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Book Review: An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

Title: An Artificial Night

Author: Seanan McGuire

Series: October Daye #3

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

The Overview: Changeling knight in the court of the Duke of Shadowed Hills, October “Toby” Daye has survived numerous challenges that would destroy fae and mortal alike. Now Toby must take on a nightmarish new assignment. Someone is stealing both fae and mortal children—and all signs point to Blind Michael. When the young son of Toby’s closest friends is snatched from their Northern California home, Toby has no choice but to track the villains down, even when there are only three magical roads by which to reach Blind Michael’s realm—home of the legendary Wild Hunt—and no road may be taken more than once. If she cannot escape with all the children before the candle that guides and protects her burns away, Toby herself will fall prey to Blind Michael’s inescapable power. And it doesn’t bode well for the success of her mission that her own personal Fetch, May Daye—the harbinger of Toby’s own death—has suddenly turned up on her doorstep… -Goodreads

The Review:

I’m starting to think this series may not be my jam.

While the first book was a decent introduction, I actively despised the second book and almost didn’t continue from there. But with comments from Goodreads buddies telling me An Artificial Night was where the series starts to get good, I begrudgingly continued.

Is it possible that I went into it cranky and prepared to be a bit overly critical? Entirely. But for the most part I just found myself comparing the story elements to other favorite Urban Fantasy series like Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson, and still found this one lacking.

My issues seem to change with each book, which in a way is a good thing because it means that eventually the stars may line up. While book two had horrendous pacing and a plot riddled with issues, with this one I only had trouble with the main character. She doesn’t feel like a real person yet. When something awful happens to her, she thinks “well, that’s awful” and then moves on with her day. Her complete lack of emotional depth kept me at an arm’s distance the entire book. After all, if she’s not particularly concerned with the awful things happening, then why should I be? If it weren’t for the profound depth of character exploration I’ve read within her Wayward Children series (I know she can dazzle me!), I may have thrown in the towel already. But the promise of what she CAN do continues to keep me reading… that and the fact that I already forked out good cash for the entire series on audio ::facepalm::. But that’s what I did with Dresden, continuing to work my way through that series because I already had them, until one day around book five it suddenly won me over. I’m hoping for a similar experience here.

The world-building and pacing were actually pretty good in this book. If nothing else, McGuire is wildly creative, unique, and off the beaten path when it comes to her stories and this series is no exception. It’s another reason I’m still sticking around to see where it goes. She knows how to set a hell of an atmosphere in her books, and I love that component.

Recommendations: while many love this series as much as the other heavy-hitters in the urban fantasy genre, I’m still not a believer (…yet). I’d say save this one until after you’ve read my other recs. It’s solid B-list so far.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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