grow closer, she (and the reader) sees that he's actually kind-hearted, affectionate, and honorable.
    • Raj talks smack in the faces of Quentin's parents, insouciantly, because as a royal kitten, he doesn't have to respect the Court hierarchy. He holds nothing back regarding his feelings on them potentially taking his brother from another mother away from him.
  • Cats Are Superior: The entire Cait Sidhe population have smugness as a racial trait, at least this is what Toby thinks when she meets Raj. It might have something to do with them being specifically outside of the political structure that strangles Faerie. There is nothing the royals can actually do to the Cait Sidhe and they are well aware of this detail. "A Cat can look at a king," after all.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: One of the boons of being the local King or Queen of Cats is more than one life, but not as many as nine. Tybalt doesn't share the exact number. As of Once Broken Faith, he has none left.
  • Celestial Deadline: Sunrise burns away magic, dissolving most spells.
  • Cessation of Existence: January and the other victims at ALH are the first fae in a long time to die without getting to live on for a while as night-haunts.
  • Character Witness: Danny, the troll cab driver who befriends Toby tells her that her money is no good here due to Toby's having helped his sister. But he also stands as a literal character witness when one of the royals tries to set Toby up in a slanted trial.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In Rosemary and Rue:
    The Luidaeg: You never did give me my receipt, honey.
  • Compelling Voice: The part-Banshee, part-Siren Queen, whose speaking voice can inflict pain or compulsion on the listener. If she sings...
    • Eira Rosynhwyr can do this to any of her descendants or those who swear loyalty to them
      • This does not affect those subordinates whose loyalties to kith or kin come before sworn loyalty; for instance Etienne's loyalty to his wife and daughter trumps his loyalty to Sylvester and Dean Lorden's loyalty to his mother allows him to resist Eira Rosynhwyr when he comes face to face with her.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Faerie in general, particularly when it comes to Blind Michael's escapades
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Tybalt does this when Toby is getting over severe iron poisoning. Toby does it back when he's in an elfshot-induced slumber after getting stabbed.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Most purebloods are implied to be this, since no one in faerie lives poor if they don't have to.
  • Creepy Child:
    • April O'Leary, the first cyber-dryad is one of these. Especially since she also has a full grown woman form that slips back to the child form when she's upset or frightened.
    • This is true of the kids left as the Wild Hunt after Toby rescues hers. They're either unwilling/unable to turn back to what they were, or so much time has passed that they don't remember what they were. Whichever, they're all obviously unsettlingly off.
  • Crush Blush: Toby, when Tybalt compliments her looks.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Evening's, and her geasing Toby into solving it, is what starts off the series.
  • Cry into Chest: Tybalt and Connor both serve as handkerchiefs on occasion.
  • Cue the Sun: Played straight and inverted. Fae magic burns away at dawn and spells must be replenished. And certain fae races have things that happen for them at sunset.
  • Dances and Balls:
    • The Beltane Ball at Shadowed Hills is a plot point in Late Eclipses. According to Toby, Fae parties can last longer than fourteen years.
    • "The Winter Long" begins with a celebration ball.
  • Dangerous Workplace: ALH. A serial killer on-site tends to do that.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: As the Fae are nocturnal, they often deal poorly with sudden bright light. When Toby is getting over severe iron poisoning after being kept in a pitch-black prison in Late Eclipses, her eyes are extremely sensitive and painful.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Toby's deal with the Luidaeg seemed like one at first, but eventually the Luidaeg asked for a favor in return that left them square.
    • Toby currently owes the night-haunts a favor...
    • April O'Leary blackmailed the night-haunts into doing her a favor, and they were very displeased about it.
  • Death Notification: Connor comments that he has to do this for a selkie that died in ALH.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Blood Road's toll is a painless version of this.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Happens to Connor in One Salt Sea, paving the way for Toby's eventual romance with Tybalt.
  • Debt Detester:
    • All of Faerie, to the point that even saying "thank you" is considered very rude. When Arden, who got used to living with mortals, claims her birthright, she accidentally thanks some of her staff and they're so offended they quit.
