Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Title: Rosemary and Rue
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: DAW
Publishing Date: September 1st 2009
Paperback: 346 pages

Stand Alone or series: Book one of the October Daye series

Summary:
October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.
Review:

October Daye, Toby, has decided she's had enough with Faerie. Not only is she treated like a second class citizen by Faerie because she's a changeling and therefor half human, while working a missing persons case Toby had the unfortunate privilege of being turned into a fish. When she's able to finally break free of the spell, her ex-husband and daughter refuse to see her when she can't explain why she went missing for fourteen years. So Toby done with it all. Content to work as a check out clerk at the local grocery store, Toby spends her days in an apathetic daze just trying to get by. Of course that wouldn't be a very interesting story, and Toby is thrust back into Faerie when Countess Evening Winterrose is murdered. As she struggles to solve the murder and find a new place for herself in Faerie, Toby will have to confront a lot of things, and people, she thought she knew.

I've become pretty bored with urban fantasy over the last few years. It was the first genre I started reading pretty obsessively and it was the first to fall by the wayside. While I now prefer fantasy, every once and a while I come across an urban fantasy book that reminds me what it was the drew me to urban fantasy in the first place. I'm happy to say that Rosemary and Rue is one of those books.

I'm not even entirely sure what it was that won me over about this book either. While I thought it was interested to read about Faerie there's nothing particularly new or surprising about the mythology. What really won me over was the setting and the characters. Taking place in San Francisco, the way McGuire layered the city with Faerie and us regular blokes was interesting. It was also refreshing that Toby was one of the less powerful members of Faerie. Rather than relying on just her magic or knowing some super new powerful ability will manifest itself right when she needs it, Toby has to use other means to get the job done. She gets beat up and misses clues and I really liked that. All of the characters have interesting personalities that made them feel like individuals and I lied the way no one was too evil or too good. This is a problem a lot of books about the fae tend to fall into and I'm glad McGuire avoided it.

Plus, there's Tybalt. I'll just leave it at that.

While the story did have some unevenness with the plot, either no action or non-stop action, the whole host of interesting secondary characters kept my attention till the very end. Considering my general apathy for most urban fantasy books, I'd say that's a job well done.

Notable Quotes/ Parts:

You can read an excerpt here.

Verdict:

If you're into urban fantasy then you should definitely check this book out. As soon as I finished this book I raced through the next three. That's got to count for something.

Rating: 7. Very good

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