ROSEMARY AND RUE
SERIES: October Daye #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal – Fae
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.
Rosemary and Rue is the first book in Seanan McGuires’s paranormal, urban fantasy series featuring changeling private detective October Daye. I read and loved McGuire’s Wayward Children series and Indexing duology as well as some of her writing as Mira Grant (Feed and Into the Drowning Deep). I’ve yet to dislike a book of hers, so I thought it was high time to tackle this (intimidating) twelve book series: the thirteenth book comes out later this year. I’ll be reading a book a month with a small group on Twitter, and I’m looking forward to discussing it as we go along. (Check out #ADayeAMonth if you’re interested).
I have to say, I thought this book had one of the strongest prologues I’ve ever read.
It was much longer than most, but the pay-off at the end was well worth it. McGuire very quickly and efficiently shows us Toby’s idyllic homelife, letting us know what she’s built for herself, then strips it all away, leaving her at isolated, depressed and at the very bottom. It’s a great way to set the character up with some long-term goals, something to strive for and a rationale as to why she’ll be willing to throw herself into danger. It also effectively gets across the ruthlessness and danger of the fae world she’ll be navigating.
The plot and investigation itself was fairly straight-forward and really served more as a way to introduce us to a wide cast of characters. For a first instalment, I’m perfectly happy with this. I felt we got to know Toby and understand her motivations in regard to the various tasks set to her. The secondary and supporting characters were only touched on lightly, but they were each intriguing and full of possibility. The variety of characters and hints of backstory gave the world-building a good sense of scale. It was believably happening in a big city, with a second layer of fae world to explore.
I would have liked to see Toby reunite with Cliff and their daughter. Not necessarily in a positive or conclusive way (there’s a whole series after all) but such massive connections seem a little too easily disagreed (by the story if not the character). I’d also have liked the characters and action from the prologue, as strong as it was, to loop back around and find some sort of conclusion.
Overall, Rosemary and Rue was a strong series opener, with great characters and lots of potential.
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