Monday, September 20, 2010

Review - An Artificial Night (October Daye, Book 3) by Seanan McGuire (4.5/5 stars)

This is the third book in the October Daye series by Seanan Mcguire.  The 4th book,  Late Eclipses, will be out in March of 2011.  Right now there are seven books contracted for this series.  This was a great installment in this series.  The book was different from the previous books in that most of it takes place in the Summerlands and it is more of a questing/adventure type of story.  I loved it.

October is contacted when a variety of children go missing.  It's not just fairy children either.  Tybalt wants her to find some of his missing cats, her friend's half-fairy children have disappeared, and Quentin's teenage human girlfriend is also gone.  October ends up having to venture deep into the heart of the world of Blind Michael, one of the First Born Fairies.  The hard part isn't going to be saving the children, it's going to be saving herself.

This book was a bit different from the previous books in that it has October going through more of a quest through the fairy lands.  She spends a lot of time dealing with heavy hitters, mainly First Born fairies.  We get to learn a lot more about where Luna, her kind of foster mother, came from and Luna's history.  It was fun to have some of that mystery dispelled.  This book also gives you a lot more insight into how the fairylands work and the history behind them.

October, Toby, takes a lot of damage in this book...physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The nice part about that is you see how much the people in Toby's life care about her.  Tybalt and Connor are both vying for her attention somewhat.  Tybalt is in the story some and teases the reader with some interesting comments and problems; again I hope that a future book really features on him.  It seems like there is a lot to learn about Tybalt.  All our favorites are in this story as well Connor, Quentin, Spike (the rose goblin) etc.  The newest characters that join the cast are May, Toby's Fetch, and Luna's mother (whose name I won't say in order to avoid spoilers).

All in all, despite the wonderful cast of characters this book is about Toby.  It is about Toby deciding how she wants to live her life and whether she will be a Hero or not.  The story is dark, the pace is breakneck and the book is hard to put down.  I also think McGuire's writing style has vastly improved from the first book.  The dialogue sounds natural and the book is very easy to read.  I love how McGuire mingles urban fantasy, mystery, folklore, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes in a cohesive way.

There are a couple things I didn't like about the book, and these prevented me from giving it a 5 star rating.  I thought Toby was too passive.  She gets pushed around a lot of the book and spends a lot of time passed out.  This was true for the end of the second book also.  Maybe Toby just needs to be tougher.  Hopefully we will see her do more to drive her own destiny in future books.  Also I thought Toby returning to Blind Michael's lands multiple times started to get a little repetitive. By the final time Toby returns to his lands, I was thinking "Really, we have to go back there AGAIN!?"

Overall this was a great installment in this series.  You learn a lot more about the characters and about the Summerlands in general.  I wish Toby had been a bit more assertive and spent less time unconscious; but aside from that I have been really impressed with this series.  It is quickly becoming one of my favorites!  I eagerly await Late Eclipses.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
 An Artificial Night (October Daye, Book 3)

1 comment:

  1. i've been soooo meaning to try the first book in this series. glad to hear it continues to do well.