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Rosemary and Rue

(Book #1 in the October Daye Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. New York Times -bestselling October Daye faerie series - Hugo Award-winning author Seanan McGuire - "Top of my urban-paranormal series list " --Felicia Day The world of Faerie never disappeared; it...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Seeming and savor

I wanted to like R & R very much--because I've known [info]seanan_mcguire for years, like her, and wanted to like her first novel. Fortunately, this wasn't hard -- Rosemary and Rue is a fun, character centered urban fantasy detective novel, densely populated with people who have their own histories, and (as befits a novel about the fey) is filled with fairy tale allusions like "A goose girl up in lady's clothes" (and plenty of others where that came from, but I lost my book on the way to work, so I can't hunt for them. woe). The story is written in first person, and October ("Toby") Daye, the heroine of the novel, is a a lot of fun to listen to. The setup -could- have her as an angst-puppy, whining about her life...but she doesn't. Instead, as we eventually see, she's an established hero--with relationships, a reputation, a good measure of self confidence, and, while she's not strong enough physically to avoid the genre-common parade of scenes where she's beaten up, knocked out, or otherwise massively discommoded, she's certainly got a fair complement of powers. All that said, while it's certainly a thread running through the book, this isn't a powers book--and while there's a central detective story, it isn't primarily a detective story either. Toby's faerie magic isn't (in this novel, anyways) combat useful--instead, it makes her better at what she is already good at (e.g. being a detective). Enough better, in fact, that aside from the several attempts on her life in the progress (and some other complications I'm not going into), Toby's progress toward solving the mystery is straightforward--she has appropriate magic, and once she has time to breathe, she used it in the right way to get the answer (not that the magic is easy--magic in this book--as is proper for a novel with as many faerie themes, is rarely easy or without complications). So, if it's not a mystery, what kind of book is it? A character one, mostly. This book has a truckload of characters--and just when you're figuring it's getting crowded in there, Seanan drives up with the second truck. And the writing is good enough that it doesn't make you feel overwhelmed--there's a complex weave of relationships among the cast, some of which Toby's aware of, some not so much, so new additions to the cast drop into the lattice of this novel's relationships and are immediately accessible--particularly since for every person new to Toby, there's at least one who has a history and a story to go with it. And as much as the mystery and its solution is straightforward, the way it turns on and impacts the relationships among the cast is anything but. Even the denouement (which caused me to more or less reread the entire book) hangs on the relationships and character-building throughout the book. The worldbuilding, too, is very cool--with the faerie culture having a nice mix both of original and traditional elements (rather like the rest of the book, really), and the oaths--traditional Celtic s

Exceptionally good

My first thought when reading the forward to Rosemary and Rue was "Oh no, this is going to be another cliche urban fantasy". I could not have been more wrong. That bad first impression, set-by a half-elf waiting around on a stakeout in a large modern city (been there done that in other books), is shattered at the end of the prologue by an event that is as unexpected as it is bad. You know immediately that the author is comfortable introducing likable characters and that really bizarre bad things happen to them. The fantasy world is very close to our own. So, if you are looking for primarily a complex "parallel universe" (like Simon R. Green's Nightside) this is not the book for you. That is not to say that the elf world is not memorable and unique. The magical parts of the book are vivid and very unique. If you are a fan of urban fantasies, know that the building of the lead character is what sets this book in a league of its own. There are some very memorable characters in this genre, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden is the obvious leader of the pack because of his witty dialog and there are some good books where you follow an interesting outsider making their way around an urban fantasy world (like Thurman's Cal Leandros books) but no author crafts an interesting outsider this well. Because the author is paying attention to what is going on inside of the character's head, the pace is a bit slow compared to a typical urban fantasy, but it still scoots right along and you will be up half the night to find out "who done it."

'Fantasic' is an understatement!

