An Artificial Night Read-Along Week No.2
We’re journeying through the third book in the October Daye series. If you’re interested in joining this Read-Along, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.
“October “Toby” Daye is a changeling-half human and half fae-and the only one who has earned knighthood. Now she must take on a nightmarish new challenge. Someone is stealing the children of the fae as well as mortal children, and all signs point to Blind Michael. Toby has no choice but to track the villain down-even when there are only three magical roads by which to reach Blind Michael’s realm, home of the Wild Hunt-and no road may be taken more than once. If Toby cannot escape with the children, she will fall prey to the Wild Hunt and Blind Michael’s inescapable power.”
Week 1: Saturday 9th April, Chapters 1-7, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 16th April, Chapters 8-17, hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 3: Saturday 23rd April, Chapters 18-24, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 4: Saturday 30th April, Chapters 25-End, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
1. Toby makes her journey to Blind Michael’s realm with the aid of the Luidaeg – who is back and on form and has, as yet, decided to hold off on killing Toby. What did you think of Toby’s journey by candlelight and her first encounter with the Wild Hunt? What do you think this favour is going to cost her with the Luidaeg?
I found Toby’s journey really fascinating, and I was just as surprised as she was when she realized that she’d been transformed into a child. The whole angle with Blind Michael and everything being basically a children’s game to him is such an interesting spin on The Wild Hunt.
2. As a prisoner of Blind Michael, Toby encounters a disturbing number of altered and transformed children and, assisted by Quentin, discovers the children who are yet to be toyed with. What were your thoughts when Toby discovered these child monsters and other detainees? Do you think there is any hope for them? And what did you make of Quentin’s bargain with the Luidaeg?
To be honest, Toby’s encounter with the children was more horrifying that I thought it would be. Up to this point, I knew that Blind Michael altered the children in some way, but I hadn’t really been expecting just how horrifying they’d become in his care. I want to take the warning and think that maybe the children can’t be saved who have been with Michael for some time. At the same time, though, I hope they can be saved. I feel like if they can be saved that maybe they could be blessed with some semblance of a normal life with the help of the community. Children are resilient if nothing else, and while it would take some time, I think they could be okay… if they can even be saved at this point.
Quentin’s bargain with the Luidaeg struck me as very simple, too simple even. I mean, i know he said he has nothing else to give, but it sounds like she was bending her own rules in her own way to give Toby the help that she needed while in Blind Michael’s knowe. I feel like telling Toby not to turn around wasn’t so much to protect Toby from something more than it was to allow Quentin to not be caught. I don’t know if she could have truly known that Quentin was with Toby, but that seems to make the most sense for telling her to not look back.
3. In spectacular style, Toby swoops in and relieves Blind Michael of his prisoners and vows to put an end to his evil ways. How do you think Blind Michael will react when he discovers Toby and the children are missing? What do you think Toby will do for those she left behind?
Toby didn’t play by the rules, and I don’t think he’ll forget that. As it’s mentioned over and over again in this section, children believe in fairness and not much about what’s right. He seems to have a way of hunting Karen in her dreams, so I’m going to assume that since he doesn’t leave his knowe except for once every hundred years, that he’s going to use that against her in some way. And who knows… maybe he will outright hunt her himself. Then again, knowing Toby, she’ll make herself easily accessible by trying to go back. I really do think she will find a way to help the other children, so he might only have to wait her out until she’s back on his lands.
4. Whilst straying into the forests within Blind Michael’s realm, Toby encounters Acacia whose revelations regarding Blind Michael and her own daughter are nothing short of astounding. Were you expecting this? What were your thoughts and reactions?!! How does this change your view of the characters involved?
I really wasn’t expecting to hear that Luna isn’t actually a kitsune or that she was a daughter of one of the firstborn. That opens up a whole host of other questions including how and why Luna’s taking that form. Does it have something to do with the kitsune that Toby keeps seeing in her dreams about Karen? What transpired to make her leave (aside from wanting to grow roses)? What is her relationship with Acacia like? That is a pretty big secret to hide all these years, and I really want to hear an explanation. It also would explain why Luna was acting stranger than normal given them circumstances. I wonder if she worried that Toby would find out her connection to Acacia. Also, does this mean that Lily knows about Luna’s heritage? She directed Toby toward her. At first, it seemed a bit strange that she did and a bit strange that Luna had all this information. Sylvester’s reaction made sense now in context as well.
5. Toby seems to have escaped Blind Michael’s clutches – for now! – and is currently enjoying the company of her Fetch, May. What do you expect will happen from here? Do you expect her to pursue Blind Michael to the end? And what are your thoughts on Toby’s sentient portent of death and its implications for her future?
I do expect her to try to get the children back because that’s what Toby does. She is noble–some might call it stupid–in that way. I can’t say that I blame her. There’s something about the innocence of children that makes you want to rescue them. Other than that, I’m not sure. Obviously, she’s not going to die or if she does, she’s going to come back some kind of way or face near death (more than usual) maybe? We’ll see where this goes!
Cruelty always came easier to the children of Titania; the only survivors of Maeve’s line are the ones who let themselves learn how to become monsters. Titania’s children are cold and hard and beautiful. Maeve’s children are hot and strange and come in every shape imaginable. Oberon doesn’t claim most of his descendants, leaving them to the mercies of their mothers. Those few races that he does claim . . . those are Oberon’s children. And Oberon’s children are heroes.
* * *
Sometimes I think the Luidaeg never ends a conversation; she just puts them on hold until you come back into range.
* * *
“Children’s games are stronger than you remember once you’ve grown up and left them behind. They’re always fair, and never kind. Remember.”
* * *
Children don’t care about good or evil; all that matters is that you play fair and follow the rules.
* * *
There’s nothing more stubborn than youth, with the possible exception of old age.
This book gets 37894783 million points for using my favorite Shakespeare quotes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream! “If we shadows have offended…”
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