Night and Silence: October Daye, Book 12 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Now the twelfth installment of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times best-selling Toby Daye urban fantasy series!
Things are not okay.
In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.
What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it.
Signs of Faerie's involvement is everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price.
Two questions remain: Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain?
No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 28 minutes|
|Narrator||Mary Robinette Kowal|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 18, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #45,800 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#513 in Contemporary Fantasy
#774 in Urban Fantasy
#1,316 in Paranormal Fantasy
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Top reviews from the United States
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I spent the first part of the book internally groaning at the clumsy, extensive recapping via exposition. Certainly you have to give some context/background for the characters and key events shaping the story, but there was far too much backstory shoved awkwardly in the mouths of the characters. Evidence of the lazy writing I mentioned earlier was that much of the overly detailed recaps are shoved into Toby's internal monologue (the novels are generally successful examples of first person narration). Let's face it - if someone is starting with book 12 that's a bad decision and regular readers should not have to suffer for it.
On to plot (or same plot different day), I don't mind that we start of with a critter hunt (which has been done at least twice before) - it's good mood setting and I love Danny. But this book was supposed to have heavy elements of consequences for Tybalt and Jazz. Jazz makes no appearance and there's barely a trace reference. Tybalt's PTSD (my words, not the author's) is a big miss - it's told, not shown for the most part. We'll come back to that. On the plus side, Toby doesn't faint or die very much. On the negative side, Toby's daughter Gillian (one of the least interesting and shallow characters) is kidnapped. Again. And the villains are old ones who are back with no greater depth or revelations to offer. (Fellow Toby fans, tell me you didn't recognize the scent of magic of the kidnapper right away. I've only read the book that previously featured the villain once and I immediately recalled whose magic smelled of cinnamon and cardamon. Toby didn't? When the stakes were so high?! I don't think so. Other gaps in reality: Quentin rushes to make sure Dean is well off page, and no doubt mentions the crisis, but Dean doesn't appear because he reportedly wants to sleep longer. Further, any number of major characters are left off the board. Toby's rationale that she needs to move swiftly does provide some justification, but not enough to leave people with critical skills on sidelines when she's saving her helpless, magic-less child. (If it hadn't been for the Toby breakdown that would have understandably followed, I would have been just as happy to see Gillian go.) While, the Tam Lin reveal was interesting, it was not enough to support a novel length story. (Miranda, August, Gillian seem like variations of a sulky, dull character that seems to inexplicably pop up among McGuire's huge roster of fascinating, complex characters, including her villains). Another annoyance - a strange mid-book reflection on "How I Became a Knight" as dull inner Toby exposition that confirms hints of her history without providing more info. Given how eager readers have been to learn how Toby became a knight (esp the Lost Words and "who killed Dawn mystery"), including this teasing reference to a story we REALLY want to hear buried in a story that is essentially a rehash of earlier plots is disappointing at best. Miranda's story would have been great as a subplot while telling a story focused on existing characters to advance the more compelling overall plot/mythology that forms the complex path to Toby's destiny. I did like the Baobhan Sith, hopefully she will have more of a role later as here she seems like a plot device to help cover Toby in blood so EVERYONE can once again make the same (exact same) comments about Toby's tendency to have more of her blood on the outside than on the inside. On the upside, as noted, Toby did not faint a lot, though Tybalt still carries her about quite a bit, and she did again fling herself into Sylvester's arms and take comfort in his daffodil/dogwood scent. Also, the Luidaeg is perhaps the only character who did not seem like a fanfic version - she was fresh and salty as sea water.
Tybalt. Oy. I have no problems with Tybalt being emotionally wounded and not the arrogant, fierce cat king we've come to love, but his trauma was never really sold in the previous book or this one (Toby: He was traumatized. Tybalt: I was traumatized. Other than shadows in his eyes, could we see what that means?) Dealing or not dealing with trauma is a process, more worthy of storytelling than using another Gillian kidnapping to get her into Faerie) McGuire has very successfully illustrated mental health/trauma issues previously in this series so it's not a question of knowledge or ability. And the political resolution just does not make sense to anyone who has spent 10 books learning how Cat politics/leadership works. The proposed solution does not hold water. Now, my next criticism may be unfair because I follow McGuire on social media and so recognized the cameo she gave a friend. I think it would still have felt artificial and contrived, because I had no issues with Borderlands bookstore making an appearance - this time it felt like the fourth wall came crashing down. It's fair to say the Portland scene did not work for me on any level and left a bad, bad taste in my mouth after a boring and weakly-told story.
