Review: An Artificial Night

An Artificial Night
An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Knight Errant for the Duke of Shadowed Hills, Toby Daye is taking a well-earned break after her last case when she learns that several fae as well as mortal children have been taken right from under their parents’ noses. Upon learning that the culprit is none other than Blind Michael, leader of the Wild Hunt, Toby makes it her mission in life to rescue the children and teach the malicious fiend a lesson he won’t soon forget. That is unless she first falls prey to inexorable power …

This book has left me feeling somewhat ambivalent. On the one hand, there are numerous appealing elements such as the compelling world building, the intriguing hints at something developing between Toby and the enigmatic Tybalt and the insights into the various secondary characters.
Unfortunately, these are undermined by the problematic aspects of the story, i.e., Toby’s innate martyr complex, her pathetic investigative skills, and her annoying connection to Connor.

McGuire’s world building goes from strength to strength. As in the previous installments, there is a great deal of focus on the pure-blood/changeling distinction as well as the divisions between Oberon, Maeve and Titania’s children. It can get a little confusing at times, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Moreover, the Blind Michael storyline is intense and suspenseful as he is definitely one of the more evil villains in this genre and his powers and abilities are enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.

Toby is a likable heroine and it is interesting to learn more about her relationships with Luna, Sylvester, Quentin and the Luidaeg. That said, her tendency toward self-destructive behavior and the fact that she never seems to actually use her brain even though the clues are right in front of her gets tiresome after a while.

Furthermore, her love life leaves a lot to be desired. Tybalt is the obvious choice, but this doesn’t seem to be going anywhere yet, and Connor is a poor substitute if one can even call him that. While one cannot help sympathizing with his marital predicament, it is one of his own making and it is selfish of him to expect Toby to feel responsible for his happiness. Moreover, he is far too beta for my tastes and definitely not hero material.

Despite its problems, this is an entertaining series and I’ve heard that it improves with each installment so I’m willing to continue to tough it out if only to find out more about Tybalt and some of the other unanswered questions.

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