Book Review: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

Posted October 1, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #12
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW Books on September 4, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Chimes at Midnight

Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Beneath the Sugar Sky, "Suffer a Sea-change", The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork", Tricks for Free, That Ain't Witchcraft, "The Measure of a Monster", The Unkindest Tide, "Hope is Swift", Come Tumbling Down, Imaginary Numbers, "Follow the Lady", "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met", Across the Green Grass Fields

Twelfth in the October Daye urban fantasy series set in San Francisco just before Christmas in 2013 and revolving around Sir October Daye, Knight of the Realm, the fae realm, that is.

My Take

It started out a little humdrum, and then it got good, October-Daye good, with some unexpected (and nasty) insights cropping up for Toby. There are so many truths that come out in this…if you’re a fan, you can not miss this tale! One such secret is why Berkeley is an unclaimed territory with its very special hidden garden. Another is why Faerie broke… McGuire also provides a few goals for Toby to accomplish in future installments, some of which are a result of neglectful thinking in the past. Well, you know about that 20-20 hindsight.

It’s a story of both the need for thoroughness and of kindnesses, the everyday ones of consideration, of doing the right thing, the loyalty that strengthens with it. I don’t think I’m quite picking up on that kind message, as I can be mean, petty, and vengeful, and I find myself hoping that Amandine becomes desperate for Toby’s help…and that she can’t force that help! It’s that first person protagonist point-of-view that really makes me hope so hard, as we hear how torn Toby is.

Hmmm, it seems that Toby has several kinds of reputation, lol. One of which is as an overthrower of kingdoms. Well, okay, it is fair, and I do love Danny’s comment that he’d want Toby as a friend too. He’d also be signing her up for “every cookie of the month club I could find”.

Well, that’s just sad. Toby tells us that the fae saw her as a miracle worker because she was willing to try. The re-caps are handy in here, as it has been awhile since I first read the start of the series, and it helps remind me about all those tries. It also helps as Toby’s memories dredge up all those times the false queen used magic, as Toby wonders how much of it had been borrowed magic. A question which makes even more sense when we discover who had emplaced that false queen.

There’s plenty of action, and I suppose when your magic revolves around blood that events are likely to get, um, bloody. And it certainly does. A good thing our bodies are capable of replacing our blood, although probably not as capably as Toby.

Where on earth does that thin-blood get the idea that Toby owes her anything?? When did Cliff go from being her husband to an ex-fiancé? As late as Once Broken Faith, McGuire has been referring to Cliff as Toby’s ex-husband.

And finally the ultimate truth comes out between mother and daughter.

The Story

In the aftermath of Amandine’s latest betrayal, Toby’s fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can’t sleep, Toby doesn’t want to see Sylvester, 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 to 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-fiancé and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own.

There’s no question of whether Toby’ll take the case. The only question is whether she’s emotionally prepared to survive it, for signs of Faerie’s involvement are everywhere, and it’s going to take all Toby’s nerve and all of her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits.

No matter how this ends, Toby’s life will never be the same.

The Characters

Sir October “Toby” Daye, the Knight of Lost Words, is a hero of the realm and knight errant in service to the Court of Shadowed Hills, part changeling, part Dóchas Sidhe. Quentin Sollys, a Daoine Sidhe, is her squire in blind fosterage; he’s really the Crown Prince of the Westlands, a.k.a., all of North America. May Daye is her Fetch-turned-sister (a combination of Toby’s blood and a night-haunt named Mai who remembered Toby as being her hero when she was still alive as Darice/Dare); Jazz is her live-in girlfriend and a Raven-maid. Seems Toby has an older sister, August, who is much loved by Amandine (The Brightest Fell, 11). Spike is a rose goblin and one of Toby’s pets along with her half-Siamese cats, Cagney and Lacey.

The Court of Dreaming Cats

Tybalt, a Cait Sidhe formerly known as Rand, is the King of Dreaming Cats and engaged to Toby (The Winter Long, 8). At least he was until The Brightest Fell. Raj, the Prince of Dreaming Cats is his nephew, heir, and Quentin’s best friend. Right now he’s busy keeping the Court from seeing how damaged Tybalt is. The Shadow Roads are a formless darkness accessible only through shadows and well-used by Cait Sidhe to quickly get from one place to another.

Gillian is the daughter of Toby and Cliff, a human and Toby’s ex-fiancé(??). Cliff Marks is married to Miranda who hates and despises Toby, doing everything she can to turn Gillian against her biological mother. Gillian is currently attending UC-Berkeley where the too-eager, thin-blooded Jocelyn Lewis is her roommate. Chloe is the residence director.

The Kingdom of the Mists is…

…located in Muir Woods and ruled by Arden Windermere, Queen in the Mists, the royal Tuatha de Dannan restored to her throne (Chimes at Midnight, 7) to whom Sylvester owes fealty, so Toby does a lot of work for Arden. Her father had been Gilad Windermere, the last legitimate King in the Mists. Nolan Windermere, Prince in the Mists, is her brother, recently revived from being elf-shot. Madden is a Cu Sidhe and Arden’s oldest friend and her seneschal. Cassandra Brown, the oldest daughter of Toby’s childhood friend, Stacey, and Toby’s adopted niece, is her newly hired chatelaine. Lowri is a Glastig guard.

Professor Walther Davies, an alchemist, teaches chemistry at UC-Berkeley. He’s also a Tylwyth Teg who discovered the cure for elf-shot. The city of Berkeley is territory granted by Oberon himself, unclaimed by any Court, a refuge for fae and changelings. Kennis is a Baobhan Sith, a type of vampire fae, an ambush predator.

