Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Night and Silence begins with Toby and her friends still recovering from the events of The Brightest Fell. Tybalt is suffering from PTSD and pushing Toby away. Jazz isn’t doing much better. Sylvester is mad at Toby because of what happened with Simon. Toby doesn’t need a new problem, but that’s exactly what she gets when her human ex, Cliff, and his wife, Miranda, turn up on her doorstep. Toby’s daughter Gillian, now a student at UC-Berkeley, has been kidnapped again. And Cliff and Miranda think Toby had something to do with it.
Roughly the first half of this installment feels like familiar ground. Gillian has been kidnapped before, and the plot structure of Toby traveling all over the metro area chasing down clues and red herrings is one that Seanan McGuire has used in previous OCTOBER DAYE novels. At first, she finds a scattered mess of clues that don’t quite make sense yet. McGuire even lampshades this:
People think searching for something … is a linear process. You start here, you go there, you find the things you’re looking for and bring them safely home or back to their owners. Then you get paid and walk into the sunset, confident in a job well done. I blame television. Fitting something into an hour means cutting the wrong turns, the digressions, the complications … The reality is more complicated. Finding someone is legwork and research and watching the clock, always, always watching the clock, because time is never on your side.
But McGuire has some twists and reveals waiting for us in the second half. There’s a huge bombshell about a recurring minor character that draws on a famous tale from folklore and shakes up everything we thought we knew about Toby’s family, as well as shedding some new light on Oberon, his Queens, and why they’re missing from the world. There’s another reveal that didn’t hit as hard for me because, I confess, I’d forgotten about the guy. (I really should go back and reread the earlier books sometime. McGuire is drawing on groundwork she laid years ago; it would behoove me to refresh myself on it!) There are twists galore. There’s high emotion too, as Tybalt struggles with his issues and Toby races to save her daughter.
Night and Silence continues moving the series toward some kind of reckoning with the Oberon issue. Toby started out thinking she was a nobody on the fringes of Faerie, but now it seems that greater forces have had a plan for her all along.
Like the last two books, Night and Silence includes a bonus novella. This one, “Suffer a Sea-Change,” tells part of the same story from Gillian’s perspective, and also provides some setup for the next book, The Unkindest Tide. I can’t say much more about it without spoiling one of the major twists!
October Daye — (2009- ) Publisher: The world of Faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival — but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October “Toby” Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery… before the curse catches up with her.
I really like that some of these novels also contain novellas, particularly if they examine plot-lines or issues from other characters’ perspectives. It’s a great opportunity for McGuire to show off her considerable range and talent.
Yes, I’m very much enjoying them–there are so many interesting characters in this ‘verse and it’s good to see the world through their eyes as well as Toby’s. But in this case there’s so little I can say about it, without being like “Here are all the spoilers about what happened to Gillian in the main novel.” LOL.