Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: August 30th, 2022
Pages: 384, hardcover
October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal,” she’s doing her best to adjust.
It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.
Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true.
The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.
Toby has not had an easy time of it. She missed her daughter’s childhood when her stepfather turned her into a fish and left her in a pond. Her liege’s wife hates her and Toby is not allowed into their domain. So, in the last book, when she finally, FINALLY got a bit of happiness and married Tybalt, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Be the Serpent is not just that shoe, it’s Imelda Marcos’s entire collection of shoes dropping.
Toby’s best friend’s children are in danger, and Toby finds she may not know Stacy as well as she thinks she does. Toby’s powers have grown exponentially since the first book, as she becomes more Fae, but that might not be enough to take on her latest foe.
Toby is a hero. Toby views herself less as a hero, and more as someone who just keeps getting thrown into messes and has to do her utmost to protect her friends and family. She does an amazing job, whether she thinks so or not.
Toby has forged strong bonds with those who are not related to her by blood and most of them are more loyal to her than they are to their actually lieges. The relationships with her blood relatives? Well, the less said about most of them, the better. Who would have thought, back in Rosemary and Rue, that Toby the fish would find love with the King of Cats? She’s gained a sister (her Fetch May), a squire, a husband, and a strong team that supports her, whether she lets them or not.
It’s almost impossible to review this without spoiling it, so I’ll tell you why you should read it (and the rest of the series, if you haven’t already). The series just keeps getting stronger. Each book builds on the one before it, and this one is the culmination of so many storylines. Each character is well-drawn, and is not merely a prop for Toby. The descriptions are lush, and there’s an appropriate sense of menace throughout. You know something bad has happened. You know something worse is going to happen. The one person who might be able to help Toby is apathetic, at best, and obstructive, at worst. Frankly, I was amazed the body count wasn’t higher. I understand why the book ended the way it did, but it’s hard to see what this cost Toby and know that you’ll have to wait until at least next year for the next book. Be sure you have plenty of time set aside, because this is not a story that lends itself to stopping places.