An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire, Readalong No.2

artificial nightToday is week two of our readalong of An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week Books by Proxy is hosting the Q&A.  And, woah, this week got very real and super sad not to mention absolutely gripping!

The details are over here on Goodreads – the schedule is below.  If you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so.  Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

Week 1: Saturday 9th April, Chapters 1-7, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 16th April, Chapters 8-17, hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 3: Saturday 23rd April, Chapters 18-24, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Saturday 30th April, Chapters 25-End, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

1. Toby makes her journey to Blind Michael’s realm with the aid of the Luidaeg – who is back and on form and has, as yet, decided to hold off on killing Toby. What did you think of Toby’s journey by candlelight and her first encounter with the Wild Hunt? What do you think this favour is going to cost her with the Luidaeg?

This story got really dark and sinister didn’t it!  It seems weird to say this was what I was expecting but it was actually what I was expecting and I think it’s spot on.  This isn’t a cute story, it certainly isn’t a children’s fairytale – in fact this just put the Grim into the Brother’s Grimm.  This is downright nasty and twisted.  And, okay, I love what McGuire has come up with.  This dark place where the Hunt lives and the journey there! The whole backstory behind Blind Michael.  This is some scary shit and it really gets to you.  This is about children being stolen from their homes by a massive egomaniac!  No way to wrap it up in tissue paper.  I was expecting nasty and it’s here by the bucketload. We start off with the Luidaeg’s odd behaviour and then that whole candle spell casting!  Then we move into the dark side with Toby travelling to the sort of mindbending place where reality doesn’t exist. I liked that we’re discovering things at the same time as Toby and changing Toby into a small child – woah, way to bring down her odds right there!  Then that first encounter with the Hunt chasing the little girl.  So tense – not to mention such tough choices for Toby.  Ohh, I could go on but I’ll stop!  As to what this will cost with the Luidaeg – I think that if Toby manages to survive this and make a difference – well, I don’t think she’ll owe anything to anybody!  Right about now – I think she’s owed something, particularly some explanations.

2. As a prisoner of Blind Michael, Toby encounters a disturbing number of altered and transformed children and, assisted by Quentin, discovers the children who are yet to be toyed with. What were your thoughts when Toby discovered these child monsters and other detainees? Do you think there is any hope for them? And what did you make of Quentin’s bargain with the Luidaeg?

I was so relieved that Quentin showed up!  Strength in numbers or just that sheer childlike feeling of wanting to hold somebody’s hand – yeah, I wanted to hold hands with somebody!  The children that Toby first encountered – okay, they were pulling the whole intimidation thing but my foremost feeling was so so sad for them.  I may not be stupid enough to get my hand bitten by one of them but even so I felt so desperately unhappy for them. And then such relief when Toby and Quentin snuck in and found the changeling/fae children that had just been taken!  Such relief only to be followed by such despair – McGuire – what are you doing to us! Not to mention mixed feelings about only being able to save so many!  I really hope that there’s hope – I guess I have to come to the reality that some of these children are no longer who they were, they’ve really been transformed but I really hope that there’s some salvation. It’s a question of when does a person become themselves?  I don’t know.  These children have been stolen from their families, been terrified, been changed beyond recognition in a way that is torture until finally they become something else.  Are they now that something else?  They certainly can’t get back what was taken but maybe there is still hope for what comes next? Quentin’s bargain, it’s not really a surprise and I would expect nothing less from the Luidaeg – I know everybody goes on about how scary she is and I don’t doubt that she is but she has a definite connection with Toby and everything that she does just rings of the fact that she’s trying to help or protect her.

3. In spectacular style, Toby swoops in and relieves Blind Michael of his prisoners and vows to put an end to his evil ways. How do you think Blind Michael will react when he discovers Toby and the children are missing? What do you think Toby will do for those she left behind?

Yes, I think Blind Michael is going to be a bit cross to find out that his latest recruits have been taken – he did have a bargain with Toby but that didn’t include all the children did it!  Personally speaking I hope that Toby kicks Michael’s arse!  As to what happens to the others – I seriously don’t know.  Can the transformation really be reversed – well, I kind of wonder whether the land in which they exist has different rules – Toby was a child there and she’s going to change back – I think – I mean, I know that she had a spell on her but part of me thinks she couldn’t have entered the realm if she wasn’t a child, so did the spell change her or something else! – I really don’t know.  I seriously hope that there’s some hope for some of them.  Like I said, some may not want to change back though.  You can’t also help wondering what will happen to the Hunt – if Toby succeeds will that end?  Can she really eliminate Blind Michael.   At the moment it’s a big mess and I can’t see quite how it will be resolved.  Maybe Michael needs to be cured himself??