    • The Luidaeg's works can be paid for by another than the one who will benefit from it. She tries very, very hard to make sure that her charge understands very well what will happen if they do. She tries very, very hard to talk them out of it. Poppy the pixie and Simon Torquill both accepted someone else's debt anyway and paid a dear price.
  • Deceptive Legacy: Played with:
    • Amandine is deceptive to Toby and pretty much most of the rest of the faerie about Toby's true bloodlines. The other Firstborn know her as Amandine the "Liar"
    • in Ashes of Honor. Bridget is a folklore professor and knows that the father of her child isn't human, but because all she has is folklore, she gets a lot wrong about what he really is. Of course, she passes the wrong info to her child, with the best of intentions and desire to protect.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Toby has to do this at the end of An Artificial Night. The undefeatable in this case is Blind Michael, a Firstborn and leader of the Wild Hunt.
  • Delinquent: The changelings of Home, including Manuel, Dare, and previously Toby. Many were street kids to begin with, and aren't above theft and petty crime to get by.
  • Destructive Romance:
    • Devin and Toby's. There was the power dynamic due to Devin's position as the owner operator of Home, not to mention their age difference.
    • Oleander and Simon: Simon was in a bad place for a number of reasons. Oleander asked for him as a plaything and the fae she served knew it would cause problems, so permitted it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mainly because he was unaware of the child's existence, Sir Etienne of Shadowed Hills. Once he knows about it, he steps up and the trope stops applying.
  • Doctor's Orders: Jin tries to pull this to make Toby rest in Ashes of Honor and again in Once Broken Faith. Toby being the recklessly heroic woman she is, it doesn't work.
  • Does Not Know How to Say "Thanks": All of Faerie. Thanking someone is either very rude or very serious among the fae because it implies a debt to the thank-ee.
  • Dreaming Of Things Gone By: Karen ends up with this ability as part of her rare power of oneiromancy.
  • Doppelgänger: Used in Rosemary and Rue: an assassin takes the shape of Toby's now-teenage and very estranged daughter Gillian.
    • In the third book, Toby meets her fetch, a perfect copy of herself that is supposed to guide her to her death. May later starts dyeing her hair and doing other things to make herself look less like Toby, although sometimes when Toby gets into sufficiently perilous trouble she'll accidentally shapeshift herself back.
  • Dwindling Party: The group in ALH goes from seven people down to two over the course of the book.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Tybalt, after just barely surviving an attack on his life, finally tells Toby how he feels about her. But it turns out not to really be a dying declaration as medical attention gets administered shortly thereafter.
  • Dying Race: the Roane, mainly because they were skinned to make Selkies. This is why the Luidaeg and the Selkies do not get along.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Toby has no trouble appreciating Tybalt's skin-tight leather pants even before they officially become a couple.
  • Emergency Impersonation: May has to use her similarity to Toby as her Fetch to pull this every once and a while.
  • Entitled Bastard:
    • Quentin starts out stiff and snobby about his pureblood status, but quickly softens up once he starts hanging around Toby.
    • August, daughter of Amandine is a complete spoiled brat and imperious on top of that.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The Luidaeg runs on this. In later books it's revealed she charges so harshly because she's not allowed to refuse a deal, so the best she can do is make the price too high.
    • August overconfidently took the Luidaeg at the extremely dear price she demanded, and the cascading consequences made her impossible to find for years.
  • Everyone Can See It: Toby and Tybalt's friends figured out how they felt long before either of them did.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Samson, the would be King of Cats to replace Tybalt. He literally does not get the idea of ruling in a different fashion than with an iron ...er, paw.
  • Evil Matriarch: Amandine the Liar proves to be this when she forces Toby into a case Toby would otherwise have refused. Taking hostages, exploiting Exact Words to hurt Toby even after the task is completed.
  • Exact Words:
    • Sylvester casts a geas on his own twin brother Simon to protect Toby. But he's more of a sword-swinger than an intricate magic worker, resulting in loopholes due to insufficiently specific phrasing. When the geased party breaks the condition of "casting a spell against her" the geas slams down with the punishment because it couldn't tell the spell was to protect Toby.
    • Hostages were taken against Toby completing a task, with a promise to return them. When Toby completes the task, she is told:
    I promised to give them back. I never promised when.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Toby tries to do this multiple times, but always manages to escape with her life somehow.