I am thrilled to have had the privilege to read and review an advance copy of 'Rosemary and Rue'. Toby Daye is a 'changeling', the child of a fae mother and a human father. These mixed-race people, not fully accepted by the fae world, use magical disguises to pass as human and live quiet, 'normal' lives in a world that doesn't know they even exist. Toby was a private investigator, working on cases that affected full-blooded fae and changelings. This career came to a sudden end when a case went horribly wrong and ended with Toby being enchanted and removed from the world for 14 years. In that time, her human husband moved on with his life, her changeling daughter grew up without her, and Toby has returned to a world that she barely understands. She attempts to build a new, quiet life working menial jobs and living hand to mouth, refusing to return to doing the investigations that destroyed her life. This situation changes when a fae friend is murdered and Toby agrees (under some duress) to solve the case and avenge the death. I don't want to say more because this is a story you should discover for yourself. The world is so real, the characters so well-written, that you will feel like you live there. The book is the first in a trilogy but don't worry, the story didn't end with a cliffhanger. The story was complete in itself, the mystery was solved...and future occurrences were hinted at in a manner that lets me think I may have an idea what's coming without leaving me hanging. Knowing that this is book one in a trilogy means only that I came away smiling in anticipation, knowing that I will have two more opportunities to immerse myself in this fabulous world with these wonderful characters. Lucky you, you have THREE opportunities. You will get to meet Toby for the first time in September, and then you will anticipate the future books with the same pleasure I do.

A fabulous debut novel

I am a great fan of writing and reading stories about protagonists in a heap of trouble digging themselves out to win the day. Rosemary and Rue is exactly that kind of book. In less than the first 100 pages, October "Toby" Daye, a half-breed Daoine Sidhe and former street kid, is cursed twice, loses everything she holds dear, winds up in a job she hates and has an unpleasant encounter with the King of Cats. Frankly, if I were Toby and I met Seanan on the street, I would punch her. Yes, I really loved this book. Toby is a flawed protagonist in all of the right ways. She is scared, hurt, angry, and forced to do things she would have done anyway but resents the power that is forcing her to do exactly that. Every person Toby turns to for help she knows she cannot trust. Every person who loves Toby is hurt by this lack of trust. But, honestly, the reader cannot fault Toby. She is acting in a logical and emotional-if reactionary-manner to everything that is happening to and around her. One of the best parts about Rosemary and Rue is the fact that while it is one step into the world of the Fey, changelings, pixies, trolls, and goblins, there is still a true sense of reality. Having once lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the story is set, I can imagine the world of Oberon's court just beyond visible sight. The places are real. The emotions are real. The pain, loss, and infrequent joys are real. So real that sometimes this is a hard book to read. Fortunately, it is a harder book to put down. Seanan McGuire's funny, raw, and engaging style of writing has put her at the top of my "new favorite authors" pile. I highly recommend Rosemary and Rue as a fantastic debut novel and eagerly wait to see what comes next both in this series and from the author.

Faerie tales are deadly, and delightful!

Many and several moons ago, my housemate asked me if I'd be interested in reading a new book. This is something similar to asking a cat if she would like more catnip. After receiving my enthused yes, she gave me more details. The author needed people who were not already familiar with her work to do a quick, but thorough, read-through and provide feedback, all inside of a week. This lay well within my skill-set, and was my first introduction to Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. I caught one small continuity detail, but beyond that I was fairly limited in feedback beyond: Book good. And it was. Well, I'm not sure how many revisions there have been between that version and the version I received in ARC form, but let me tell you, this book has gone from "Book good" to "Book AMAZING!" For those reading this who like comparisons to other series. Quality-wise, I believe that Rosemary and Rue compares favorably with both the first book of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, and with the first book of the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. The main character, October 'Toby' Daye, is a changeling. This leaves her caught between the realms of Faerie and the mortal world, with obstacles and craziness from both being heaped on her head throughout Rosemary and Rue. Toby's journey through this book is precipitated by the murder of an old friend, and a very pressing obligation to solve that murder. It's difficult writing a review, because I want to talk on and on about all the twists and turns, all the fascinating secondary characters, and the delight I had in seeing so much being set up for the subsequent books. At the same time, I don't want to give any spoilers, simply because Rosemary and Rue brings wonderful discoveries of Toby's world on every page. The degree of detail going on in the background, as she is moved forward by action scene after action scene, is just lovely. Toby and her world feel real to me. I can picture her San Francisco, with Kelpies lurking on corners, and knowes hidden in the most unlikely of places. If someone had asked me before this book about doors into Faerie existing within a city, I would've scoffed. However, Seanan strikes the right balance between the gritty, mundane world of mortals and the otherworldliness of Faerie, and makes it seem natural and right where the two intersect. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about the world-building. How the rules of Faerie make sense, and how you glimpse threads of the broader tapestry. I believe that Toby is dealing with a world of immortal beings, with complex and intertwining stories, loves and hates, jealousies and loyalties. Toby struggles, and I believe both in the struggles and that she will find a way through, with the help of her friends, and by relying on her own wits. Toby has been hurt by her past, but she is strong, and is capable of change to face her new realities. Seanan has me rooting for Toby throughout this book, gasping and cringing and wincin
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