Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire is the first book in the October Daye series, which is currently up to book 9 and is still going strong. The series is steeped in the world of fae lore, connecting creatures of many cultures, and it falls squarely in the category of paranormal mystery/adventure. In this first in series, we get to know October “Toby” Daye, a half-faerie private detective, while she investigates the murder of a friend, trying not to get herself killed in the process.
All in all, this was an okay read for me. There were things I really liked, things that started to drive me crazy, and a general sense of apathy that kept me from getting pulled into the story too deeply.
What I liked: The world McGuire built was amazing, full of way more cultural faerie lore than I even knew existed. This was especially great for starting a series because there are so many facets to explore. I also liked some of the side characters, namely Tybalt, Sylvester, and Luna – I really wanted to read more about them.
What I didn’t like: Toby really wore on me. She just seemed so bland and generally average. She was supposedly knighted due to merit, but I have no idea what she actually did to earn it. Her faerie abilities are absurdly weak, which she freely admits, and I was hoping her cunning and personality would make up for it. For me they just didn’t.
The other things that got to me were the occasional unbelievable scenarios and the apparent lack of editing. For example, when you bleed all over a bus handrail right in front of the driver, the cops are going to get called, especially when iron poisoning is dampening all of your faerie “don’t notice me” vibes. As far as editing goes, passages like this kept distracting me from the actual plot:
I didn’t see what came next. I opened my eyes to see Dare leaping onto her brother’s back, momentum sending them both crashing to the floor. The gun went off when it hit the floor…
What was that about not seeing what came next?
Overall, my interest in the world and side characters mostly balanced out my occasional annoyance, resulting in a wash. I’m glad I gave the series a try but I probably won’t read any further.