My general impression of Chimes at Midnight is, “wow, McGuire really loves to put Toby through the wringer.” Just when Toby manages to get a handle on her life, and starts to get used to the idea of having the King of the Cats as her boyfriend, something else comes up. In this case, the thing that comes up is a number of changelings dying from goblin fruit, a terrifyingly addictive fruit from Faerie that is deadly to changelings and humans. (It is not illegal because it doesn’t affect pure blooded fey as strongly or as lethally as changelings or humans. With that said, sale of goblin fruit is at least disapproved of because it might cause problems for the fey if humans started dying from it.)
Toby attempts to present her findings to the Queen, only to discover that the goblin fruit is being sold with permission from the crown. Further protests from Toby result in the Queen exiling her from the Kingdom of Mists. Toby is given three days to get out of the Kingdom of Mists or return to her liege lord’s lands. Of course, what she does instead is go to the Luidaeg for advice. From there she’s directed to do some research about the previous King and she learns that the current Queen is actually an usurper.
Toby has three days to gather her allies, find the missing heir and depose the Queen. There are of course complications. The missing heir would like to remain missing, she has to make some very dangerous deals and the Queen has more than a few nasty tricks up her sleeve. Toby navigates through a number of alarming twists and turns of plot with her usual destructive flair. McGuire is good at creating situations that Toby can just barely get through by the skin of her teeth, and there’s always the looming possibility that something fatal or at least extremely inconvenient (such as getting turned into a fish) might happen to our heroine.
This was a really great book with excellent pacing and lots of interesting twists and turns.