An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) by Seanan McGuire
Finding a new urban fantasy series can undoubtedly be a little bit of a trial. The first book, I find, can be a little bit hit and miss and with that in mind I usually feel I need to read the first three to get a real feel for the characters. I’ve now read the first three of the October Daye books and can safely say I’ve found a new series to love. The latest book, An Artificial Night, really helped to cement this. A very dark, fae tale that takes us to a sinister place. Be aware that as the third in series this review will probably contain spoilers for the previous books so please bear that in mind before reading.
An Artificial Night gets off to a pretty immediate start with the abduction of a number of children from a changeling family close to Toby’s heart. Of course she embarks on an investigation and no sooner does she do so than she receives a request from Tybalt. Strange and quite unprecedented to say the least – a fae seeking a favour is virtually unheard of. It seems that some of the fae children from the Court of Cats have also gone missing and the more that Toby looks into the matter the darker the plot becomes. It seems that most of the fae world are aware of and seem to turn a blind eye to these child abductions. As Toby learns more about the truth it becomes clear that her latest mission will be her most deadly yet – a fact that is really brought home to the reader when Toby’s fetch (Maye) appears on her doorstep. A dead ringer for Toby (sorry), Maye’s appearance carries a message of doom – after all a person’s fetch only appears when death is on the horizon.
It appears that one of the First Born is behind the abductions. A character to be very afraid of. Blind Michael is the ruler of The Hunt. A powerful fae who most seem hesitant to approach or tackle. Of course, Toby, with her reckless streak goes rushing in, she’s plenty afraid but she wants to save these children and having her own fetch turn up on her doorstep has given her already cavalier attitude in the face of danger a whole new meaning. After all, if she’s going to die she might as well do so for a good cause!
There are only three roads to be travelled to find Michael and all can only be used once, so armed with a Babylon candle, courtesy of her friend the Luidaeg, Toby sets off. Of course, in the land of the fae there are only vague hints and half truths bandied about and so Toby has no real idea of just how much trouble she is really getting herself into.
Michael’s world, as you would expect being the home of The Hunt, is menacing. It’s a scary place full of spite, mischief, anger, sorrow and despair. I won’t give anything more away as there are a number of reveals along the way suffice to say that what Toby eventually finds is a tormented place, run by an ego maniac with a God complex. This is a nasty place without doubt and it conjures up those scary childhood images of dark corners and monsters lying in wait.
An Artificial Night was undoubtedly my favourite of the series so far. It has a dark fairytale feel to it but one not completely without hope. Toby’s character is developing with each instalment and she’s becoming easy to like. She has such a vulnerable streak, wrapped up in an ‘I’m a tough chick’ exterior. Always questioning herself and not always understanding the answers Toby has more friends than she realises and these friends are a testament to her true character. On top of that I love the imagination here – little things like the Rose Goblin – and I think McGuire has managed to create characters that you can genuinely feel for.
I look forward very much to the next instalment and there will be an announcement soon about a readalong for book 4.