  • Fake Period Excuse: The first book has Toby begging off work by implying her period is troubling her to her manager at her mortal job.
  • The Fair Folk: Some Purebloods, especially the most insane or the Firstborn, fall into this.
  • Famed In-Story: Toby. After the events of An Artificial Night fae in the human world and in the Summerlands kmow her as the heroine who not only brought home children kidnapped by the Wild Hunt, but who also killed Blind Michael, one of the Firstborn.
  • Fantastic Drug: Goblin fruit. It's cultivated by purebloods to cause pleasant dreams and a nice distraction from mortals encroaching on the world. But for changelings and humans, it's instantly and unbreakably addictive - until overindulgence or withdrawal kills them.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Changelings are seen as inferior by many pureblood fae, and some of them are very nasty about it. Since October herself is not only a Changeling but the first one to ever be granted a knighthood, this comes up a lot.
    • The Dryads are all nasty to April because she's a cyber-dryad rather than one tied to a tree.
    • According to the Chrysanthe and Theron, fae with obvious animal characteristics were once looked down upon as much as changelings were, until changelings became more common and drew the purebloods' ire.
    • Cheating on your pureblood spouse with another pureblood fae is considered adultery. Cheating on your spouse with a changeling or a human is considered a dalliance but not adultery.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: By fairy standards this is what the deaths of the victims at ALH are, because their memories aren't preserved by the night-haunts. January doesn't even get digitized into the computer, so she's the first truly gone fairy in a long time. This trope stops applying as of Of Unknown Things.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: The Luidaeg knows that her brother isn't someone to challenge lightly. None of the Firstborn are.
  • Fiery Coverup: Often the result of the Changeling's Choice, no matter what the child actually chose: either their mortal parent suffers a tragic "accident," or if the child chooses to stay human, they do too.
  • Finger in the Mail: The Lorden's receive a box with Dean's finger after he is kidnapped in One Salt Sea.
  • Fingore: The kidnapper in One Salt Sea sends one of the victims' fingers to their family.
  • Fisher King: The knowes reflect the styles of their owners/rulers, and mourn if their owner/ruler is killed.
    • Subverted with Goldengreen: As of One Salt Sea, Toby regards the pixies and bogeys as the owners of the knowe because the knowe does... and possibly because Toby is a changeling rather than a pureblood. This changes when Dean becomes Count of Goldengreen.
    • Now that the lands of the Wild Hunt are owned by Acacia rather than Blind Michael, they are beginning to improve slowly (where possible).
    • Treasa Riordan's current residence in Annwn does not appear to have begun responding to her one way or another yet.
  • Flower Motifs:
    • Luna gives Connor a basket of love-lies-a-bleeding and love-in-idleness to beg him to love her daughter.
    • Toby receives a bouquet of blue and white ice roses plus rose-bay from someone who is magically bound from speaking as a way of warning her.
    • Tybalt presents Toby with a message bouquet in "No Sooner Met".
  • Friendship Moment: the Luidaeg has lots of these in book 3, but the ending in particular is a nice one. Ditto book 5.
  • Fugitive Arc: Toby spends the latter part of Late Eclipses fleeing justice.
  • Gaslighting: In Late Eclipses, Oleander and Rayseline conspire to murder a number of Toby's friends and pin the murders on Toby herself. Part of their plan is to use drugs and illusions to make Toby herself think she's nuts. They almost succeed.
  • Genre Savvy: Quentin, who knows better than to believe Toby saying "I'll be right back" after May gets him watching horror movies.
  • Give Me a Sword: Sylvester loans his to Toby.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Queen of the Mists as she appears in the first few books, is not a stable monarch by any means.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Toby's scars from the bullets with which she was shot during her first adventure are significant in the second, as she draws attention to them to advise her Sidekick that it isn't all fun and games.
  • Graceful in Their Element: All of the sea fae. They're awkward on land at best, but in the ocean, they're poetry in motion.
  • Groin Attack: Etienne does this to Dugan the Daoine Sidhe, since the latter was holding an iron knife and that meant that all bets were off regarding a fair fight.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Also quarter-human, three-quarters-human, five-sixteeths-human... The more human a character is, the less illusion they need to pass themselves off as normal, but the less magical power they possess. Particularly "thin-blooded" changelings can't even see a lot of the faerie world without magical assistance.
