Book Review: “Hope is Swift” by Seanan McGuire

Posted October 4, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: “Hope is Swift” by Seanan McGuire

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Hope is Swift" by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #13.1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW Books on September 3, 2019
Pages: 42
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Also in this series: Chimes at Midnight

Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Beneath the Sugar Sky, Night and Silence, "Suffer a Sea-change", The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork", Tricks for Free, That Ain't Witchcraft, "The Measure of a Monster", The Unkindest Tide, Come Tumbling Down, Imaginary Numbers, "Follow the Lady", "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met", Across the Green Grass Fields

A short story, 13.1, in the October Daye urban fantasy series based in the San Francisco-Bay Area and revolving around a changeling knight errant and her friends and chosen family. The focus is on Raj, Tybalt’s heir. It’s been an hour since Tybalt and Toby set sail for the Duchy of Ships in The Unkindest Tide, 13.

This story is currently found in the back of The Unkindest Tide.

My Take

McGuire uses a first person protagonist point-of-view from Raj’s perspective, which allows us to perceive first-hand the lessons Raj is learning about kingship.

Ooh, Toby has no idea the hole she could have been in with Raj! Bad enough that Peter Lorden has his own, similar, dreams!!

It’s cute that Raj and Ginerva are teaching each other; she’s supervising him while he’s teaching her the more delicate side of magic.

The primary theme in “Hope is Swift” is Raj having to become king so much sooner than he’d thought and all the fallout he’s now dealing with because of it. Part of his questioning is the perceptions of the Daoine Sidhe and why the Cait Sidhe should strive so hard to emulate them.

There are different rules about violence for the Cait Sidhe, particularly when it comes to one king succeeding another. Luckily for Raj, he’s considered “orphaned”.

McGuire provides some back story on Helen’s and Raj’s “misadventures” in Blind Michael’s lands. I definitely have to go back and re-read this series!

The conflict of the story is Raj’s love (and fears) for Helen, which combine with his desire for independence, all of which lead to Raj’s trauma. There is one good side to this disaster, as Raj learns that the Court of Cats could be doing so much more to help. Nor is it just the cats who need more help.

And it all comes down to a question of honor, and I absolutely love when Raj realizes he’s already a hero.

The Story

It’s not fair. Raj isn’t ready for this. He thought he had years left, and now everyone is treating him like he’s fragile.

He wants his independence and freedom…until he learns better.

The Characters

Rajiv “Raj” is the Crown Prince of the Court of Dreaming Cats, adopted as heir by Uncle Tybalt, the former king of the Dreaming Cats, who stepped down after events in Night and Silence, 12. He’ll need a new name, as “Tybalt” is his king name. Raj’s mother hadn’t had enough power to transform from her cat shape and has died. His father, Samson, tried to lead a revolt against Tybalt (Ashes of Honor, 6).

Raj’s friends can only be outside the Court and include Helen; Dean Lorden, Count of Goldengreen; Quentin Sollys, Sir Toby’s squire; and, Chelsea, Sir Etienne’s daughter, who loves medical forensics TV series.

The terrified Helen is Raj’s half-Hob girlfriend who loves to sew and lives near the Castro neighborhood (An Artificial Night, 3). Her father, Willis, is a Hob, who tolerates Raj’s visits. Tina had been Helen’s human mother, the woman Willis had loved.

The Court of Dreaming Cats is…
…based in San Francisco. Cal is somehow a they, but he seems to be a single Cait Sidhe. Lady Ginerva, a Princess of Cats from the Court of Whispering Cats (Night and Silence), is standing in as regent until Raj is old enough to take the throne.

Stacy Brown is the “thin-blood” to whom Cal refers, a one-quarter changeling who is best friends with Toby. Danny McReady is a Bridge Troll who drives a taxi and is another friend of Toby’s. April O’Leary is a cyber-Dryad and daughter of Countess January O’Leary of Tamed Lightning. Ellyllon is a healer at the Court of Shadowed Hills. Dr Walther Davies teaches at UC-Berkeley and is a Tylwyth Teg.

The Court of Whispering Cats is…
…based in the Kingdom of Silences and is ruled by Jolgeir, Ginerva’s father. Her mother is human, and they have/had three changeling daughters who are now all Fae, thanks to Toby (Night and Silence).

The Court of Golden Cats is…
…based in Berkeley where Shade, a Blue Point Siamese, is queen.

Dr Bailey is one of the veterinarians. Blind Michael had made a habit of kidnapping children for his Hunts in An Artificial Night. Cait Sidhe are shapeshifting cats.

The Title

The title is part of a quote from Shakespeare’s Richard III and reflects Raj’s own wishes that “Hope is Swift”.

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