SF/F Read Alongs: The Winter Long, Part 1

In the first part of The Winter Long, things are getting dramatic and they’re not wasting any time. We’ve been building up to the events in this book since the series began, and I cannot wait to get my teeth into this part of Toby’s story. So let’s get to it!

This week we’re covering chapters 1-7, and there will be spoilers galore!



For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.

And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to.


Simon is back, and unsurprisingly no one is happy. And he seems to be convinced that what he did to Toby saved her life… Do you think he’s telling the truth about that or is Team Toby absolutely right not to trust him?

OK, first of all I have waited all series long to get to this plot arc, so right away this storyline is utterly delicious to me. Simon is every bit as creepy, unnerving and despicable as I’d thought… But of course, there’s more to it than that. Of course there is. No one is ever the villain in their own story, in their own eyes, after all. Of course Simon believes he had reasons for doing what he did – and in an odd, twisted Faerie sort of way, as Sylvester points out, what he did to Toby does make a certain kind of sense from a protective point of view – assuming, of course, that Simon IS telling the truth and that anything he says can be trusted. Which I very much doubt.

So right now I think it’s a little of both. I want Toby to hear him out, but at the same time I’d be perfectly happy if Tybalt ripped his tongue out for him, heh!


Once again, Sylvester was keeping secrets – but this time he’s stepping up to the vengeful plate! Do you think Sylvester has what it takes to bring his brother down? And will he ever tell Toby the whole truth?

Here is where I’m inclined to be harsh toward Sylvester, because while I can fully understand his need to avenge what was done to Luna and Rayseline, I also think he’s got just about zero right to be upset with Simon on Toby’s behalf, at least as far as their conversation went. I don’t remember exactly what geas is holding whose tongue at this point, and so maybe I’m being overly harsh, but Sylvester kept secrets from her regarding pretty damned important information, and if he did that of his own will, no matter what the circumstances were, then I’m on Toby’s side; he did her wrong.

That said, nobody can fight like family, and given the size and nature of Toby’s found family here, there is one epic battle coming. I am all kinds of here for it.

But to return to Sylvester vs. Simon … I’m not sure? I don’t approve of Sylvester’s actions, but I do still think that the phrase “still waters run deep” applies here. Sylvester has always been cast in the role of Good Guy/Father Figure/Sensible Dude, but what happens when you strip that away and expose what’s underneath? We’ve already seen that his feelings for his brother do not involve puppies and rainbows and other nice things. He wants Simon to pay, and maybe he’ll have to reach pretty deep to find the strength to make that happen – but will the cost be worth it? Again: Sylvester is the good guy. He’s a hero of the realm, and I’m worried that letting him take his revenge on Simon will undo a lot of what makes him who he is. I don’t see Toby letting that happen, no matter how upset she is with him.

As for telling Toby the whole truth… We shall see. *Grin*


Never thought we’d see the day, but this time around the Luidaeg seems to be in trouble and it might well be up to Toby to get her out of it. So now we know that the villain behind all of this is someone Toby knew … Any guesses about who?


So the Luidaeg is not infallible. We knew this already, I suspect, because to make her infallible would eventually make her boring, no matter how much we might love her snark and her temper. But to demonstrate her weaknesses this way is clever because this isn’t a weakness or a flaw that comes naturally from the Luidaeg’s personality or nature. Someone else has made her weak. Someone out there has the Luidaeg under their thumb, and that thought is possibly even more terrifying than the Luidaeg at full power. How the hell is Toby going to handle this one?

And no, I’m not saying a word about who that person is. Some spoilers are too much, too soon. Just you wait.



2 thoughts on “SF/F Read Alongs: The Winter Long, Part 1

  1. This book is one of my favourites in the series – it was a definitely game-changer! I loved that we finally got some answers, although of course, these just gave us more questions. And the Luidaeg is such a fantastic character.

  2. Haha – yes, who indeed would want the Luidaeg under their thumb! Nobody, she might get out from under there and then you’d be in a whole lot of trouble.
    Sylvester – I really wouldn’t want him to do anything that he regrets later. He is kind of annoying me just at the moment but it’s difficult to be completely angry with him – it’s Sylvester.
    Funnily enough I really wanted Toby to listen to Simon. It stands to reason that we couldn’t learn everything that way though – it would have just been too easy.
    Lynn 😀

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