Monday 14 August 2017

Review: Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire

The world of faerie never disappeared: it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival - but no secret can be kept forever, and when they fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Half-human, half-fae, outsiders from birth, these second-class children of Faerie spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October "Toby" Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Fae world, retreating into a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas.

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the Fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby is forced to resume her old position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery . . . before the curse catches up with her.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
In Deepest Consequence (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Jealous in Honor (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Quick in Quarrel (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Write in Water (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Live in Brass (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Ambitious Ocean (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
And Thrice Again (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
These Antique Fables (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Of Things Unknown (Short story included in The Brightest Fell)
Night and Silence
Suffer a Sea-Change (Short story included in Night and Silence)
The Unkindest Tide
Hope is Swift (Short story included in The Unkindest Tide)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

As a huge fan of Seanan McGuire's Incryptid series I had very high expectations for October Daye and I'm happy to say that Rosemary and Rue kicks things off to a very promising start. October (known as Toby) is a changeling - born to one human parent and one fae and never quite fitting into either world. Full fae look down on changelings because they're not as powerful as them but humans often sense something a little off about them and it can be hard having to constantly hide the power they do have. Toby had opted to live a more human life than most, she had a human fiancé and a young daughter but her job as a private investigator often involved working fae cases. It was when she was trying to locate her liege lord's missing wife and daughter that things went really wrong for her though. She was only meant to track the suspect and report back so that someone more powerful could be involved in the take down but unfortunately she walked right into a trap and suddenly found herself transformed into a koi fish.

It took 14 years for the curse to wear off - 14 years of living as a fish totally unable to interact with anyone or even remember that she was human! - and in that time her fiancé and daughter decided that she was just a deadbeat parent who had chosen to walk out on them. They didn't know anything about Toby's fae heritage or magic so they moved on with their lives and have no interest in letting Toby back in now. Toby is understandably bitter about everything that happened and she is determined to stay far away from the fae from now onwards, or she was until she received a message on her voice mail from an old friend. Countess Evening Winterrose knows she is about to die and she asks Toby to investigate and bring her killer to justice. Now Toby will have no option but to confront her past as she carries out her friend's dying wish.

Toby has lost everything that ever meant anything to her, the people she loves most want nothing to do with her and the only people who still want to know are from the life that caused all her pain. It's no wonder that when we meet her she's pretty down on life, she's depressed and she's pretty much given up so she's just doing the minimum to make ends meet and just survive. Evening's curse gives her something to focus on and that has the effect of slowly dragging her out of her pit of despair and making her interact with the world again. The further we get into the book the more interesting her character becomes as she finds the will to fight back against the people who wronged her. She's out of touch though and it is hard to know who is an ally and who might be plotting against her. The focus of this story is definitely on finding Evening's killer but I think we're going to learn more about Toby's past and what happened to her as the series continued and I'm really looking forward to her getting vengeance for everything that was done to her.

I find the fae fascinating and Seanan McGuire has created a detailed world populated with interesting characters and all kinds of fae lore, as this is the first book we're still only scratching the surface but we've already seen all kinds of interesting creatures (I love the rose goblin!) and characters I really want to spend more time with (I'm looking at you here Tybalt!). This series is very different to the Incryptid one, it's much darker for a start and there was less humour, but the writing is just as brilliant and I have a feeling I'm going to end up loving these characters as much or even more than the Price-Healey clan. There are lots of questions I still want answers to and I'm really hoping that Toby will get the chance to make amends with her daughter at some point but for now I'm just happy that I've got another 9 books sitting here waiting for me to dive straight into. I can feel a binge read coming on!

Source: Received from DAW Books in exchange for an honest review.

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