The false Queen of the Mists, a nasty blend of Siren, Sea Wight, and Banshee, had been imprisoned in Silences. She’d also told Jocelyn that she wanted to be her godmother. Dugan Harrow, a minor landless Daoine Sidhe baron, had tried to betray his queen, had kidnapped Gillian in partnership with Rayseline, and was imprisoned (One Salt Sea, 5).

The Court of Shadowed Hills
Sylvester Torquil is the Duke of Shadowed Hills and Toby’s uncle. Sir Etienne is a Tuatha de Dannan and Sylvester’s seneschal, married to the human Professor Bridget “Bess” Ames, and they have a daughter, Chelsea, who has her father’s power and none of his control…which makes for some interesting issues (Ashes of Honor, 6). Rayseline Torquill is Sylvester’s insane daughter who had kidnapped Gillian before. Simon is Sylvester’s traitorous brother who had been married to Amandine and been a lover to the cruelly ruthless Oleander de Merelands, thankfully dead.

The Court of Saltmist
Diandra Lorden, a Merrow, is the Duchess of Saltmist and married to Patrick, a count and Daoine Sidhe. Cephali are octopus-legged Undersea soldiers.

Dean Lorden is one of her sons, Count of Goldengreen, and in a relationship with Quentin. When Toby had held Goldengreen, she had sheltered those displaced from Lily’s knowe in Rosemary and Rue, 1. Marcia is Dean’s seneschal.

The Court of Golden Cats
Shade, a Blue Point Siamese is the Queen of Golden Cats.

The County of Tamed Lightning
Located in Silicon Valley, the county was ruled by April O’Leary, a cyber-Dryad with an insane command of computer systems. Now her mother (and Sylvester’s niece), January, is back and back to being its countess.

The Kingdom of Silences encompasses…

…most of the state of Oregon whose King Rhys had been put on that throne by the false Queen. It’s back in the hands of Walther’s family, aunt and Queen Siwan. Marlis is Walther’s sister who had been captured and forced to serve. Their aunt Ceres makes lavender cookies.

The Court of the Whispering Cats is…
…located in a comic book shop within the territory of Silences. Susie is its best employee with a sense of who is a real customer. Jolgeir “Joe” is King of the Whispering Cats. His daughters include Ginerva, the Princess of Cats.

The Firstborn are…

…the children of Oberon and Maeve or Titania. The highly feared Luidaeg (Maeve), a.k.a., the sea witch, Annie, or Antigone, was the oldest, cursed to tell no lies and forced to help anyone who can pay the price. She’s also Toby’s aunt. Poppy is a magically enlarged pixie who has apprenticed with the Luidaeg. The Luidaeg’s children were the Roane, almost all of whom were killed as part of Evening’s plotting, including Firtha, the Luidaeg’s youngest daughter. The sea-witch’s revenge was the Selkies.

Evening Winterrose (Titania), a.k.a., Eira Rosynhwyr, was a stone-cold bitch who hated everything and everyone and had a thirst for power. Amandine the Liar is Oberon’s youngest. Blind Michael had been the Horror of the Hills and the Luidaeg’s brother (An Artificial Night, 3). Tam Lin had been a guest of Faerie, as part of a bargain.

Janet, a.k.a., Jenny, is Toby’s grandmother, a human lover of Oberon’s. Her wealthy Scottish father had set aside land for his spoiled daughter, Caughterha (Carter), making her Janet of Caughterha. Now? Janet is “a legend, a monster, and an impossibility”. And the bitch is still so self-centered!

Danny is a Bridge Troll who drives a taxi and breeds Barghests. And it totally cracks me up that he’s trying to get Toby to talk about her “feelings”. Toby had once helped his sister, and he’ll be repaying that forever. Arkan sonney are fae beasties no fae has seen for hundreds of years…and oh man, have those years ever romanticized them. The lives of pixies have been changed since The Brightest Fell. Knowes, a.k.a., hollow hills, are created to fit fae needs and desires as a world between earth and the Summerlands, the last accessible realm of Faerie. Being a “fairy bride” is simply a way for fae to re-acquaint themselves with the human world as it is now by going back to school. A Folletti blade freezes one from the inside out and can not be touched by human hands. Elf-shot was invented by Evening as a way to not-kill the fae, but force them to sleep for one hundred years. It kills changelings slowly, and humans quickly.

Magic is the function of the blood, and the Dóchas Sidhe are walking encyclopedias of magical scents. You can buy magic from Asrai or Fuath, and it’s easier between one land fae and another or one water fae of another. Marshwater charms are normally a type of hedge magic. There are exceptions. Thin-blooded changelings are so weak in fae blood that it’s practically non-existent. The next step up are merlins. The Choice is presented to changelings when they must decide if they wish to be human or fae. Did you know those fae last names were originally human last names? That Oberon thought humans who gave up their heritage should be able to keep something?

Duchess Riordan is trapped in deeper Faerie, rebuilding her power base (Ashes of Honor). Fetches are omens of impending death. Devin had been a Fagin, a terrible person who may have brought changelings into his fold, but only for his own purposes.

The Cover and Title

The cover is by the same artist with its grim, distressed background, flying creatures, and Toby, her long hair down, blood on her white shirt, the slight protection of her black leather jacket, her right hand holding a dagger by its hilt, as she appears to head up the stairs. There’s an info blurb at the very top in white with the author’s name in a smoothly rounded and embossed orange at the top. The title is in a distressed yellow at the bottom with the series information in white below that.

The title is an oath from Shakespeare, for Night and Silence, how is Toby to cope with the horror of this tale? Her daughter gone? The false queen back? Will Tybalt return? Who else would have it in for Toby?

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