Review: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire, Compelling and Unforgettable

I’ve been reading the October Daye series for a long time. Not when it initially released but soon after, I was given the first book and fell in love with Toby. She was not perfect, her life was messy and yet, as a hero, she always tried to help those around her and keep safe the people she loved. I love Seanan McGuire’s world of Faerie and I love the people in her world. I’ve been reading ever since and even though, I had other books I was supposed to be reading, I had to read Night and Silence when it released. I was so glad I did.

In the twelfth installment of the October Daye urban fantasy series, things are not okay for Toby and her small family. Everyone is still reeling from Amandine’s latest betrayal. Jazz can’t sleep, Sylvester doesn’t want to see her, and worst, Tybalt has retreated to the Court of Cats as he tries to recover. Toby is flounders, unable to help those she loves heal. What she doesn’t need is to find out her estranged human daughter, Gillian has been abducted.

Worse, she finds out from her ex and his new wife as they accuse her of kidnapping her own child. Of course, she takes the case of finding Gillian. The only question is whether she is emotionally prepared to survive it. Along the way, signs of Faerie involvement is everywhere and it is going to take every bit of Toby’s nerve to slice through old secrets, old hatreds and new deceits to track down Gillian. And if she doesn’t, her child will pay the price.

One of the elements of Seanan’s work that I love the best is how interlocking the stories are, each novel meshing with the next, each thread remembered and used to help weave the next part of the whole. While each novel can and does stand on its own, there is an overarching story being told and nowhere do I see it more than in this story. Even though the story is on a far small scale than some of the previous novels, Toby struggling with the aftermath of her family being hurt, her mission is also very personal, in that she must find her daughter before anything irrevocable happens to Gillian. It is intimate but also tightly woven, threading with the impact of all the previous stories as old enemies are remembered and even more importantly, more truths emerge about the whole of Faerie in the pursuit of Gillian. It opened up new aspects of the world and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for Toby and the consequences of this novel into the next.

What I love best is how messy and how authentic Toby is as a character. How authentic all the characters are and how real their lives feel to me as a reader. Seanan is skillful in how she builds even her secondary characters. They are fully fleshed out and even in the tiny scenes, they feel as well written as the main character, Toby. Seanan’s whole world is like that, solid, detailed and full of the same complexities as our own, believable and existing side by side, just like in the old tales of Faerie.

The writing quickly engages you in the story. Seanan has true skill in sprinkling tiny background and bits of retelling of the previous novels into the new story, never letting the pacing slow down but just bringing in old information as part of the new story of the first couple chapters. The pacing of the novel was fast as we get swept up in Toby’s quest to find Gillian as she has to figure out who remembered her daughter and would want to hurt her or her family. Just like every other Toby novel, this one keeps you up at night as you have to finish the story.

The only tiny part that bothered me as a reader was the ending. It felt unbalanced and off from the action and pacing of the rest of the story as secondary plot points get wrapped up. While those are integral to the rest of the series, they felt out of balance somewhat with the rest of the story. While I’m not certain any writer could have handled it better and it was important to the overall story arc, it felt added on to the story as a whole. It didn’t detract from the overall story, however, and I am looking forward to how it ties into the next novel as well as how Toby deals with the consequences of what she discovered in her quest to find Gillian.

Really, every novel of Seanan’s becomes my new favorite of hers but this story truly allowed her worldbuilding to shine as you see just how the many details of Faerie tie together. The plot was authentic and compelling, immediately pulling me into the story and I stayed up way too late at night to finish it because I loved the story that much. There is so much to be said but if you love the October Daye series, this novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and in a book coma after you finish it. Here’s hoping the next is just as good!

Rating: 4.5 secrets out of 5.

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