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An Artificial Night (October Daye, Book 3)…

An Artificial Night (October Daye, Book 3) (edition 2010)

by Seanan McGuire

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7143813,199 (4.06)35
Title:An Artificial Night (October Daye, Book 3)
Authors:Seanan McGuire
Info:DAW (2010), Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:series, fae

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An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire



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An Artificial Night
3.5 Stars

Knight Errant for the Duke of Shadowed Hills, Toby Daye is taking a well-earned break after her last case when she learns that several fae as well as mortal children have been taken right from under their parents’ noses. Upon learning that the culprit is none other than Blind Michael, leader of the Wild Hunt, Toby makes it her mission in life to rescue the children and teach the malicious fiend a lesson he won’t soon forget. That is unless she first falls prey to inexorable power …

This book has left me feeling somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, there are numerous appealing elements such as the compelling world building, the intriguing hints at something developing between Toby and the enigmatic Tybalt and the insights into the various secondary characters.
Unfortunately, these are undermined by the problematic aspects of the story, i.e., Toby’s innate martyr complex, her pathetic investigative skills, and her annoying connection to Connor.

McGuire’s world building goes from strength to strength. As in the previous installments, there is a great deal of focus on the pure-blood/changeling distinction as well as the divisions between Oberon, Maeve and Titania’s children. It can get a little confusing at times, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Moreover, the Blind Michael storyline is intense and suspenseful as he is definitely one of the more evil villains in this genre and his powers and abilities are enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.

Toby is a likable heroine and it is interesting to learn more about her relationships with Luna, Sylvester, Quentin and the Luidaeg. That said, her tendency toward self-destructive behavior and the fact that she never seems to actually use her brain even though the clues are right in front of her gets tiresome after a while.

Furthermore, her love life leaves a lot to be desired. Tybalt is the obvious choice, but this doesn’t seem to be going anywhere yet, and Connor is a poor substitute if one can even call him that. While one cannot help sympathizing with his marital predicament, it is one of his own making and it is selfish of him to expect Toby to feel responsible for his happiness. Moreover, he is far too beta for my tastes and definitely not hero material.

Despite its problems, this is an entertaining series and I’ve heard that it improves with each installment so I'm willing to continue to tough it out if only to find out more about Tybalt and some of the other unanswered questions. ( )
  Lauren2013 | May 8, 2016 |
Note: Even tho this is Book 3 in the series, it works mostly fine as a stand alone. Several side characters were introduced in the previous books but one can get the gist of the main character’s relationship to them without having read them.

In this installment of the series, changeling Toby is called upon by her friends to look into the case of several missing children. The children come from changeling households, non-fae parents, and the court of cats. She asks for info and advice from several quarters, but most sources are being quite vague. Eventually, she realizes the horror of the situation – Blind Michael has stolen the kids for the Wild Hunt! But that’s not all that Toby has to deal with – her own personal Fetch has turned up and Toby now knows she has a forthcoming expiration date.

This series has been good to me, providing hours of entertainment and this book doesn’t disappoint in that quarter. This book takes the series on a darker turn. Characters are irrevocably scarred by certain events. In general, it’s just a bit more serious and I found I enjoyed the higher stakes. There are still moments of humor, such as kids tossing things out of car windows and Toby’s Fetch, May Daye, is much more lighthearted than one would expect. So it’s not all doom and gloom – it’s well balanced.

The Wild Hunt and Blind Michael (who is a rather powerful First Born) are these two dark chaotic elements that really add to the tension of the tale. Blind Michael is bound by rules and Toby has to figure out what those rules are as no one is really willing to talk about the matter. There’s only so many ways to get into Blind Michael’s realm and she has to figure them out in order to rescue the children. Each path has it’s own risks.

There’s a bit of odd weirdness between Toby and Tybalt that becomes apparent right off the bat, and that was something that didn’t work for me because it’s not resolved in this book. I think (but am only hoping) the author is setting us up for something later in the series concerning these two characters, but even with that in mind, it just didn’t work well for me for this book. Their friendship has been off and on for the first two books and I’m starting to feel like the story is messing with me personally on this front. In fact, I was so frustrated with not knowing what was up with Tybalt in this book that I want to throw my hands in the air and say, ‘Call it quits or come clean you idiot!’.