What did I like other than the Sith (lol) and Luidaeg? I know there's a divide in Toby readers, but I really like Arden (she only has a small role here) because she's imperfect in very non-stereotypical ways and she's evolving. She pops as a very real character to me. And I very much was hoping to get to know Nolan a bit more, but it was not to be. (So, so much Gilly). And I could write another para on the novella. I love same scenes from alternate perspectives but it is such a shortcut to depend so heavily on so much repetitive dialogue/writing.
I wonder if McGuire, an amazingly productive/prolific writer, just wasn't in the headspace for a Toby book, but understandably did not want to miss the yearly publishing date. (Her readers' loyalty is rooted not only in her talent, but her strict adherence to publishing dates. And Toby is her most popular series). I wonder if she was still working on Middlegame (an upcoming novel that is reportedly fantastic and incredibly complex). She has the Wayward Children series to fulfill as well. Maybe it was all too much. I think her betas and professional editors let her down. I know there is a mapped out path for Toby's full story, but if Seanan needed a break from Toby, I personally would have loved an entire book of Dianda/Patrick/pixies/workshops with some bonus pre-Eira Simon.
Again, I rate this book only against other Toby books and McGuire fiction. Weak fiction from Seanan McGuire is still twice as good as that from most UF authors.
This series used to be one of my very favorites, so having to give it less than a 5 star rating is anathema to me. Yet, here I am, giving this book a 3 star rating. Feels like a very sad change to me, and a very disappointing one.
I love the characters. Always have. Toby is a great heroine, funny, clumsy, big-hearted, and as sarcastic as they come. This hasn't really changed. She's still a great heroine Yet now you decided to remove the strength from one of the other main characters that shouldn't ever be seen as weak. Why? To prove men can feel helpless too? What's the point? These aren't "men" per se since they aren't human. We wouldn't expect human responses I found myself more angry at what direction was given to Tybalt than anything else about this book. I'd love to be able to just feel bad for him, worry for him, wish he could find some peace, but I couldn't, because it didn't read true. At all. This wouldn't have happened to the King of the Cait Sidhe. It just wouldn't. Maybe to a man, a military man, a policeman, any type of alpha human male. But that doesn't happen to the Fae. It attaches human psychology to non human beings. It seemed intent on making me feel less of a character that I loved most in the series. Why? I just don't understand the purpose of creating a weak King out of an extremely strong bedrock for Toby whenever she needed that strength. Just doesn't read true.
Now, yes, the Fae are imaginary so I guess artistic license needs to be allowed. So while I agree that the author should be able to apply anything to the characters that they want, it needs to be believable. This just isn't. So instead of inspiring the pity and worry and sympathy it was meant to, it just made me angry. It was an unnecessary turn to take, it didn't read true, and it just gave an unnecessary twist to Toby's emotions throughout the book.
The storylines are also losing their oomph, for lack of a better word. Bringing her daughter into it again just seemed lame. Like the author is running out of ideas on adventures for the group. Yes, it gave her daughter's life a backdrop to refer to when she is mentioned, but her daughter was a brat that just angered me rather than inspire any sympathy for her. That was probably intentional, as she was played as the brat pretty clearly so in that context I guess it worked. I did like some of the new protagonists, but even they wimped out in the end. Yes, I want Toby to win, but because she thoroughly decimates them, not because they are suddenly good, just tortured into being bad, or because they don't have the strength of character to continue being evil The storyline just took a lame turn, and on the heels of another not so great book, The Brightest Fell, it made me wonder if this is a series I want to continue.
