An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) by Seanan McGuire

6782468Finding 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.

 

 

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, readalong, final week

artificial night

Today is the final week of our readalong of An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week Lisa is hosting the Q&A.  This book has, without doubt, been my favourite of the series so far.  It’s dark, twisted and not a little bit disturbingly nasty – but it’s what I was expecting from this series.  Spoilers are lurking below.

 

1. Things pick up right where we left them, with Tybalt and Toby. What do you make of the not-quite-nine-lives thing? And do you have any fresh insight into what, if anything, is going on between him and Toby?

I thought that was a great play on the saying about cats and the extra lives they seem to have and I loved that McGuire used it.  I guess it’s a bit cheeky in that there’s no real explanation – other than Tybalt is a King – but I liked the twist on the whole ‘cat’ myth.  As to what’s going on with Toby and Tybalt – it’s anyone’s guess I suppose.  They definitely have chemistry, or at least I think they do, but I’m really pleased that SMcG is taking her time with this and not rushing into anything.  At the end of the day, no matter how much Toby and Tybalt end up liking each other a relationship between the two would never be easy and would more than likely cause trouble for both of them – so it’s not something to just rush at.  I think Tybalt definitely has feelings for Toby and I think she’s very aware of it – for example when Connor and Tybalt are both helping her and scowling at each other over the top of her head!  Jealousy much.

2. As predicted, Toby is far from finished with Blind Michael and returns to his realm, trading herself for Karen’s freedom. Things get pretty dark from there, but all isn’t lost… What’s your take on the Luidaeg’s rescue effort?

It was kind of like a family intervention wasn’t it.  Like, I’ve brought everybody here that loves Toby and the force of that love will be so overwhelming that it will keep her in this realm.  At first, when Toby turned round and went right back I was a bit disappointed with the effort and just thought what was the point in all that – but then I realised it was to break her out from Michael’s ‘spell’.  The Luidaeg and Sylvester didn’t seem to be suffering under any delusions that Toby would stay – so, in terms of the Luidaeg I’m guessing that was her best attempt at freeing Toby from Michael’s glamour so that she would have a fighting chance at least.

3. After all that, Toby still isn’t done. Do you think she did the right thing, going after Blind Michael to end things once and for all? And after all’s said and done, what do you think of Blind Michael himself?

Absolutely she did the right thing!  It overwhelms me with sadness and anger that nobody had really attempted to stop him before and puts into perspective certain things – about some people being lofty and aloof whilst Toby is very down to earth and caring.  I don’t really understood what turned Michael down this route and perhaps we’ll find out more about that.  He displayed a certain kind of fragility and vulnerability towards the end that made me think that his stealing of all these children and transforming them was almost like he treated them as play things, almost like he didn’t really understand how bad what he was doing, really was.  I don’t know, I guess it made me a little sad for him too wondering what had made him like that but then I’m glad that Toby ended it all.  I’m thinking that it might put her in the bad books though.  She has, after all, killed one of the first bloods – I can’t help thinking that will have ramifications.

4. Quentin has a hard choice of his own to make in the aftermath, as the Luidaeg explains… Do you agree with her choice of consequence, or was she too hard on him?

I don’t think she was too hard on Quentin.  The choice was tough but I think fair.  It made him make a decision about how strong his feelings really were.  It’s all very well dabbling in relationships with humans and it seems to be a theme in books with fae that the fae have a fascination with our lives, but, at the end of the day the two are difficult to mix and it’s usually more difficult for the human side of the relationship – at least I think so.

5. We get one more scene with the Luidaeg, and it’s quite a turnaround, character-wise. What do you think of where she and Toby seem to stand, at this point?

The Luidaeg is one of my favourite characters.  She’s badass but at the same time vulnerable.  I think the relationship with her and Toby is something that will have to be treated carefully however, I don’t think that her threats to kill Toby were ever anything more than a nod at showing how scary she was, but, she clearly has strong feelings for Toby and that makes her more emotionally vulnerable and in turn a bit more temperamental perhaps.  I kind of love that she’s so protective of Toby and also I really like that she has somebody who she now cares about – she felt sort of lonely as if she’s built up a large wall around herself to stop anyone getting in.