Setting that criticism aside, Toby’s adventures in this tale had me on the edge of my seat. If I didn’t already know that this series is several more books in length, I would have truly worried for her continued existence. I was pleasantly surprised by her efforts, again and again, to rescue the kids from Blind Michael. Toby finally stops bemoaning the fact that she is a hero and accepts it. As the Wild Hunt can be unpredictable, there were plenty of little twists and turns I was not expecting in this story.

We learn plenty more about Luna and I especially liked this aspect. In the first two Books, it was mostly Toby who grew, but now the side characters are taking on more depth. The Luidaeg plays a big role and I continue to be a fan, albeit a very respectful one as I like all my body parts in their current arrangement. Quentin has to do some serious growing up in this book, and once again I had to worry if he was wearing the Red Shirt. Even Connor (aka Seal Boy) gets to be a bit more than he has in the past. Over all, this book was satisfying and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

The Narration: Mary Robinette Kowal has once again made a very good Toby Daye. I really liked how she pulled off this happier sounding Toby for the voice of the Fetch May. I could always tell the two apart because of how Kowal gave Toby her normal moody inflections and how she made May sound a bit bubblier. She did great with crazy Blind Michael and all the kids in his court. I continue to enjoy her harsh Luidaeg voice. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Apr 30, 2016 |
Great next story in Toby's series. Toby has to bring back stolen kids from Blind Michael's land. She has a candle and only three roads in and out. She ends up using all three of them. Looking forward to book four in March. ( )
  pnwbookgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
I picked this book up immediately after finishing the second in the series and, oh man, it did not disappoint. This book presents an old school Brothers Grimm style blood-curdling, toes-curling fairy tale, peppered with characters we’ve already come to know and love.

Blind Michael is scary. What he does to the children is really scary. Everything about Blind Michael and his twisted land scared the crap out of me, and I don’t scare easily. It was exactly the sort of scare I used to seek out as a child from the original Grimm Fairy Tales (the ones that are not cleaned up). This book goes a lot darker than the first two, which were already dark, and it went there in such a different way from the first two plots. The first two plots were entirely about murder, here we have someone stealing children from their beds. It’s a completely different type of scare and different sort of mystery for Toby to have to figure out.

The plot tells more than just this one mystery, though, it also brings out some information that is key to the overarching plot of the series. I really enjoyed how smoothly this was worked together, and I also must say I didn’t predict at all where it was going.

There are basically two themes in the book, one I appreciated and the other I didn’t particularly agree with. Let’s start with the one I didn’t agree with.

There’s a theme in the book that children on some level must deal with and be held responsible for the choices of their parents. Toby tries to pretend otherwise, but that doesn’t work out so well for her. It basically reads as the idea that you can’t run away from your family or from your blood, your nature. Personally, I don’t like that frame of thought. You can leave your family of birth and not have to be held responsible for them. You are not your parents. You are your own person. You are not responsible for what your parents do after you leave home. So this theme didn’t sit well with me. Other readers who agree with this theme will obviously enjoy it more.

The other theme was one I was quite happy to see so directly addressed in an urban fantasy and that is of suicidal ideation. There are many different ways that suicidal ideation can manifest, but with Toby her symptoms are that she firmly believes her death is imminent and is planning for it, and she repeatedly throws herself into risk situations because she doesn’t care if she dies. Suicidal ideation essentially means that a person is lacking self-preservation instincts and is ok with dying. They won’t actually commit suicide but they will put themselves into dangerous situations because part of them does want to die. So they might run across a street without looking, go walking alone at 2am in a dangerous neighborhood, etc… Toby’s depression from the first two books has grown so much that she is now at this point, and people have started calling her out on it. Seeing her realize that she’s, in layman’s terms, got a death wish, is interesting and well-done. What I appreciate most about it is how directly it is addressed.

Overall, this entry in the series brings back the characters readers have come to love and puts them into a new mystery much more terrifying than the first two. Two strong themes in the book include nature/nurture/ties to parents and dealing with suicidal ideation. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed. This is a roller coaster ride of emotions and peril.

Check out my full review, featuring quotes! ( )
  gaialover | May 5, 2015 |
Fun read, unbelievable that she survived. ( )
  MikeRhode | Feb 5, 2015 |
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October "Toby" Daye tries to rescue the mortal and fae children who have been kidnapped by Blind Michael, lord of the Wild Hunt, forcing her to make a choice that could save them all or cause her to fall prey to the Wild Hunt.

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