This blog post was revised and updated on 10/9/12 to include a review of the sixth book in this series, Ashes of Honor. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and reviews of the first five books:
BOOK 6: Ashes of Honor
The plot follows Toby and her friends—mostly Quentin and Tybalt—as they begin to track Chelsea, only to find that the girl has apparently discovered her teleporting powers and has been jumping back and forth from place to place and—even worse—from realm to realm. Once again, Toby seeks assistance from the Luidaeg, the powerful sea witch who is the daughter of Oberon and Maeve as well as being Toby's aunt. The Luidaeg realizes that Chelsea is a rare changeling who has come into her powers without the built-in blocks to control them. As Chelsea teleports uncontrollably to other realms, she is tearing the fabric between the realms and endangering both the Faerie and mortal worlds.
As Toby and her allies search for Chelsea, they learn that someone else is after her as well—someone who wants Chelsea to open particular portals to gain access to forbidden realms. Soon, the good guys get dangerously involved with the beautiful, powerful, cruel, and very ambitious leader of the Faerie realm that lies next door to Tamed Lightning (which was the setting for book 2). Eventually all of the lead characters endure horrific injuries—particularly Toby and Tybalt, who save each other's lives several times and come closer and closer to admitting that they are in love with one another. A related subplot features Raj, Tybalt's nephew and heir to his throne, and Raj's villainous father, Samson. Samson is determined to force his son into power now rather than later, and his first step is to try to kill both Tybalt and Toby.
This is another great addition to the series, with a fast-paced, suspense-filled plot and a nice development in the relationship between Toby and Tybalt. I have always hoped that Toby would acknowledge her true feelings for Tybalt, and vice versa; Conner was a nice enough guy, but a bit too much of a wuss for such a powerful heroine as Toby, with her militant attitude and mad fighting skills. Tybalt is just as tough and passionate as Toby, so let's hope that their relationship lasts (and that McGuire lets him live!).
Here's what McGuire says about the titles on her web site: "While I'm careful to select plays for their content as much as for having cool-sounding quotes, the parallels may not always be the obvious ones. I'm trying not to repeat plays if I have any other choice, and have a file of potential names, just in case it becomes an issue." Click HERE to read FAQs about the series, including FAQs about Toby's world.
Click HERE to go to the page on McGuire's web site entitled "Fairy Tale Survival FAQ." This clever and humorous page invites you to imagine that you yourself are trapped in a fairy tale and provides answers to questions that will ensure that you survive your experience.