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

We will be picking up book No.4 for a readalong and I’ll post details of that shortly so if you’ve read up to this point and want to jump on board then please do so.

An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire, Readalong No.3

artificial night

Today is week three of our readalong of An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week I am hosting the Q&A.  I have to say that this book is so good!  And I also have to say, who chose to end the chapters there exactly – oh the torture – we’re all looking at you Lisa!  Torture…..

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. We’ve seen a good deal more of May and her interactions with Toby – any speculation on how this might play out yet??

Well, I must confess that I’m liking May very much and in a strange and unexpected fashion I hope that she’s going to stick around.  Maybe she’ll be a permanent feature constantly reminding Toby of how close to death she becomes.  The fact is I’m not sure that she will stick around although I would like it if she did.  She seems to really be trying to help Toby which is so great because she’s absolutely working against her own objectives and that makes me think that maybe she’s going to take the fall here somehow because she’s started to care.  Somebody is going to have to pay Blind Michael somehow – unless he’s defeated, of course, so I’m thinking that maybe May will take Toby’s place at some point???  I hope not.  I’m hoping this will all work out.  But, at the end of the day she is Toby’s fetch and I definitely don’t want toby to die!

2. Tybalt – what did you make of his rather cryptic comment about what he found out and particularly that he now knows that Toby didn’t lie to him?

I am really puzzled by this and kind of hoping that somebody else can shed some light on it.  Tybalt is clearly looking into something and he obviously had a spell there where he suspected that Toby wasn’t being honest – or maybe he suspected everyone and has at least found out that Toby was being honest – but about what??  Chuck me a bone somebody???  Is it about Toby’s abilities or what she inherited from her mum??  He seemed really surprised in the last book when Toby resurrected somebody and I wonder if he thought this was something she was aware of already?

3. We finally discovered a little bit more about Luna. What are your thoughts on her now, why did she run away, thoughts about her character, why she sent Toby into Michael’s realm?

This is a very complicated situation.  She obviously ran away from home and she’s been hiding ever since – and quite successfully by the sounds of it.  It does make it a little bit clearer now as to why she always seems so sad and reflective.  I really don’t blame Luna for running away – things were obviously not okay.  As a result of course Michael now has the hunt and steals all these children to help him search for her (unless I’m reading it wrong) – she must feel so incredibly bad. If she wasn’t in hiding then surely Michael wouldn’t take these other children.  It’s a really awful situation and one that part of me thinks she needs to step up and do something – but then the other side of me completely understands why she’s staying in hiding!  It’s so incredibly conflicted.

4. What were your first impressions of the Court of Cats?

I loved paying a visit – I loved even more that they’re so selective who they let in – and yet even more I loved that Tybalt said that Toby is always welcome!  It kind of reminded me of the alleys and fight grounds in West Side Story.  I don’t know why and I can’t even describe it but that’s what it reminded me of!

5. And, finally, back to Tybalt – what on earth just happened!!

I don’t knowwwwwwww!  What just happened.  Is he just exhausted?  Has he travelled too far too fast.  Or has he taken Toby to somewhere that he can’t exist?  What happened.  I’m almost sure that Tybalt hasn’t died – almost!!!  However, there is still a tiny tremor of dread!  No, Ms Mcguire – just no.  No messing with the King of Cats!

 

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!

An Artifical Night by Seanan McGuire, Readalong No.1

artificial nightToday is week one of our readalong of An Artificial Night (October Daye #3) ) by Seanan McGuire).arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.

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, host TBD

1. The book opens with Toby at a birthday party for Mitch and Stacy’s youngest child, and follows with an early-morning meet-up with Connor. Both scenes serve to keep previously introduced characters in play and show us how life is progressing for Toby, but in very different ways. What do you make of these scenes after all that’s gone before?

