Since I teased you on reviews and told you how worthless they can be on Wednesday, it seems appropriate to then contradict myself and give you a review to read on Friday.
Last weekend, I finished reading Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue, first book in a series about October Daye, a “changeling” half-fairy/half-human trying to get her life back on track after she loses 14 years to a full-blooded fairy’s curse.
The book’s primary plot includes a basic murder-mystery, complete with an item (possibly a MacGuffin—only time and more reading will tell) to find and then protect. Along the way, October has to deal with old lovers, possible new lovers, and a plethora of other folks from her old, pre-curse life, whom she has been avoiding since her return.
Broken down like that, the plot sounds pretty run-of the-mill, and I suppose it is. Unless I’m mistaken, this novel is McGuire’s first novel, and the plotting shows it. (Says the girl who is currently fighting plot problems on her second unpublished novel.) There are a few too-convenient saves from near-death. There’s a huge deus ex that accompanies the character for a portion of the book. And the big reveal of the murderer isn’t all that shocking, even though I found myself unable to put the book down at that point.
She also teases us with a fair number of future plot-points that the casual reader may never see: a future romance, the unsolved case of October’s enchantment, the resolve of October’s old life.
I’m making this sound pretty negative, aren’t I? That’s funny, because I truly enjoyed this book.
What’s engrossing about it isn’t quite the plot and it isn’t really the voice, which is neutral and detached at best. No, what’s engrossing is the world and October herself. This is a San Francisco where the fae walk beside us, sharing our world and mingling with it. Half-breed kids like October are forced at an early age to choose which world they want to inhabit, and that choice is always unpleasant and occasionally deadly.
October tried to continue living in both worlds. She became involved with a human and had a child with him. But she returned from her enchanted “sleep,” her old family wanted nothing to do with her. As the review that nudged me into reading the book, much of her family plot is heartbreaking and all too real.
Now, estranged from her blood family and separated by blood from her fae kin, October has to forge a new place in the world. She must accept that she cannot stand by, completely detached: life finds us all in the end.
In spite of my complaints, I highly recommend this book. This was a great start to the series, and I suspect it will only get better over the next nine(!!) novels. (FYI, six novels of the series are currently on the shelves, four are forthcoming.)
The verdict? I’ll be reading the next book, and that’s as good as you can get.
For some reason I started with book2 of this series (it was on sale?), and found I could reconstruct much of what went down in book 1 just from reading it. Then I ran into a friend whose tastes in reading overlap with mine, and she said, “Oh yeah, that Rosemary book. That’s the one where she turned into a fish. Seemed like she was a fish for an awful long time in that one.”
Now, maybe my friend was just confused and she never did turn into a fish, but because of her comment I never went back and read it – though I do own a copy (bought it on sale). I coincidentally started book 5, One Salt Sea, just yesterday. Perhaps your Wednesday post planted a seed?
Yes, when she got turned into a fish, I thought I was reading comic fantasy. Turns out, it was a very serious and dire fish transformation. Apparently no one told the author that 14 years spent as a fish is funny, not tragic.
Hahahaha…..that is all.