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
- 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)
- "Rat-Catcher", which focuses on the 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.
McGuire has sold the first ten Toby books. The upcoming ones are:
- A Red-Rose Chain
- Once Broken Faith
This series provides examples of:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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, and the Big Bad of each book, to varying degrees.
- 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.
- Back from the Dead: Countess Evening Winterrose who 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.
- Bad Dreams: About being a fish.
- 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.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: October and Tybalt
- 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.
- 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.
- Dochas Sidhe are even better.
- 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.
- The Call Left A Message: Countess Evening Winterrose's phone message.
- Cats Are Magic: Faerie superstition goes that, so long as a cat exists, the memory of the fae will go on.
- 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.
- 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.
- Celestial Deadline: Sunrise burns away magic, dissolving most spells.
- 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.
- Commonality Connection: Tybalt and May, or so May assures Toby.
- 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
- Crush Blush: Toby, when Tybalt compliments her looks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deceptive Legacy: Played with:
- Amandine is deceptive to Toby and pretty much most of the rest of the faerie about Toby's true bloodlines.
- 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.
- Disappeared Dad: Mainly because he was unaware of the child's existence, Sir Etienne of Shadowed Hills. Once he becomes aware of the child's existence, he steps up and the trope stops applying.
- Doctor's Orders: Jin tries this in Ashes of Honor
- 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.
- 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.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Samson
- The Fair Folk: Some Purebloods, especially the most insane or the Firstborn, fall into this.
- Faking the Dead: Evening Winterrose
- 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.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Arguably, what happens to everyone who dies at ALH, because their memories aren't preserved by the nighthaunts. January doesn't even get digitized into the computer, so she's the first truly gone fairy in a long time.
- 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.
- 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 rosebay 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Connor the Selkie jumped in front of a projectile meant for October's daughter Gillian.
- 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!"
- Honorary Uncle: Toby is "Auntie Birdie" to all of Mitch and Stacy's kids.