  • Healing Factor: Toby heals faster than a human would and even faster than most fae after Amandine's intervention
  • Healing Spring: Any Undine's spring has this effect.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Toby has lost a lot over the course of the series: her family, her human husband and daughter, fourteen years of her life (due to being trapped as a fish), her lover, a good chunk of her humanity... She always pushes forward regardless, though it takes a geas to get her moving again after the fish thing.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Connor the Selkie jumped in front of a projectile meant for October's daughter Gillian. Subverted as it just got him killed, because another arrow hits her immediately afterward.
    • Despite Toby and the Luidaeg begging otherwise, Simon Torquill takes on the immense and horrifying debt incurred by his daughter August who promised the Luidaeg something that sounds simple; the magic takes the most painful possible interpretation.
  • He's Dead, Jim: The fae don't handle death well, but they can tell when someone's died: "She was cold and didn't respond to us calling her name!"
  • The Hidden Hour: Midnight is considered the best time to do death magic and blood magic.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Oleander has one that scares even adult fae. Rumor has it she was responsible for half the assassinations among the fae in the past century.
  • Honorary Uncle:
    • Toby is "Auntie Birdie" to all of Mitch and Stacy's kids.
    • Sylvester to Gillian, before Toby was trapped in the koi pond.
  • Hurting Hero: Toby, often. If she's not getting put through the wringer physically (frequently by her own hand!), she's probably getting smacked down emotionally. Sometimes it's both.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: May's blue and magenta hair streaks, although they vanish whenever Toby gets too close to mortal danger. She temporarily removes them in A Red-Rose Chain to make herself draw less attention.
  • Identity Absorption: The night-haunts. They keep the identity for an equivalent amount of time to the person's life out of respect.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the book titles come from Shakespeare:
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Tybalt recognizes Quentin hinting at it in "No Sooner Met". Quentin says his interrogation of the Cait Sidhe is nothing compared to what May Daye has in store for him.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Oleander and Raysel at the end of Late Eclipses, though Oleander wasn't expecting it from Raysel
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Toby has a wide variety of these, given the long-lived nature of the fae.
  • Interspecies Romance: Most romances in this series are between different lines of the Fae or between Fae, Changelings, and/or humans. Extra points go to the Lordens for having a land fae marrying a sea fae.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Toby spent fourteen years as a fish in a koi pond.
  • Irrational Hatred: Both Julie and Raysel hate Toby for things that were out of her control, although Raysel at least has the excuse of being deeply traumatized and constantly attacked by her own biology.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Toby does this in One Salt Sea to throw the kidnapper off balance.
  • I Should Have Been Better: Toby about any of her failures.
  • It's Personal: Raysel goes too far in One Salt Sea when she kidnaps Gilly.
  • It Was a Gift: After the events at ALH, Quentin was gifted with pet hippocampi.
  • I Want Grandkids: Toby guesses this about Luna and quickly realizes it's implausible.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: How Oleander got into Shadowed Hills in Late Eclipses.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Used against the Tea Gardens whenever possible to try to force them to give up their independence.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Queen of the Mists tries this on Toby in Late Eclipses.
  • Kill It with Fire: This is one of the humanity's potential reactions to the truth of the Fae (which is why the Fae are so secretive), the other being They Would Cut You Up.
    • This is also one of the crueler Fae punishments for breakers of Oberon's Law. They get tied to a tree and burn to death.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Melly's response to Etienne's attempts to take Toby and Connor to see Sylvester in Late Eclipses.
  • Light Is Not Good: Titania's children are much more bloodthirsty than Maeve's, even though Titania is the Summer Queen.
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • The Luidaeg is Toby's aunt!
    • In Ashes of Honor, Etienne's daughter, who has been hidden from him for her entire life, is revealed to him.
    • In Chimes At Midnight, Toby discovers some long lost relatives of King Gilad.
    • In The Winter Long, it's revealed that Simon Torquill is October's stepfather and through his marriage to Amandine, she has a half sister named August.
    • In A Red-Rose Chain, we discover Walther's long lost entire family.
