In this first book, we are introduced to October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who works as a PI with a live-in fianc‚ and a daughter. Her liege's wife and daughter are missing and Toby is asked to investigate. In the process of the investigation, she gets caught by two purebloods and is turned into a fish. No one knows. And suddenly 14 years later, the curse just lifts off by itself.
After the curse lifts off, she's disoriented. The whole world is shocked at her return from a so-thought death. Her fianc‚ and daughter ignore her return since she can't give them a satisfactory reason for her disappearance (they don't know she's fae). And all Toby wants is to pretend nothing has happened. She ignores her liege's invitation and calls, her childhood friend's invitation. It takes one of her close friend's death and her subsequent curse to bring her back to the Faerie land.
I'm a huge fan of this series. I'm doing a re-read of the series to read #5. That said, I think this book is the weakest in the series. The prologue is strong but after she comes back from the curse, we are fast-forwarded to 6 months later. The events that took place in the interim are given as an internal monologue (This book has first-person narration).
This meat of the book takes place in less than week and during that period we are introduced to so many characters, so many monologues of their relation to Toby that it sometimes is hard to keep them straight. It is hard to relate to the side characters which are such a shame. On the other hand, the world-built is very good. We get a strong feel for the faerie world and how difficult the survival is for changelings caught in between the two worlds but belonging to neither.
At the end of the book, while I was not that impressed by Toby, I was invested enough to continue the series. And the books do keep getting better, if one can give this series a chance.
The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery...before the curse catches up with her.