| Week Two |
Welcome to the second post in the An Artificial Night Read Along! And wow – what a week! This section was exciting, terrifying and despairing all rolled into one – Seanan McGuire has really upped the ante in this one! This week is hosted by your truly, so scroll down for the Q&A!
If anyone would like to join in, just head on over to the Goodreads group and sign up. Here’s how the schedule looks:
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 (me!)
Week 3 (Saturday 23rd April)
Chapters 18-24 – hosted by Lynn’s Books
Week 4 (Saturday 30th April)
Chapters 25-End – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
There will be spoilers!
| Week Two Rating |
| The Questions |
| 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?
Well what an amazingly exciting and scary section this turned out to be! Seanan McGuire is not holding back and this novel has taken on a distinctly dark and sinister aspect. As soon as the Luidaeg agreed to help I almost felt that it was something she would not strike a bargain with – it just seemed overwhelmingly important. And by the end of this I can’t help but feel that Toby is the one who will be owed – after all, why isn’t anyone else willing to help with such an important task? It almost makes me angry! However, I do love that we get to see more of the Luidaeg’s power and, all the way through this novel, a little more about the powers of the Firstborn and their complicated existence.
I loved how creepy and sinister Toby’s journey by candelight was. Not knowing what she was doing or how the candle might help her made for an incredibly tense read – but I suppose being told very little about what might help her shows just how important it is for her to get there and back again in as little time as possible. Her discovery that the Luidaeg had turned her into a child was a fantastic twist but rather worrying all the same as the one thing that would both help and hinder her in equal measure.
As for the Wild Hunt:
“The horns sounded a final time, and Blind Michael’s Hunt poured over the hill. There were at least a dozen of them, dressed in mismatched armour and mounted on vast horses whose hooves ripped the earth as they ran.”
With the descriptions of the Wild Hunt, McGuire creates a truly powerful and formidable enemy whose introduction whilst chasing a small girl is both heartbreaking and terrifying. There is something both very predictable and very unpredictable about Blind Michael’s Hunt; there are no individuals, it’s just the Hunt – almost a collective conscience – and their absolute determination to exact Blind Michael’s will. We just don’t know whether the horns will be blaring and the hooves will come pounding, or whether freedom is just around the corner…
| 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?
Oh Quentin – will you stop getting yourself into all this trouble! Quentin’s arrival was both a relief and frustrating; one part of me is absolutely firm in the belief that Toby should not have to face Blind Michael alone but Quentin… will you just do as you’re told and stop trying to get yourself killed! However, the bargain he made with the Luidaeg shows that he has the utmost belief in Toby and, despite being too like her for his own good, is determined to do the right thing even if everyone else has abandoned the cause.
Toby’s discovery of the transformed children, however, was both scary and incredibly sad. After all, these children are changed and completely unpredictable but they are still children, even if they’ve been that way for hundreds of years. I’m not certain there is any hope for them, certainly not while Blind Michael is alive to force his glamours on them, but I remain in hope that something can be done to make their lives a little better. I can’t help but feel that the answer we’re looking for may be found during the brief introduction where Danny gives a home to some dangerous Barghest pups… Danny’s Home for the Terrifyingly Transformed and Monstrously Misaligned? I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
| 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?
With powerful glamours which make children, and anyone else that falls under his spell, worship him as a god, Blind Michael comes across as very creepy and incredibly sinister. His motives are as much a mystery as anything else in this realm – which makes it all the more scary! – and his adherence to the rules of children’s games seems a woefully insubstantial thing to rest ones hopes on.
However, I was extremely relieved when Toby found the recent abductees unaltered, except of course for poor Katie. I truly felt for her when she had to leave some of the children behind in order to escape with the others, but I can’t help but feel that her decision to take more children than she bargained for is going to cause a whole world full of trouble. Blind Michael is going to exact his vengeance – it goes without saying – but what will happen next remains a complete mystery to me. No one is going to get through this one unchanged.
| 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?
Wow – just wow – I really wasn’t expecting this! Luna and Sylvester were definitely acting suspiciously and were obviously hiding something but I hadn’t expected this to be the answer! I don’t blame Luna for hiding her heritage, I wouldn’t have expected anything else had I known who her parents were, but I do blame her for doing less than she could have to aid Toby. But at least she pointed her in the direction of the Luidaeg. Luna is clearly a lot more powerful than at first thought and I can’t wait to see how this revelation changes things from here on in.
Acacia, however, is a very interesting character in her own right who I almost feel sorry for. She seems almost trapped in that realm, tending her tree children and claiming those who cross her borders, but without the daughter she so clearly loves. I can’t wait to see how her own story will play out within the narrative and whether she will play a part in bringing about the end of Blind Michael’s rule or in aiding him. Whether she will be a force for good or a force for evil is as yet unknown, but her connection to well established characters is sure to make this an even more thrilling read!
| 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?
As usual, I have no idea how this will pan out! Blind Michael is sure to come after Toby after her rescue of the children and Toby is sure to fight him every step of the way. Whatever happens, I expect it to be pretty epic! No doubt this is where May will have a role to play, but as yet I’m uncertain about what her arrival truly means – we do have a whole series to come after all – but for now, I’m just going to enjoy this strange and ridiculously upbeat Toby doppelgänger. I fully expect the rest of this novel to blow me away!
Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 23rd April