  • Love Martyr: Luna is this for Rayseline after Rayseline's attempt at murdering her.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Connor's forbid him from seeing Toby, because she's a changeling and therefore beneath his station (even though her mother is a Firstborn).
  • MacGuffin:
    • In Rosemary and Rue it's the chest Toby entrusts to Tybalt.
    • In Ashes of Honor, there are two: Chelsea is one; Riordan's necklace the other.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: ALH is working on making this a thing of the past with things like enchanted cell phones.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Toby frequently rushes to the rescue of not only her own, but other people's children, and Oberon help anything that gets in her way.
    • The trait runs in the family. In Late Eclipses, we see that Amandine will mess you up if you threaten her child.
    • Dianda Lorden is a hot-tempered Action Mom and loves a good fight.
  • The Masquerade: Fairies do not go out in public without illusions in order to maintain this. According to Toby, it's because most of them fear that the humans would kill any Fae that showed themselves, as apparently happened in the past, or that Fae would be kidnapped and vivisected to learn how they tick.
  • The Matchmaker: A cultural trait of Hobs. They indulge in it almost as much as cleaning.
  • Magic Mushroom:
    • In The Brightest Fell Toby and company discover that in the Summerlands, puffball mushrooms make great pixie security systems for human size fae.
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Toby, often in the last third of any given book.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Toby became one without her consent when she was turned into a fish for 14 years.
    • Amandine may as well be missing most of the time, though she does show up when the chips are down in Late Eclipses.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Connor and Toby. Not without reason, since they are old flames.
  • Monster Progenitor: All of the Firstborn to varying extents, but particularly the children of Maeve.
  • Motive Rant: Raysel gives one to Toby in Late Eclipses.
  • Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle: Cliff (the Muggle) and Devin (the Magical) for Toby; she chose Cliff.
  • Mouse World: The pixie village in the trees of the Summerlands. Pixies also possess pixie magic that shrinks human sized fae down to their size, so they can terrorize them.
  • Muggles: The humans who wander the world unaware that the faerie are real. Toby worked among them in Rosemary and Rue and stayed in a hotel full of them in A Local Habitation.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Toby points out that for all the wonders of Faerie, it took mortals to come up with flush toilets.
  • The Nameless: The former Queen of the Mists, as revealed in A Red-Rose Chain. She sold it in exchange for power, which she then lost thanks to Toby.
  • Never Say "Die": Played with; the fae, left unmolested, are pretty much immortal. Not so much the changelings. When murder happens, though, among the nobility, there are explicit and elaborate forms full of flowery euphemisms for announcing when someone has died. For brevity, these are sometimes shortened to "(Person) has stopped their dancing."
  • Never Split the Party: Toby knows this, and so does her young assistant. Too bad people refuse to stay together...
    • Lampshaded by May in Ashes of Honor who flat out asks why Toby is splitting the party Scooby-Doo style.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: As of the latest books, Toby herself, thanks to a Healing Factor strong enough to recover from just about anything including being stabbed in the heart.
  • No Bisexuals:
    • Averted- Liz, Tybalt, and Quentin have all had relationships with both sexes.
      • Word of God is that every character except for Toby (who had a 1950's upbringing) should be considered bisexual. Fae are flexible like that.
  • No Periods, Period: Played with. Toby implies "female troubles" to get a male to quit trying to ask her questions.
  • The Nose Knows:
    • Tybalt, though he repeatedly stresses that he's not a bloodhound.
    • Madden isn't a bloodhound either, but at least he's a Cu Sidhe.
    • Where magic is concerned, Toby herself. To the point she can smell through glamours. This is implied to be another trait of the Dochas Sidhe.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: The fate of the children stolen by Blind Michael.
  • The Oathbreaker: Changelings have a reputation for this, whether rightly or no.
  • Offered the Crown: Toby gets An Offer You Can't Refuse to become Countess of Goldengreen. Sounds awesome, but it puts her life way at risk. She passes it off to Dean in "One Salt Sea."
  • Oh, Crap!: Toby gets hit with an evil pie in Chimes at Midnight. Not such an "oh crap" moment by itself, except the filling is instantly and unbreakably addictive, requiring her to eat more or starve to death in withdrawal.
