Chimes at Midnight
Goodreads ratings
4.37 / 5

"Chimes at Midnight" Summary

By Seanan McGuire

urban fantasy | 357 pages | Published in 2013


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

Half-sidhe Toby Daye must navigate the treacherous politics of the fae world to solve a murder mystery and prevent a war.


In "Chimes at Midnight" by Seanan McGuire, the seventh installment of the bestselling October Daye urban fantasy series, readers are once again immersed in the thrilling world of Toby Daye, a half-human, half-faerie detective. Packed with suspense, action, and intricate world-building, this book takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through the magical streets of San Francisco.

Brief Synopsis

Set in a world where Faerie and the human realm exist side by side, "Chimes at Midnight" follows Toby Daye, a changeling detective who has the ability to navigate both worlds. Toby finds herself caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict involving the Faerie Court, as tensions rise and old alliances crumble.

The story takes place primarily in San Francisco, a city divided into different faerie territories, each ruled by a powerful noble. As Toby delves deeper into the mystery, she uncovers a plot that could have devastating consequences for both the human and faerie realms.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Toby DayeThe protagonist, a half-human, half-faerie detective with the ability to navigate both realms.
TybaltThe King of Cats, a powerful faerie ally and romantic interest of Toby.
May DayeToby's teenage daughter, who possesses her own unique fae powers.
Quentin SollysToby's squire and a half-human, half-faerie teenager who is eager to prove himself.
Countess Evening WinterroseA powerful faerie noble and rival of Toby who plays a significant role in the conflict.

Summary of Story Points over Chapters

Chapter 1: A Mysterious Murder

Toby is called to investigate a murder in the faerie territory of Shadowed Hills. The victim is a prominent member of the Court, and Toby quickly realizes that this murder is only the beginning of a much larger conspiracy.

Chapter 2: Uncovering Clues

Toby starts gathering clues and questioning various faerie nobles to unravel the mystery. She discovers that the murder is linked to a long-standing feud between two powerful factions within the Court.

Chapter 3: Tensions Rise

As Toby digs deeper into the case, tensions between the Court factions escalate. Political maneuvering and power struggles threaten to destabilize the entire faerie realm, and Toby must navigate treacherous waters to prevent a catastrophe.

Chapter 4: Unraveling the Plot

Toby uncovers a plot to overthrow the current ruler of the Court and seize power. She must race against time to expose the conspirators and prevent a full-scale war between the faerie factions.

Chapter 5: Confronting the Culprit

In a thrilling showdown, Toby confronts the mastermind behind the plot, Countess Evening Winterrose. With the help of her allies, including Tybalt and Quentin, Toby fights to protect the faerie realm from destruction.

Main Events

  • Toby investigates a murder in the faerie territory of Shadowed Hills.
  • She uncovers a conspiracy to overthrow the ruler of the Faerie Court.
  • Tensions between faerie factions escalate, threatening the stability of the realm.
  • Toby confronts Countess Evening Winterrose, the mastermind behind the plot.

Themes and Insights

Power and Politics

"Chimes at Midnight" explores the theme of power and politics within the faerie realm. The book delves into the complex dynamics between different faerie factions and the lengths they are willing to go to gain and maintain power. It highlights the consequences of unchecked ambition and the impact it can have on both individuals and society.

Loyalty and Betrayal

The story also delves into the theme of loyalty and betrayal. Toby must navigate a web of alliances and determine who she can trust as she unravels the conspiracy. The book explores the devastating effects of betrayal and the importance of standing by one's principles and chosen family.

Identity and Acceptance

As a half-human, half-faerie changeling, Toby grapples with her identity throughout the series. "Chimes at Midnight" continues to explore her journey of self-discovery and acceptance. The book examines the challenges of straddling two worlds and the search for belonging and understanding.

Reader's Takeaway

"Chimes at Midnight" is a thrilling and captivating addition to the October Daye series. McGuire's intricate world-building and complex characters draw readers into a fantastical realm filled with danger and intrigue. The book's exploration of power, loyalty, and identity will resonate with readers, and its fast-paced plot will keep them on the edge of their seats.


"Chimes at Midnight" by Seanan McGuire is a must-read for fans of urban fantasy and the October Daye series. With its engaging plot, well-developed characters, and thought-provoking themes, the book delivers an immersive reading experience. McGuire's skillful storytelling and attention to detail make this installment a standout in the series, leaving readers eager for more adventures with Toby Daye.

Chimes at Midnight FAQ

  1. What is 'Chimes at Midnight' about?

    Chimes at Midnight is the seventh book in the October Daye urban fantasy series by Seanan McGuire. It follows the adventures of Toby Daye, a half-human, half-fae knight, as she navigates the treacherous politics and dangers of the fae world while solving mysteries and facing personal challenges.

  2. Do I need to read the previous books in the series to understand 'Chimes at Midnight'?

    It is recommended to read the previous books in the October Daye series to fully understand the characters, their relationships, and the ongoing storyline. However, 'Chimes at Midnight' provides some context to help new readers understand the world and characters.

  3. What genre is 'Chimes at Midnight'?

    'Chimes at Midnight' is a urban fantasy novel with elements of mystery, adventure, and fae mythology.

  4. Is 'Chimes at Midnight' suitable for young readers?

    The October Daye series, including 'Chimes at Midnight', is intended for a mature audience due to its complex themes, violence, and some adult content.

  5. What sets 'Chimes at Midnight' apart from other urban fantasy books?

    'Chimes at Midnight' stands out for its intricate world-building, diverse and well-developed characters, and the unique blend of fae mythology with modern-day San Francisco setting. The series also delves into complex relationships and personal growth alongside its supernatural elements.