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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.

So far, the series 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)

There's also a short story called "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.

The author, Seanan McGuire, has sold the first ten Toby books. The upcoming ones are:

  • Ashes of Honor
  • The Chimes at Midnight
  • The Winter Long
  • A Red-Rose Chain
  • Once Broken Faith
Tropes used in October Daye include:

  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In One Salt Sea, the scary, unaffectionate Luidaeg gives Quentin's hair an affectionate ruffle.
  • Alien Geometries - Knowes tend to have these. ALH's knowe in particular. 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.
  • Arranged Marriage - Connor and Rayseline.
  • 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."
  • Ax Crazy: Rayseline, and the Big Bad of each book, to varying degrees..
  • Blood Magic: The Daoine Sidhe (and any changelings descended from them) are particularly good at it. The Luidaeg and several other faerie are also as good at it.
    • Dochas Sidhe!
  • 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.
  • 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: Tybalt, King of Cats, is a prime example when he's not being casually sexy or mysterious.
    • This is, in fact, a truism for the entire Cait Sidhe population. 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.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Tybalt, King of Cats.
  • 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.
  • Cats Hate Water: Tybalt has a warding spell to keep his feet from getting wet as he walks through watery areas.
  • 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: A number of spells dissipate at sunrise.
  • Cell Phone: Toby had one right at the prologue of Rosemary and Rue, had a couple during the case (all of which got destroyed). In One Salt Sea, Sylvester pretty much forces her to get another one.
    • There are magic-enhanced ones in A Local Habitation that can call into the knowes. They can, of course, suffer problems with signal, but also spells that block them from getting calls through.
    • Toby is finally forcibly given one in One Salt Sea so her allies and family can keep in touch with her.
  • Character Tics: Toby wipes her fingers on her jeans all the time, from whatever she happened to get on her fingers. Most often blood; her own, even.
  • Character Witness: The 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.

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Amandine, Toby's mother.
  • Creepy Child: April.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tybalt, King of the Cats.
  • 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.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: More like Defrosting Terrifyingly Powerful Bad-Tempered Loner. The Luidaeg.
  • Doppelganger: Cruelly, cruelly 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.
  • Drives Like Crazy: May treats traffic laws like mere suggestions and uses brakes in a way that they were not generally intended. This does not improve as books go on.
  • The Fair Folk: In modern times, with changelings; some handle this well, some don't.
  • Fantastic Racism: Changelings are thought of as less by the pureblood fae, and some of them are very nasty about it.
  • 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: Kidnapper sends the finger of the victim to the victim's family in One Salt Sea.
  • 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.
  • Friendless Background: It seems implied that the Luidaeg doesn't have anyone she's friends with until Toby comes along.
  • Friendship Moment: the Luidaeg has lots of these in book 3, but the ending in particular is a nice one. Ditto book 5.
  • Foe Yay: According to Toby in book 1, she and Tybalt have never gotten along when she was growing up, with her being a mere changeling, although their current relationship hints at something else.
  • 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: And various other fractions, which also affect how well they pass for human.
  • Happily Married: Sylvester and Luna Torquill.
  • 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 Aunt: Toby to the Brown kids, a.k.a. "Aunt Birdie." Also Sylvester to Gillian, apparently.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the book titles come from Shakespeare:
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Toby has a wide variety of these, given the nature of the fae.
  • Interspecies Romance: most romances in this series. Extra points go to the Lordens for having a land fae marrying a sea fae.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Toby does this in One Salt Sea to throw the kidnapper off balance.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lily.
    • As of One Salt Sea, Connor.
  • Kill It with Fire: one of humanity's reactions to the truth of the Fae, the other being They Would Cut You Up.
  • Les Yay: Toby's fetch, May and her girlfriend.
  • Long-Lost Relative: The Luidaeg is Toby's aunt!
  • Mad Scientist: The staff of ALH. Mad coders, maybe.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Subverted as ALH uses both together in A Local Habitation.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Toby's personal death wish is pointed out to her in book 3.
  • Mama Bear: Toby. Although Stacy is a mother whose kids are still present, she falls apart when they're endangered. Toby, on the other hand rushes to the rescue of other people's children (and her own), 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Oleander is so obsessed with her name and personal scent that she uses the herb in all of her killings.
  • Missing Mom: Toby's missing 14 years caused her to be one without her consent.
    • Amandine is counted among the missing as well, though she does show up when the chips are down.
  • 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.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Toby.
  • Neat Freak: Elliott....and all Bannicks, really.
  • 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. Usually shortened to "(Person) has stopped their dancing."
  • Never Split the Party: Genre Savvy Toby knows this, and so does her young assistant. Too bad people refuse to stay together...
  • Non-Linear Character: Mary the Roane appears to be this.
  • No Periods, Period: Played with. Toby implies "female troubles" to get a male to quit trying to ask her questions.
  • 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."
  • Open Sesame
  • Our Mermaids Are Different
  • Petting Zoo People: The Cait Sidhe and Kitsune look like people but have cat and fox ears (and tails) respectively.
  • 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 Promise: Part and parcel of faerie magic. Serious Business.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Toby's fae magic is usually weak, but it strengthens when she's angry. Has changed a bit since Late Eclipses, the revelation that her mom is a Firstborn, and her blood has been rebalanced from being more human to its original state.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Sylvester and Luna Torquill, Toby as well, after she gets a title.. The Torquills in particular have a Hundred-Percent Adoration Rating.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Toby and Tybalt frequently have entire conversations this way.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Rayseline attempts this.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Dear God, their Origin Story...
  • Shapeshifting Lover
  • Sharing a Body: Alex and Terrie. With Horny Devils thrown in.
  • Something They Would Never Say: If Toby is cheerful in the daytime, be wary and beware.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Pureblood and human relationships are almost always star-crossed.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: So far, in addition to October, we've seen a January, an April, a May, and a June. January and April are related by adoption. May is October's fetch. In the third book, Lily comments, "Whatever will we do when the months of the year are used entirely?"
    • Let's not forget Evening Winterrose.
  • The Older Immortal
  • 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 in her fae levels/ 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.
  • 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.
  • Undying Loyalty
  • Unfortunate Names: Toby's full name is October Christine Daye — the unfortunate combination resulting from a loopy Daoine Sidhe (or not) mother who doesn't take into account that her changeling child will be tormented by human children.
  • 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.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Connor to Rayseline, and vice versa.
  • Urban Fantasy
  • 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.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In Toby's case, the completely justified phobia to water comes from [{{[spoiler| having spent 14 years as a fish}}. And she lives in San Francisco, the city by the bay. And one of her cases involves the sea fae.
  • The Wild Hunt: An Artificial Night.
  • 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.
  • 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.