  • Oh My Gods!: The Fae swear by their sacred trees ("Oak and ash!"), by the names of their progenitors ("Maeve's tits!"), or by other terms sacred to them ("Root and branch!").
  • The One Who Made It Out: Toby is this for Home.
  • Open Sesame: The phrase actually opens one of the doors of Goldengreen in Rosemary and Rue.
  • Oracular Urchin: Karen eventually, once her oneiromancer powers develop.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: If Toby is cheerful in the daytime, be wary and beware.
  • Papa Wolf: There are several males in the series whose kids you just really don't want to mess with under any circumstances.
    • Sylvester Torquill, toward Toby and his own daughter Rayseline.
    • Sir Etienne, toward his own daughter, Chelsea.
    • Tybalt, toward his nephew Raj.
  • The Pardon: At the end of Late Eclipses, Sylvester delivers one, signed by the High King himself, to save Toby from execution. Given Quentin's true identity, it's not hard to tell how he arranged it.
  • Parental Substitute: Sylvester toward Toby.
  • Peaceful in Death: Most of the people who died at ALH
  • Petting Zoo People: The Cait Sidhe and Kitsune look like people but have cat and fox ears (and tails) respectively. Cu Sidhe are similar to Cait Sidhe, but as dogs instead of cats.
  • Phone Call from the Dead: October Daye gets her Call to Adventure in Rosemary and Rue by receiving a phone call from the murder victim, who happens to be a fae, and who geases Toby into solving the case.
  • Pink Elephants: Toby hopes that a shrieking mermaid in a wheelchair will be taken for this, rather than a sign of the existence of Faerie.
    • In Ashes of Honor, they try to convince a human police officer that he's been given hallucinogenic drugs. He's not buying it.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Raj backs Toby up in asking Tybalt not to kill Julie for attacking her
  • Please Wake Up: Toby to Tybalt
  • Poisoned Weapons: Oleander's MO, later Raysel's
    • Several characters use arrows dipped in elf-shot, which sends fae to sleep for a hundred years. It's fatal to humans and changelings, though. Sometime it's altered to kill purebloods as well.
  • Poison Is Evil: Oleander
  • Poisonous Friend: Devin is this for everyone, Toby is implied to have been this for Julie, though she grew out of it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Subverted. April is ALH's intercom system. She was a dryad who lost her tree, so they worked her into the circuitry of a server to save her.
    • The endangered child in Ashes of Honor is pretty much used as a generator for teleportation magic to the point of being used up.
  • Power Incontinence: Toby explains in "No Sooner Met" that she now prefers her steak well done because her Dochas Sidhe Blood Magic will treat her to the cow's last moments if she eats it rare enough to still be bleeding. It was mentioned earlier in the series that riding someone else's death could very well kill Toby if she can't pull free of the psychometry in time..
    • Chelsea Aimes also has a major case of this. While at first her teleportation powers functioned just fine, they quickly spiraled out of control to the point where she can't stop teleporting. Even the evil noble trying to use her strength as a tool can't contain her, just make sure she'll cycle back to the same place.
  • Power Nullifier: Mixed up by Walther for Toby in Book 6 in case it worked on the child Toby was hired to find. Unfortunately, due to extreme injury, Toby didn't get to tell anyone that there was a counteragent to it that could be used within a certain time limit for anyone who got the nullifier on them besides the target. Whoops. Lucky thing it's not permanent.
  • The Promise: Part and parcel of faerie magic. Extremely Serious Business.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: How Toby got Goldengreen
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Migraines are a constant hazard for Toby after she uses magic
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Oleander
  • Psychopomp: May and Jazz, in different ways
  • Public Execution: Toby barely escaped one, Dugan wasn't so lucky.
  • Rags to Royalty: Luna looks like this but the reality is...more complicated.
  • Reclining Reigner: The Queen in the Mists
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Most of Devin's kids
  • Releasing from the Promise: Toby knows that if she asked Sylvester to release her from fealty to him, he'd do so. She'd never ask.
  • Reluctant Ruler: According to some of the fae history unearthed in Toby's adventures, many of the Kings and Queens of the fae were unwilling to rise to the positions of power they ended up in due to the tendency of royalty to be assassinated by others who want the throne. Most recently this is true for the true heir to the Kingdom of the Mists, who has been terrorized all her life by the pretender to the throne.
