Everyone in the Bay Area knows about Blind Michael, the unseen, dangerous figure whose Hunt sweeps the Berkeley hills on full moon nights. He's a familiar hazard of life in the Kingdom of the Mists, and most people don't waste time worrying about him. October "Toby" Daye certainly doesn't. She has better things to worry about, like paying the electrical bill on time. So it's understandable that she'd be upset when Blind Michael suddenly starts taking an interest in people that matter to her, like the youngest children of Mitch and Stacy Brown.
Tasked to find the missing children, and with the stakes growing higher by the minute, Toby has few choices and fewer allies to help her through the dangers yet to come. With the Luidaeg's help and a candle to light her way home, there's a chance that she'll come through this latest danger...but the sudden appearance of her Fetch doesn't give Toby all that much in the way of hope...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: October Daye
1. Rosemary and Rue (book review)
2. A Local Habitation (book review)
3. An Artificial Night
AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT has the most interesting storyline so far in the October Daye series. Instead of playing the role of a failed detective, we watch Toby's attempts at being a hero. And let me just say that I enjoyed this approach much more than the detective route, simply because there was more action and adventure as opposed to idly standing around, clueless.
I thought that this book had a lot more humor in it, much to my delight. I also found that I was unable to willingly set the book down at any point--something that I was able to do with books 1 and 2.
There's no cheerful Toby this time around. She's pessimistic and sarcastic, much like the Toby I have come to know and accept. Said pessimism grated on my nerves at some points, but I think it's more because she attempted to justify her actions a bit too much instead of just sucking it up and moving on. This does not happen often, just once or twice.
In regards to Toby/Tybalt: well, their interactions were limited this time around. Instead of having our darling King of Cats playing a key role in the story, Tybalt steps back to let a few other characters shine. Though that's not to say he doesn't stop by. He does, quite a few times. And he's a bit more affectionate to boot.
When I first initially heard that Tybalt wasn't around as much, I was distraught. Aside from the interesting world building (which I wasn't really feeling in A LOCAL HABITATION), Tybalt is the main reason I adore this series so much. Surprisingly enough, I did enjoy the book, even with the lack of Tybalt.
I found that Toby's obliviousness to Tybalt's feelings wasn't driving me insane this time around. I mean, she's still oblivious at times, and it made me want to scream, but then at other times, she hinted that she knew how he felt about her. For instance, during one scene towards the end with her, Connor, and Tybalt. I almost gasped when she acknowledged there might have been something there. Maybe she's finally been slapped around often enough that common sense is overpowering her lack of understanding when that cat flirts with her.
I had a few complaints about Toby's Fetch, May. First of all, what purpose did she serve in the story except to make Connor want to cry, be slightly annoying, and drive like a madwoman? (I'll admit the second scene when she drives over the bridge had me laughing hysterically, but that's more because of the children than anything else.) Second, for someone who's so closely associated with death and whatnot, a lot of the characters acted nonchalant around May. They had an initial reaction of regarding her with distaste, but then they just... shrugged her off and moved on.
I enjoyed May's character towards the end, but I'm not too fond of her at the same time. I don't like that she's squirmed her way into Toby's life. I don't like that she's just there with no true purpose. There was such a fuss about her at the start, and I feel kind of let down now. I would have awarded this AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT 5 stars if May had been explored--or even if there was a hint about her serving a purpose in the next story.
Likewise, the final showdown didn't entirely feel final. I would have preferred it if there was a huge fight between everyone in the scene right before. That screamed finality to me more than the last scene, but hey, I like my drama, and I like chaos.
Complaints aside, I enjoyed AN ARTIFICIAL NIGHT moreso than A LOCAL HABITATION. Despite the fact that Tybalt played less of a role in this story, I think I prefer the adventure over mystery. Toby's a bad detective because she's so oblivious to the things that matter. But a hero? A bit dorky, but a huge improvement. I'm eagerly anticipating book 4, LATE ECLIPSES, in March. Something tells me Tybalt will be playing a larger role this time around.