A Local Habitation and An Artificial Night (October Daye, Books 2 and 3)

A Local Habitation and An Artificial Night (October Daye, Books 2 and 3)
Seanan McGuire, 2010 (both)

Premise: Follows Rosemary and Rue. Toby handles a dangerous case involving diplomacy and technology, then a more dangerous situation dealing with a children's bogeyman who is all too real. 

Being constantly home and also constantly busy is continuing to affect my reading habits. I want series content (repetitive characters, etc.) in a way I haven't in a long while, so I decided to finally dip back into this one. I really liked the first book, after all, but I just wasn't in the mood for more urban fantasy until recently.

I liked these two books fine, but they didn't strike me as interesting or inventive as the first. For better or worse, there isn't much recap in terms of characters and relationships, so I struggled at first to remember how the vaguely feudal faerie world works and how it interacts with the mortal world.

A Local Habitation is structured more like other urban fantasy. There's a mystery (no communication from her liege's niece, then murders) and Toby is sent to deal with it. There are interesting characters and we learn more about various faerie races and powers. I found it good but not great, though: I didn't connect strongly with anything that was going on. The solution to the mystery wasn't surprising, and I was frustrated with how long it took the characters to recognize that they were being bespelled by another character. To be fair, that meant it was obvious to the reader without being obvious to the first-person narrator.

An Artificial Night has a much more inventive premise. An incredibly powerful and ancient fae has stolen a bunch of children, and Toby risks everything to rescue them before they are turned into his monstrous servants. 

I liked all the individual elements of this - all the spells and descriptions, the characters, the individual scenes are exciting and emotional. However, the plot as a whole felt a bit meandering and redundant. She had to keep returning to this same place via different methods with different goals, and even though the repetition made internal logical sense, even mythical sense, it started to feel tedious to me. Even though the end was good, individual scenes were amazing, and the length of the adventure made sense with the weight of the ending... I just got tired because it felt like the plot had several endings, and then kept going.

I still liked both books, but they didn't make as positive an impression on me as the first did. 

2 and 3 Stars respectively. 


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