  • The Resenter: Raysel
  • Revenge Before Reason: Julie
  • Room Full of Crazy: Raysel's bedroom
  • Royally Screwed Up: All of the Firstborn
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Sylvester and Luna Torquill of Shadowed Hills. The Torquills have a 100% Adoration Rating and are very active in running their Duchy.
    • The Lordens, and their son Dean at Goldengreen Toby as well, for the brief time she has Goldengreen
    • Quentin, who it turns out is the Crown Prince of the whole western hemisphere.
  • Rule of Seven: Brought up as the length of time it took for Toby to be declared dead. Interestingly, she was gone as a fish 14 (twice seven) years. It is also the amount of time in the mundane world that many legalities recognize as having had to pass before someone is declared legally dead.
  • Rule of Three: Threes are very important to the fae.
  • Sanity Slippage: During Toby's missing 14 years, Sylvester had a back-and-forth case stemming from the grief of missing his wife, his child, and one of his most beloved knights who is his brothers stepdaughter.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Toby and Tybalt frequently have entire conversations this way.
  • Science Is Useless: Averted by Walther, and also by Karen's sister Cassandra, who's studying the physics of knowes.
  • Second Love: Tybalt confesses that his love for Toby is this.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Rayseline attempts this.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Dear God, their Origin Story...
  • Senseless Waste Of Human Life: the Wild Hunt
  • Shapeshifting Lover: Pureblooded Gean-Cannah.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Toby, with help from Stacy, May and Luna
  • Shout-Out:
    Toby: The First Rule of Tautology Club is the first rule of Tautology Club.
    • Toby, being more long-lived than a human, has also had time to read X-Men. She tells Tybalt to pop his claws — a turn of phrase usually reserved to describe Wolverine.
    • Quentin, being from Canada, is a fan of Great Big Sea, and quotes their songs to cast some of his spells.
  • Something About a Rose: Roses show up everywhere in this series. They're used in alchemical potions, travel between realms (the "Rose Road"), in magical bindings, to send messages, as symbolism, you name it. Two important characters have roses as part of their magical signature scent. Other characters are basically dryads, but for roses instead of trees. One of Toby's "cats" is actually an animate rosebush.
  • So Proud of You: Toby refers to this to Quentin in Ashes of Honor
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Pureblood and human relationships are almost always star-crossed. Toby refers to this as the "faerie bride" act, and notes that it never ends well. Except for Bridget and Etienne, that is.
  • Suicide Mission: Luna sends Toby on one
  • Supernatural Phone: The landlines and cellphones owned by the faerie are all magicked for privacy and to work under odd magical conditions where technology ordinarily would not function, generally by the folks at ALH Computing.
    • The Luidaeg's in particular deserves special mention as it is weird even by faerie standards. Beyond not actually being connected to anything, in order to dial it Toby has to press random numbers in random patterns while doing a spell and then gets odd noise before the connection will finally go through.
  • Synchronization: May freaks out when this starts happening again between her and Toby, because it means Toby is in mortal danger.
  • Take Cover!: Toby has to say this a lot
  • Talk About the Weather: Toby tries this on Tybalt in Ashes of Honor. It's about as effective as such conversational gambits usually are.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: An oneiromancer power. Toby swiftly grows used to dream-visits by Karen after the latter is revealed as an Oneiromancer in An Artificial Night.
  • Tangled Family Tree: All of Faerie is descended from three people: Oberon, Titania, and Maeve. Though Amandine's mother might be an as yet unknown fourth.
  • Technicolor Fire: A Candela's merry dancers
  • Teleportation: The province of the Tuatha De Danaan, though several other types of fae have the ability to some extent.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: So far, in addition to October, we've seen a January, an April, a May, a June, and an August. January and April are related by adoption. May was originally October's Fetch. In the third book, Lily comments, "Whatever will we do when the months of the year are used entirely?" Word of God says that in Faerie, it's rude to name someone directly after someone else, but honoring somebody by using a name with a related meaning is acceptable. October's name is somehow connected with September Torquill, January's mother.
