The Family You Lose, Choose, & Find Again... (Night & Silence review)

There comes a time when things must end. It’s one of those inescapable truths and, as humans—keenly aware of our own mortality—we get this.

But carbon life forms don’t hold a monopoly on the concept; eventually, everything hits a point of being past its prime.

Most of us hope to reach a place of some decrepitude before it’s time to stop walking this mortal coil. (Being “old” is sorta the goal, for most humans.) Big-ticket items such as computers, phones, and cars are all designed with an expected obsolescence built in (which typically has more to do with corporations making money than with a sudden lack of functionality or usefulness, but I digress…). When it comes to series, though—whether books, movie franchises, or TV shows—the object is definitely to go out on a high note… before whatever-it-is seems tired and long-in-the-tooth.

And that notion is what kept popping into my mind when reading Night and Silence, the latest in Seanan McGuire’s ever-engrossing (and long-running) October Daye urban fantasy series. “Could it be time..?” 

Now, don’t misunderstand; it would be virtually impossible for me to not enjoy this book (and I did—a good deal, actually). But, I find myself increasingly starting to question just how much gas is left in McGuire’s tank for Toby’s story.

If you’ve read my reviews on some of the earlier entries in this series (and you should, if you want to get a handle on her world, here), or are already familiar, then you’ll remember the basics: October Daye, once a changeling (born of half-Fae, half-human blood) splits her time between the regular world (that would be our world) and that belonging solely to the Faeries (which they work their damnedest to make sure humans remain unaware of), acting as a sort of P.I. in both.

The plot, well… there are always similarities from book to book in this series, so I won’t go into Night and Silence’s storyline in any depth; suffice it to say that this time out, someone in Toby’s immediate family goes missing, and it’s up to her (and her delightful little crew of constant companions) to find the missing person and see that the miscreant(s) responsible are duly punished for the heinous acts committed.

One of the biggest constants is that poor Toby never seems to catch a break—in any sense. She’s always being run ragged (the Fae are nothing if not demanding of her time), and you know that law, about whatever can go wrong? Yeah, that.

In a roundabout way, though, that leads me to the notion that this series may be starting to show its age; it isn’t the fact that Toby is overworked, (often) under-appreciated, and exhausted—after all, the constant action, danger, and friction fuel these stories—but rather, the problem is that we’re being told that, here… every few paragraphs. Or, how many times, within the space of a few chapters, does Toby mention Tybalt (her feline-based fiancé) using the “bridal carry” (in his human, not four-pawed form) to get her to safety? Too many. When things begin to feel repetitive, that’s when I start looking for the exit… and Night and Silence, unfortunately, has a lamentable amount of repetitiveness.

(Interestingly, these instances could have been fixed in the editing process—re-wording phrases here, just cutting out unnecessary bits there—and I’m curious as to why they weren’t. Making this a tighter book would have made it a better book.)

Like I said earlier, though, with (nearly all of) our favorite characters taking part, and the author making us work hard to keep up with the twisty familial ties and histories, there’s still much to keep the reader engaged, here.

For how much longer, though, that is the question… 


~GlamKitty

[Night and Silence will be out September 4, 2018.]

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