Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Artificial Night

An Artificial Night is Seanan McGuire's 3rd October Daye novel, featuring the changeling detective October 'Toby' Daye.

Although Toby is a licensed PI, the cases the readers see her tackle in the books all involve her mother's people; the fae, to a large extent. This time a number of fae and mortal children, including Toby's 'niece' and 'nephew', have gone missing. The children have been taken by the powerful firstborn (a faery child born to Oberon and Titania or Maeve) Blind Michael to be part of his Wild Hunt. No one kidnaps those close to Toby and gets away with it. It's not easy getting the best of a creature as old and powerful as Blind Michael and there will a price for Toby and her motley band of friends to regain what is theirs from the master of the Wild Hunt.

As I've already read and reviewed the first 2 Toby books I decided to do something a little different with this one. I'm going to list my Good and my Not So Good points. Note: there won't be a lot of Not So Good, Seanan really brought her A game with this one.

The return of Toby's friend the bridge troll cum cabbie Danny.
We got more Quentin. Yay! I'm a fan of the young Daoine Sidhe fosterling and it was not made clear in the previous book; A Local Habitation whether or not he would play a large role in upcoming volumes.
Toby's rose goblin pet (think of a cat made out of rose thorns) Spike plays a big role in this.
Most of the action took place in a truly wondrous and well realised faery kingdom.
Readers got some more of the history behind Luna, the wife of Toby's liege lord Sylvester Torquill, the Duke of Shadowed Hills.
May Daye; Toby's Fetch, very cool character. She looks like Toby and acts like her a lot of the time, but she's really a part of Toby's personality, not the whole of it.
The Luidaeg, the more we find out about her, the more interesting she gets.
Getting to see Toby interacting with her own kind in the human world and having fun with it. I have to admit that I prefer the 'fun Toby' to the cynical, world weary Toby.

Not So Good:
When Toby needs saving from some bad members of the Hunt who should step in, but Tybalt King of Cats? Tybalt does this a lot and it's becoming a little tired. I would have preferred to see Danny show up unexpectedly with his pack of barghests.
Toby spent a lot of this book looking like a nine year old version of herself. Despite this nearly everyone seemed to know who she was. Sometimes it was explained how and other times it wasn't, I felt it was a minor inconsistency.
Initially Toby met resistance when trying to take charge, as the kids she was rescuing saw her as no older than they were. It was a cat princeling Raj who called her on it, but after that it wasn't mentioned again.
There was an entire chapter where Toby was enslaved by Blind Michael and while her thoughts and how she saw her 'master' during this period was very well written, it made me feel distinctly uncomfortable.

Seanan's got me on the hook well and truly and I'm locked in for Late Eclipses, Toby's 4th adventure, due out in March 2011.

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