4. Whilst straying into the forests within Blind Michael’s realm, Toby encounters Acacia whose revelations regarding Blind Michael and her own daughter are nothing short of astounding. Were you expecting this? What were your thoughts and reactions?!! How does this change your view of the characters involved?

Oh dear, Acacia’s is another sad story.  And I’m totally confused – so is Michael Luna’s father?  or is this whole Michael is Acacia’s husband/consort something else?  It certainly sheds some new light on Luna and her very ethereal character (if you can say that about somebody who is actually fae!)  Again, this is a sad theme – this whole thing of Acacia being left behind and then Luna running away – or leaving – I’m not sure.  Is this why Luna and some of the others have never taken action against what was going on??  The fae world does appear to be even smaller than we thought – everybody seems to be related in this plot so far!

5. Toby seems to have escaped Blind Michael’s clutches – for now! – and is currently enjoying the company of her Fetch, May. What do you expect will happen from here? Do you expect her to pursue Blind Michael to the end? And what are your thoughts on Toby’s sentient portent of death and its implications for her future?

Well, yes, Toby does appear to have escaped with all her children.  However, this makes me think there will be repercussions.  If Toby saved 30 children it makes me think that Michael will now go and take twice as many!  I really don’t know but ‘I got a bad feeling about it’.  And, I think that’s why May is still hanging around.  Now, just to be clear – there are a number of books in this series so I don’t think I’m misunderstanding anything or giving much away much by saying I think Toby survives – I just don’t really know how at this point and I also don’t know what the implications are for May.  Presumably May was sent as a result of somebody foreseeing Toby’s death but maybe one of the other key players involved will be able to change fate or bend time or jump in a tardis – I don’t know!  Or maybe a Fetch is sent to you as a warning?  Which means it’s reversible.  Clutching at straws about now…

All will become clear eventually!

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7 Responses to “An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire, Readalong No.2”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Toby’s story-arc is indeed taking flight here (at the same time it takes a plunge into darkness, as well…) and I have to remind myself to be VERY careful about what I say – I don’t want to spoil any surprises! One thing I feel comfortable discussing is your sentence about Toby being owed a great deal from a good number of people: that’s a god definition of her character, her selflessness and her willingness to sacrifice so much – physically and mentally – to right a wrong. It’s what will gain her fast friends, even from unsuspected places, and what will also gain her some enemies along the way. And no, her dealing with Blind Michael are not over, not by a long shot….

  2. proxyfish

    Oh this week was so good! Definitely with you on the dark and sinister front – that just sums up this whole section of the novel! The Wild Hunt is such an awesome and terrifying thing – and that’s without Blind Michael added to it – that it makes for a very tense and exciting read.

    I felt for all those poor transformed children but I really can’t see how they can be helped, certainly not whilst under the influence of Blind Michael. But I was also relieved when Quentin showed up, and I just loved the dynamic with Toby as a small child! But I need him to just do as he’s told and stay safe! He’s going to give me a heart attack I’m sure of it.

    I LOVED the revelations in this part of the novel – Luna? Ahhh! Too good. But I expect that things with Blind Michael are only just beginning… I imagine there is going to be hell to pay when he discovers his missing prisoners!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yep – I think things are going to get a whole lot more serious! Ooh, I can’t stand the suspense!

  3. nrlymrtl

    When we learned that Toby was changed into a child, I immediately lowered her odds of surviving this story – but we know she does because there’s like another 10 books in the series or such.

    I think you are right about the changed children. The longer they have been in Blind Michael’s little realm, the less they can get back if they ever leave.

    I hadn’t thought of what would happen to the Hunt when (being optimistic) Toby renders Blind Michael down into parts. Since the Hunt has been part of Fae for so long, can it end? Maybe someone else will take up the lead role, but not be so malicious about it.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, that’s the thing about getting involved late on with a series – you know that the main protagonist is going to survive even against all odds! I still find it really gripping though.
      I think some of the children will have been with Blind Michael so long that it’s become almost the only thing they know – I hope there’s a chance for some of them but I think it will be really tough.
      I can’t wait to read on now! These last few chapters – well, they ended on a note of suspense to say the least.
      Lynn 😀

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