To recap, we have a hero of the group that after only a few days in the hands of the evil Firstborm, Toby's mother, is suddenly incapacitated with fear and can't even change into his other most natural form for his species. Our heroine has a bratty daughter that seems to attract trouble, but is exhibiting such juvenile behavior that we can't even empathize with her because all we want to do is smack her for her big mouth. Our heroine herself keeps showing a distinct disregard for those who worry about her by doing things that keep getting her hurt to extremes, which is fine since it's part of her character's personality, but honestly is getting a little old. I mean, how many times can a person almost die, get saved, and almost die again. Come back covered in blood and freak everyone out, then go out and do it again? The only people left to relate to are the secondary characters like her knight in training, her fetch and her aunt, the strongest character in the book as far as Fae capabilities go as well as her control over the other members of the Fae that she interacts with.
If I were the author, I'd take a badly needed break from the October Daye series and regroup. Get back to the characters and storylines that follow the developed character personalities and the world created from day one. Rethink where she wants to go with it. And not rush to have a new book to publish. Rather take your time and make it believable and consistent so we can go back to loving the series as it used to be loved.
I'm sure this is harsh, and for that I apologize. I don't want to hurt any feelings. I just want to go back to being able to read these books and love them, and feel everything they are feeling without losing focus because it isn't ringing true. The excellence is missing and I for one would prefer we get back to that even if it means waiting a long time until the next one.
Please, Seanan McGuire, sit back, take stock, and go back to where this series used to be; a wonderful, funny, tear-jerking, captivating and ultimately lovable series that I would wait for with bated breath. As it is now? I look at the price and have to think about whether I want to spend the premium price. To me, that's just a very sad decline of a wonderful series. I'd almost rather see it end than have it fizzle out.
Top reviews from other countries
Seanan McGuire has throughout the October Daye series left a hidden trail of hints, foreshadowing and general impressions about what has yet to come. In Night And Silence we readers see what could be described as the first significant harvest of plot points and character developments.
This entire series has become one of my all time favourites, and this novel highlights why - Excellent writing. In depth characters. Jaw dropping world building - and a story that grabs hold of your attention like a siren calling sailors towards the rocky shore. This series has my love and commitment to the very last page - and i fear it may be the death of me! (Emotionally speaking)
Night And Silence is just amazing.
Night And Silence also includes a connected novella Suffer A Sea-Change. DO NOT read the novella until after you have read Night And Silence. Do not be tempted to skip ahead as there are major spoilers in the novella for the novel which both overlap.
I love these books. I devoured this one, and added it to my frequent re-reads list just like all the others in the series.
I was so anxious to start this book, yet I was hesitant, because the synopsis sounded like a lot of new and old pain - again - for Toby to suffer. And I admit, I was loath to see her suffer yet again. At the same time, „An artificial Night“, the darkest book of the series, is still my favorite. So yeah, I was anxious and eager at the same time.
And yes, there is a world of hurt for Toby to live through, but at the same time, it wasn’t as bad as I feared. The aftermath of everything Amandine the Liar, Toby‘s mother, had done to Tybalt and Jazz to secure Toby‘s Service in finding her lost sister August, is still in full swing. Mainly this shows in Tybalt’s absence for a large part of the book, nursing his PTSS symptoms. And Toby is afraid of losing him for real (and rightly so). So these aren’t the best premises for Toby, when her ex Cliff and his wife Miranda appear on her doorstep and want her to go looking for Toby’s daughter Gillian, who is missing. Yes, again, and I’ll be honest: I don’t care for Gillian and I wasn’t a fan of that re-heated trope. But I get why she was brought back into the plotline and liked how it was resolved (you should read the short story and the end of the book as well. But only after you finished the book).
So Toby embarks on the search for Gillian, her squire and her fetch/sister in tow and of course, she bleads a lot, but she is hard to kill now, which is a good thing in her line of work. The Luideag is back and doing the probably most impactful favor ever for Toby and is her usual sarcastic self all around. If you’re angsting because of Tybalt: don’t. I won’t tell more, but you can keep your calm.
The revelation of the culprit was... a bit anticlimactic. At least for me. I think Toby has had more formidable opponents, but well, I take what I get.
There are breathtaking revelations about Toby’s family and overall the book is mostly cleaning stuff up to go on from here. As usual, I loved the world, all the characters and above all Toby, with her deadpan one-liners and her penchant for death and blood and mayhem. For me as a fan, this book is just bliss, even if it’s not the best of the series. But it’s still a class of its own, compared to other urban fantasy books, hence the rating.