Night and Silence: Emotional and twisty

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsNight and Silence by Seanan McGuire science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsNight 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.

 October Daye SeriesBut 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!

Published in 2018. 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 are 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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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  1. 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.

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