Night And Silence (October Daye book 12) by Seanan McGuire (book review).

Once, the usual format for publishing was the one-off book, the standalone. This had one set of characters which occurred only with the pages of that book, a common practice still in the world of ‘literary fiction’. The trilogy, as a continuous narrative, came into its own with the explosion of fantasy literature. While three books can explore aspects of the created world in detail, it is often used for further stories.

With the onset of Urban Fantasy, it wasn’t unusual for a story arc to be planned out over more than three books but many authors realised that there needed to be an end volume despite what fans might want. In SF and crime, there has been a history of the on-going saga, the never-ending series where the ultimate goal is never quite reached (compare E.C.Tubb’s ‘Dumerest’ series, ‘Perry Rhodan’ by assorted authors and Piers Anthony’s ‘Xanth’ series).

There is always the next book. Some Urban Fantasy does the same thing. To catch the attention initially, the first book has to be big on ideas and dramatic in the execution. This provides a dilemma. Everything that follows must be more dramatic to keep the readership. Some, like writers Lyndsay Sands and Nalini Singh, solve this by keeping in the same world, pushing the story forward but passing the baton of focal characters onto what were lesser characters in a previous book.

Others keep the focus tight, centred on a small group. Such is the ‘October Daye’ series by Seanan McGuire.

‘Night And Silence’ is the twelfth in this series and there is at least one more to come. The first person narrator is October ‘Toby’ Daye. She is not human but a changeling, the daughter of a Faerie Queen and a human, a heritage she has tried to run away from but which keeps catching up with her. In the previous novel, ‘The Brightest Fell’, her mother forced her to find her elder sister, but keeping Tybalt, Toby’s shape-changing fiancé, a prisoner in a small cage.

At the start of ‘Night And Silence’, the couple are estranged so when her human daughter, Gillian, goes missing, she feels she cannot call on him for support. Initially, Toby is accused of the kidnap by her former husband but promises to find the girl.

In a previous novel, Gillian was poisoned and the only way to save her life was to remove all the fae taints from her blood and make her fully human. The real kidnapper knows Toby has done this and mistakenly believes that the opposite can be done, that Toby can make a changeling with only a trace of fae blood into a full fae entity. Again, Gillian faces death if Toby cannot come up with an answer to the dilemma.

Throughout this series and others like it, the ramifications become more complex. Toby discovers more about her family that she was aware of and the complexities of fae heritage. The action moves further away from the norms of human society as her allegiances shift. It is the fae that have the capacity for mayhem and human interactions are becoming more irrelevant. This is compounded by the novella that backs onto the end of the book. ‘Suffer a Sea-Change’ takes Gillian’s story a step further than the novel does and further into the fae world.

The writing is as slick, as one would expect from a storyteller of McGuire’s calibre, and there is enough to carry the reader through if they are unfamiliar with this series. However, the enjoyment will be greater if they have read earlier books.

Pauline Morgan

December 2019

(pub: DAW, New York, 2019. 403 page paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US), £10.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7564-1038-4)

check out website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.