Review: Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire
Rating: 4.8 Llamas
I am going to attempt to write this review without any spoilers but be forewarned I may not fully succeed. Hopefully I will at least do justice to the wonderful world Seanan McGuire has created within the October Daye series.
It is a world that is absolutely addictive with such solid and well developed characters that you feel like you could reach out and touch them. All in a place where modern day San Francisco and the world of the Fae are just a thin veil apart. It is all at once beautiful & terrifying, fascinating & (I’ll admit) occasionally confusing. I loved it. I want more and am waiting with baited breathe for the next book in the series to come out (March 2010).
Let me tell you a little bit about the story though before going into my whole reading experience…
The book begins with a foreshadowing, that is before the acknowledgements etc…so don’t get confused it will all be explained in time. (I did a double take myself so just warning you – of course I read it on an e-reader so it might not be as confusing with a regular paperback)
October “Toby” Daye is a Changeling which is to say she is half Fae & half human. She is also a human P.I. & a Fae Knight which makes her life interesting to say the least. As the story begins we find her very much involved in both sides of her nature, essentially living a double life. Then while on a very personal Fae involved case that was only supposed to be an info gathering mission – everything goes horrifically wrong. Let me assure you that when I say horrifically I truly mean it, but it’s not a gore-fest horror movie scene it’s sad and psychologically damaging. (Like how I am holding it close to my chest here & not giving too much away?)
In the aftermath of that horrendous event we find a completely different Toby Daye in more ways than one. A shell of what she once was. She has turned her back not only on the Fae (as much as she can) but also on the other Changelings. Worse than that she is only going through the motions of life. That is until the one person she still talks to and trusts is murdered and she is forcibly drawn back into the dark & dangerous world of Fae politics and intrigue where all is never quite what it seems.
From there it is nonstop race to the finish line, the only problem is that finding the finish line is like walking through a land-mine filled labyrinth. Toby doesn’t fully trust herself anymore and there seems to be a fine line between friend and foe among the Fae.
She has a murder to solve, doppelgangers (among other things that go bump in the night) to fight, politics to mind and hungry cats to feed. All while untangling a riddle that leads to temptation, betrayal and a murderer. Thankfully along the way she learns a lot about herself, her friends and her foes and after all remembers that she is a Fae Knight and up to the challenge.
My reading experience, thoughts & notes…
As I have practically screamed from the rooftops to anyone that cared and even those who didn’t – I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!
First let me tell you though that there is a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the book – bookmark it, dog-ear it, highlight it or tab it – because you will need it! Seanan McGuire (SMcG – from here out) has create an entire world with many things inhabiting it that I have heard of before and many I have not. Which is an accomplishment considering how much I read so either she created the one’s I have never heard of out of her incredible imagination or she has brought those long forgotten back to life either way beautifully done. I referenced the guide several times so like I said keep it handy.
This is not a light read anyway you slice it. It does not drag but it makes you think and you may find yourself referencing back to other parts of the book besides the pronunciation guide. SMcG does not talk down to the reader or write down I should say – there are no “information dumps” the pieces of the puzzle and the back story are offered as necessary and where they fit into the whole of the work. She expects you to be paying attention, so please do because it’s worth it, it’s very refreshing and hard to come by these days.
The writing style is poetic and lyrical while at the same time being dark, gritty and direct, much like life itself often is. Being able to bring that to life is something exceptional and wholly worthy of applause and accolades. *And I am not just waxing philosophical here – I say what I mean and mean what I say. I will give it to you straight – you may or may not agree but it is my honest opinion*
We get a mere glimpse of who Toby once was at the beginning of the book, but in that you come away knowing her and understanding what she has lost, even feeling her pain. As the story unfolds it & she get under your skin and when you have finished the last word on the last page it will haunt you. You will not be able to just brush Toby & Co. aside and move onto the next book – they will hang around long enough to feel like they are setting up camp and waiting out the winter. It is not a happily ever after and in this case that is as it should be. After everything they have gone through a happily ever after ending would have ruined it.
So why you ask did I not give it 5 Llamas?
Only because I felt like it could have been a bit longer and included more information about the different Fae involved so there were just a few less questions still lingering in the end. That said there are two more books in the series coming out within the next year so hopefully the things left unsaid will all become clear as we continue on this journey with October “Toby” Daye.
P.S. Don’t knock the name October because one of my daughter’s is named December!