A Long Time Coming: Seanan McGuire’s The Unkindest Tide

Many, many ages ago, I read and reviewed this excellent novel. That review was lost to the sands of time. I recently reread this, however, and I never regret revisiting this world.

With The Unkindest Tide, McGuire begins cashing checks that were written closer to the beginning of this series. Promises that were made have now been kept. There’s so much more that happens, though. It’s hard to summarize everything that happens here, so I’m just going to suggest that if you’re interested in the book, just read it. Do NOT start with this book, though, if you’re not already familiar with this series. You could, theoretically, but it’s not a great jumping off point. Something big and important happens here that’s going to have very little impact if you’re not already caught up.

McGuire always shines with her characters. It is telling that, in one book, she manages to not only craft entire, layered, complicated characters but make them sympathetic and believable is a great example of how well she writes this series. She truly loves this series and it shows. The care with which she crafts her characters is by far the best part of the series. The plot elements are excellently done as well, but the characters, even the less important ones, are all beautiful, fully realized beings. Watch out for the amazing Captain Pete, who is by far my favorite.

As for the plot, in addition to the enormous, important point that has been on the back burner for several years and as many books, there’s an intricate murder plot that is masterfully crafted. Old issues are revisited and old enemies which were gone are most certainly not forgotten pop out of the woodwork. And politics! So many different kinds of politics come into play here! The political systems that McGuire’s fae societies operate under are almost characters in their own right. The Selkies are not the Merrow are not the land fae and so on. I was intrigued by the Selkie clans and their system of leadership. Which is an unfortunate interest of my own, for, uh, reasons. That I won’t get into right now.

At the end of the day, this is an absolutely amazing addition to the series. I love it. It’s not my favorite entry to the series, but it’s most certainly in my top five. The scene where October and Annie work together to bring Annie’s wishes to fruition (again, trying not to spoil) gave me chills and made me cry a little. Another scene with Annie working with her sister on another task made me tear up for a different reason (I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it). I don’t know what it is about this series, but it has its hooks very firmly in me.

Please read it. You won’t be disappointed.

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