    • Gillian means "July". Word of God says this is deliberate.
    • Let's not forget Evening Winterrose.
      • Who had a sister named Dawn. who might actually be her daughter since Evening's actually Firstborn.
  • The Older Immortal: The Luidaeg - and pretty much any other Firstborn. Toby comments in one book about the inadvisability of taunting someone who has firsthand experience of continental drift.
  • They Died Because of You: Easiest way to guilt trip Toby
  • Think Nothing of It: As Faerie thinks of thanks as implying further obligation from the party receiving the thanks, anything that even smacks of gratitude gets this from the fae; the only exception is in the case where there's already a bond of fealty between the two parties.
  • Time Skip: A few months have passed between Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation. And An Artificial Night takes place in 2010. Word of God says the 2014 date is a mistake that somehow escaped all proofreading.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Toby gets a massive powerup and finds out that she's not Daoine Sidhe when Amandine saves her from dying by elfshot. She becomes less human and starts to resemble her mother more.
  • Trail Of Breadcrumbs: Toby wishes for this on one of her adventures into deeper Faerie.
  • Transformation Trauma: Toby in Book 1 after the events at the Gardens.
    • All the children Blind Michael warped into riders and ridden, particularly Katie, who remained aware as he slowly turned her into a horse.
  • Triang Relations: Type 7, with Connor, Rayseline, and Toby. Not so much anymore, now that Raysel is out of the picture.
    • And then there's the Connor-Toby-Tybalt triangle, though Connor's death removes one side of it.
  • Too Hungry to Be Polite: Toby, often
  • *Twang* Hello: Toby saves Patrick Lorden from this in their first meeting
  • Unable to Cry: Once Toby realized how long she had been gone.
  • Undying Loyalty: Toby doesn't just work for Sylvester - he's her liege, and she honors, loves, and respects him for his person as well as his office.
  • Unequal Pairing: January's parents, the Lordens
  • Unholy Matrimony: Oleander and Simon seem to have this, even without the actual matrimony
  • Unusual Ears: All of the fae
  • Unusual Euphemism: Fae swear by their own gods, and they swear on the things that are sacred to them. They don't completely fail to use human profanity, it just mingles in.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Connor and Toby, both, to each other.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Connor to Rayseline, and vice versa.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • The Usurper: the Queen in the Mists
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Selkies and Cait Sidhe, among others
  • War Is Hell: A major part of One Salt Sea, even though Toby succeeds in stopping the war in time.
  • Wham Line: In Late Eclipses:
    ...if he'd said "By the way, you're not Daoine Sidhe...", I would have laughed him out of the room.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Tempting Fate is pretty much at its worst when the faerie do it.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Toby likens the Luidaeg to her own personal Q from James Bond, since she provides Toby with needed transformation spells, information, etc.
  • The Wild Hunt: An Artificial Night.
  • Will Talk for a Price: Bucer O'Malley in One Salt Sea
  • With Due Respect: "Not to be rude or anything."
  • Villains Out Shopping: Treasa Riordan has an active World of Warcraft account and schedules court business around raids.
  • A Year and a Day: Walther's anti-magic potion lasts this long.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Evening, who only ever called Toby 'October', resorts to calling her Toby in her last answering machine message.
    • Tybalt has a number of nicknames for Toby, several of which she hates, but only calls her October when he's very worried about her.
  • You Have Failed Me: Played with. Overdramatic Etienne, wracked with guilt over a slip of discretion during Toby's missing years makes him feel this way, although Sylvester Torquill is one of the kindest, nicest, and most forgiving of the fae — and that's saying a lot given how nasty most of the powerful ones are.
  • You Meddling Kids: Invoked by Toby herself, when the Big Bad of One Salt Sea got called out as such. She really does have meddling kids, too: Quentin and Raj.
  • You Must Be Cold: Six pages into A Local Habitation, Tybalt lends Toby his leather jacket because "You look cold." As of the end of Late Eclipses, three books later, she still has it. Tybalt goes off with it and then returns it via May in One Salt Sea.
  • Yandere: Simon could be seen as a non-romantic one for Toby. His ideas for protecting her including turning her into a fish and trying to turn her into a tree

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/OctoberDaye