Things get pretty dark in the third October Daye novel by Seanan McGuire, An Artificial Night. October aka Toby is a fae changeling living in San Francisco. She moonlights as a detective but officially serves as a knight to the Duke of Shadowed Hills, the nearby fae kingdom. The book opens with her best friend’s son being stolen away in the night and the daughter left in a mysterious coma. Toby feels a magical residue but is completely stumped. Before she can get a grip on anything, her doppelganger, an omen of her death, knocks on her door. As one can imagine, it throws her for a bit of a loop. She always figured she die unexpectedly with her habit of running towards danger. However, she didn’t expect it to happen this soon, especially after the life-threatening events of book two.
There’s no time to mourn her impending demise because mortal and fae children have disappeared overnight. Toby calls on her fae mentors, Lily the Undine, Luna the Queen of Shadowed Hills, and The Luidaeg. The first two give her cryptic advice. The third sends her on an ill-advised hero quest to find The Wild Hunt. Toby must engage with fae legends that she thought were make-believe. There are multiple magic roads she can take, all more dangerous than the next. With a harbinger of death staring her down, she refuses to back down. She really doesn’t have a choice with kids on the line. Rescuing the kids is only half of her troubles especially with an ominous twin tagging along. She is forced to ask her for help when back in a corner. How weird is it to ask your copy to help you? Never setting out to be a hero, Toby is doomed to play one as part of this twisted take on an old myth.
Similar to Lauren Dane’s Chaos Burning, there are unexplained disappearances in An Artificial Night. Instead of supernatural deaths fueling The Wild Hunt, we have human and fae children becoming the hunters. I started the third October Daye novel right after Dane’s. I didn’t intend to read two books involving the mythical fae hunt. But here we are. Based on other fan reviews, many claim this is when the October Day novels “get good”. For me, I enjoyed this one as much as the first novel. I loved how McGuire reveals more clues about the old fae with each book. Toby is struggling with her place in the world, which seems proper for a half-fae, half-human woman. Inside Blind Michael’s realm, it got really scary. I was slightly scared Toby wouldn’t survive this book. I know there are so many more books in the series, so that’s a bit irrational. But her dire straights in the dark forest definitely gave me pause. I end up taking an unintentional four-month break with the novel. I quickly picked up it back up last week though. McGuire’s writing is so vivid and immediate. Toby is surrounded by magic and terrible things while feeling very grounded in the real world. The best urban fantasy series maintain a similar balance. I’m beyond excited to read the fourth book after reading a sneak peek at the end of this book. A dream about Toby’s long lost mother?! I’m hooked and glad I have the audiobook waiting for me.
I wouldn’t recommend reading this series out of order, especially since I loved Rosemary and Rue. Each book expands the world with intertwined characters and dark secrets. Meanwhile, Toby must find her footing while solving dangerous cases. If you love magical detectives with a dark sense of humor and a penchant for trouble, you should delve into the October Daye books post haste.
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