Saturday, February 5, 2011

An Artificial Night

An Artificial Night
Seanan McGuire
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: DAW (September 7, 2010)
4/5 stars

An Artificial Night is the third book in McGuire's urban fantasy series, set in present day San Francisco Bay area, about half-fae, half-human October ("Toby") Daye. Toby is a knight errant in the service of her Lord, as well as the only private investigator in the Kingdom. She lives with two cats and a rose bush gremlin, has recently formed a fledgling friendship with the King of Cats and seems to live her life like a death wish.

When An Artificial Night begins, Toby meets her "Fetch", a harbinger of her death. Closely following this, her best friend Stacy calls Toby in a panic: two of her children are missing. Tybalt, King of Cats, reports five missing children from his Court as well. To find and return these children, Toby must face down an ancient evil, uncover secrets a friend has kept long hidden, and make the choice to become a hero.

The plot of An Artificial Night is rather complex, following various nursery rhymes and fairy tales in a way that would make explaining it impossible. Despite this sometimes muddled story line, An Artificial Night is a good read; McGuire has created a paranormal alternate reality that is very believable and blends the fantasy world with the present day world quite nicely.

Her characters are sometimes over the top with their actions and reactions, but then this is fantasy and they are fae. I suppose it would be odder if they were not larger than life. Toby herself is very likable in both her strengths and weaknesses. Tybalt is a character one can't help but like and his gradually unfolding relationship with Toby is one of the better written parts of the series.

The action (fights, car chases, hunts) is often more like an action movie than a novel, in that it moves very fast and Toby seems indestructible. This is a minor quibble, though, because the novel is a solidly enjoyable, casual read and I would certainly recommend this series to fans of paranormal fiction and urban fantasy. Do read them in order, though, as many incidents in An Artificial Night can only be fully understood by having read the first two novels.

No comments:

Post a Comment