I think both of these scenes show that Toby is coping really well in certain respects.  I don’t think it can be really easy to go along to your friend’s house to attend the birthday party they’re throwing for their youngest when you’ve missed all that with your own child.  That could be really difficult for Toby to handle.  Meeting with Connor – I liked that Toby is being so firm with him.  To my mind he wants something different but Toby is keeping him at arm’s length and yet at the same time still being friend enough to meet him when he needs to talk to someone.  I did feel a little bit sad for him to be honest when he said he was lonely.  That being said I really don’t want Toby to go down the whole ‘Connor route’.

2. As we may have come to expect by now, things rapidly go downhill from there… What are your thoughts right now on this interpretation of the Wild Hunt?

I kind of took that a little like Toby “What? That wasn’t a question that ever occurred to me.  Blind Michael and his Hunt were part of the landscape, like the trees or the rocks.  They didn’t need to come from anywhere”  That.  The Wild Hunt just ‘IS’.  Well that’s what I always just thought.  I never really considered where the members of the Hunt came from which seems kind of ridiculous when I think about it now (puts me in mind of Gimli talking about female dwarves “It’s true you don’t see many Dwarf-women…And this in turn has given rise to the belief that there are no Dwarf-women, and that Dwarves just spring out of holes in the ground!  I guess I just thought that the Hunt also sprang out of holes in the ground.  And how awful!!  Blind Michael really is a terror stealing into peoples’ homes and taking their children. ‘No locks can keep him out.  No door can bar his way.  He’s too old and too strong, and he follows the laws of Faerie too closely to be caught that way’ – what a terrible and scary creature.  That’s one creepy tale I’m glad I never heard of as a child.  Worse than the bogeyman in my book – perhaps where the bogeyman tale came from!  And what a terrible fate for those children he takes.  I can certainly say that this has a much more sinister feel than what we’ve read so far in the series.  I’m curious also about the mention of Amandine??

3. And (because it wouldn’t be a Toby read along if I didn’t celebrate him) Tybalt is back! After what was apparently a lengthy absence… What do you suppose kept Tybalt away after the events in A Local Habitation…?

Ahh, it’s great to have Tybalt back on the scene – I’m not sure exactly how much he’s going to be able to help Toby in this book.  It kind of has a feel that she’s going to be more alone at the moment.  Tybalt’s absence: I think it’s all connected with Toby’s bringing Alex back from the dead in A Local Habitation.  I don’t know what that started in Tybalt’s brain but it obviously set some gears in motion.  It feels like he’s been away doing a spot of investigation and I’m really curious what that might be – if that’s the reason that is and I haven’t just gone on a wild goose chase!  I felt like Tybalt’s appearance in this instalment  was a little bit more reined in somehow.  Obviously Toby is angry with him but their first meeting felt a little reserved somehow – like there is something getting in between them at the moment?

4. Back to the real drama – Toby (eventually) gets some answers from Luna after a non-starter meeting with Lily. Everyone’s being mysterious, but Luna is acting especially strangely – as is Sylvester, who is openly unhappy with her about something… Any thoughts? Guesses? Suspicions?

Lily and Luna are both acting oddly.  I think Sylvester perhaps didn’t want Luna to tell Toby about the Night Hunts.  It feels like Blind Michael is so strong that the other fae just accept they can’t do anything about him and things just go on as always.  It doesn’t feel like it’s something that Toby will be able to change so I’m guessing Sylvester is worried about what she will get herself into – particularly as she’s now had a visit from her own Fetch!  There was also the mention of Amandine which nudged something in me – has Amandine followed the same route that Toby is about to go down?

I enjoyed the chapters so far.  It already feels like No.3 is going to be a bit ‘darker’ than the first two instalments and Blind Michael is going to be a very creepy character indeed.

 

 

 

 

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