Rosemary and Rue By Seanan McGuire


From  Singer-songwriter McGuire adeptly infuses her debut with hardboiled sensibilities and a wide array of mythological influences, set against a moody San Francisco backdrop. October Toby Daye is half-human, half-faerie, a changeling PI with a foot in both worlds. After spending 14 years as a fish following a botched assignment, she’s desperate to avoid magic, but the dying curse of a murdered elven lady forces her to investigate the killing, with the price of failure being Toby’s own painful death. Toby struggles with court intrigue, magical mayhem, would-be assassins and her own past, always driven by the need to succeed and survive. Well researched, sharply told, highly atmospheric and as brutal as any pulp detective tale, this promising start to a new urban fantasy series is sure to appeal to fans of Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison.


For 14 years half-fae October Daye lived as a fish.  While investigating the disappearance of her liege’s wife, she was cursed and turned into a fish.  Her whole life, including her human husband and daughter, was lost.  Shortly after stepping out of the pond, she is trying to rebuild her life…as a human, not fae.  Unfortunately, her old friend and powerful fae, Countess Evening Winterrose, is murdered and binds Toby with her dying words to find her killer.  The curse will kill Toby if she ignores it, so she has no choice but to seek assistance from her former fae friends.  When Toby finds a powerful fae object the Countess was protecting, the murderer comes after her.  Former loves, former enemies and former friends are all sucked into the drama surrounding the murder, all with their own motives in keeping Toby alive.

The Good:  I thought the idea of a binding curse to force Toby to solve the murder was a nice way to toss her back into her old life.  I was hoping Toby was going to be a little more formidable (she gets her ass kicked quite a few times), but her powers were cool anyway. The setting for Rosemary and Rue is San Francisco, a place I have always wanted to visit and now even more so.  There were just so many captivating places to explore in the areas where the human and fae world overlap.  And some creatures like the rose goblins (cat-like creatures with thorns instead of fur) were too cute!  Throughout the novel, Toby has to use her fae powers to entrance people to give her what she wants.  She does this by speaking in rhyme.  I found this part really fun, but at the same time, I took me a while to figure what the hell she was doing.    I felt like Toby’s world was really intriguing, I just had some serious issues with the characters, which I will now discuss.

The Bad:  I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book and cannot decide how I feel about Toby.  I just felt like I couldn’t get her.  She seems to be a good person who helped a lot of people in her former life, but then she has no qualms with hooking back up with her former love\total skeezer Devin.  I thought Devin was just gross, as I would anyone who takes advantage of young people by trading shelter for sex.  She also talks of dreaming of her former pond in what seems to be a fond way, but then she is terrified of being back in water.  In the first third of the book she paints of pretty stark, lonely picture of her life, but as the book goes on; we continue to meet people willing to take a bullet for her.  I can’t decide if this makes her extremely whiney or just stupid.  My other problem with this book is a felt like I was either coming into a series in the 4th or so book, or should be a scholar in all things fae.  There were many references to characters, rituals and magic that were left almost completely unexplained.  I knew that Simon and Oleander were bad guys and that they may have turned her into a fish, but that’s all I learned, and they were never seen in the book.  I still have no idea why you need to release salamanders into a burning building, and it irritates me to have to stop and google things.  Surely googling “arson salamanders” will put me on some sort of ‘to be watched’ list. 

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Kindlelicious Pet Peeve #1:  Don’t skimp on the sex scenes!!  If I take the time to read about Toby’s multiple love interests, I think I should get to see some end results! Is this too much to ask? Gah!  Anyway, to be honest, in this case Toby’s main love interest was so unappealing I really didn’t care to think about them having sex.  Toby repeatedly talks about how Devin sleeps with all the girls at his halfway home for the half-fae, and I just don’t see how this is anything but creepy. And at the point she decides she wants to have said sex, she is nursing not one but two bullet holes, with one being in her thigh.  Ummmm Ouch? Can someone please explain the logistics of this to me?  At least two much more appealing (and scandalous!) future love interests were hinted at, so maybe we will actually get to see what happens next time around. 


The Rating: There were parts of the book I loved, and parts I didn’t, but I think the series might still be worth reading.  6.5


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KC (Smokinhotbooks)
    Apr 22, 2010 @ 15:39:24

    I read this love\total –> as ‘love tool’ and I laughed. Not like ‘rod’ more like Jesse is a ‘tool’ for cheating on Sandra Bullock type of tool.

    Is this a romance book or UF? If I don’t get at least one steamy romance scene I go through withdrawals or something.


    • Kindlelicious
      Apr 22, 2010 @ 15:47:49

      Haha, love tool, I like that, might have to use that one sometime. LOL The book is UF, not one steamy scene in sight. I think i struggled more with the love interest being a douche than I did the lack of steam, but yeah both were disappointing.


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