Monday, February 1, 2010

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, Book 1) by Seanan McGuire (4/5 stars)

I love books about the fairy world mingling with our world. Since I haven't been all the thrilled with the Meredith Gentry books lately, I was excited to start another series that deals with the fairy world. There are a number of young adult series out there that deal with the fairy world but not many adult novels. This ended up being a pretty good book. I think this series has a lot of promise.

October Daye is a changeling, half human half fairy. She is also a Knight of the fairy realms and has a daughter and a human boyfriend. At least she had those things until she made a fatal mistake and was changed into a koi fish for fourteen years. When she returns to the human world everything has changed for her, her daughter won't see her, her investigation business has been sold off and she has been declared dead. In her new life she has one goal, to never deal with fairy again. Unfortunately her new goal will not be realized. She receives a call from a prominent fairy noble named Evening. Evening is in trouble and she magically binds October to figure out what is going on. Now October is thrust back into the fairy world and she must solve Evening's murder; if she doesn't her life is forfeit.

There's a lot to like in this book. The world McGuire has created is complex, detailed, and very believable. It is focused mainly on the city of San Francisco and surrounding California, but does look like it could easily be expanded to wider horizons. The characterization is another strong point. The characters are believable, unique, have intriguing pasts, and are not always good or evil but a mix of both. These characters are fascinating and that extends to the side characters as well as the main ones.

There are some wonderful action scenes in this book. McGuire does an excellent job with these. The plot is fast moving and very engaging. The book was hard to put down, you always wonder what is going to happen to October next and if she will be successful in solving the murder. This is definitely not a romance book, but an action packed urban fantasy. Although October is not an action hero or a super hero; she is more of an ordinary everyday girl trying to make a living but constantly getting thrust into extraordinary situations.

McGuire did an excellent job of keeping October focused on her goals. I hate it when the heroine gets so scattered and distracted that she doesn't know what she's doing; that didn't happen in this book. McGuire also did an excellent job of bringing the main storyline in this book to a close; while leaving some threads hanging for the next book. Another nice thing was how McGuire summarized what October needs to focus on in the next book at the end of this book. I appreciated the pronunciation guide included as well. It would have been nice to have a Glossary to help you keep all the fairy races straight.

There were a couple of things that I didn't like about the book. Personally I didn't like October as much as a character. She spent a lot of the beginning of the book trying to shrug off her responsibilities; she also does a lot of stupid things throughout the book. I also wasn't a huge fan of McGuire's overall writing style. At times it didn't seem to flow all that well for me and it was a bit difficult to read. This is a pretty small quibble, but there are some books out there that are absolutely effortless to read they are so natural and this wasn't one of those books for me. Lastly you get a lot of different types of fairies thrown at you right away. McGuire is inconsistent about describing these different races, sometimes she does and sometimes you are left to struggle through it on your own. This is another reason why a index or glossary of fairy races would have been nice.

Overall I liked the book. I think this could be the start of a magnificent series. Like many first books, this one could have used a little more polish, but the main elements are there. Mcguire is very good at world-building and characterization and writes some awesome action scenes. I am looking forward to reading the next book "A Local Habitation" due out in March 2010.

This book goes towards the following challenges;
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge
- Thiller and Suspense Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge

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