Urban Fantasy

Rosemary & Rue – Seanan McGuire

3 Stars

It seems that’s it’s Seanan McGuire week here on Alex Can Read! I’m finally getting around to posting my reviews for the first two novels in Seanan McGuire’s beloved October Daye series.

Over in the Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Fans group on Facebook, we’re doing a Re/Read Along as we prepare for book #12 in the series, Night and Silence, to be released in September. It’s newbie friendly, as we’re keeping our discussion limited to just the books we’ve read so far in the Re/Read along. We’ll be discussing book #3, An Artificial Night on March 11.


Cover from Goodreads


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 & Rue was the first book Seanan McGuire ever wrote, and it shows. Of everything she’s written, it’s the roughest and hardest to get through.  It’s not amazing and is fairly standard urban fantasy fare.

Our heroine, October “Toby” Daye is a weak blooded changeling trying to avoid faerie as much as she can. McGuire hints at a noble, honorable past full of feats of service enough to earn Toby her knighthood, but when we meet Toby she’s far from that high station.

Over the course of the book, as she reluctantly responds to the demands of duty, Toby frustratingly spends most of the book bleeding, unconscious, or working herself down to the ragged edge. Toby is slogging through the plot and the read itself is a bit of a slog.

But now, as I reread the book, having read everything else in the series, I see the breadcrumbs that Seanan has laid out, to be picked up later in the series. Little references that don’t mean anything until connected to later events in the series. From the very beginning, Seanan has been carefully laying the groundwork for the larger arcs that tie the next 11 books together.

While book 1 is a slog, it’s definitely a series that gets better as it goes along.

Come back later this week for my review of book #2, A Local Habitation.