Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #1)


Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire // VBC ReviewRosemary and Rue (October Daye #1)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Sept. 1, 2009 (DAW)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

October “Toby” Daye is a changeling P.I. When one of her assignments goes wrong she’s turned into a fish for 14 years. At the beginning of Rosemary and Rue, Toby has been changeling again for about six months and all she wants is be left alone. The human life she built is gone and she wants nothing to do with the Fae. Of course it’s easier said than done.

One evening Toby finds a voicemail from a friend in trouble. Toby’s friend knows the end is imminent and curses Toby to avenge her death and find her killer otherwise she will die as well. Now Toby has no choice but to return to the life she left so long ago.

The beginning of the book drew me in immediately. I really like Toby’s character. She’s been through a lot, and unfortunately, if this book is anything to go on, this series will be one where our main heroine is put through the ringer in each installment. Toby, however, keeps getting up even when everyone around her is yelling and pleading for her to stay down.

All the characters are richly built. Tybalt is probably the secondary character that stands out the most for me, and like the cats that he rules over, he’s cunning and mysterious. He’s the type that shows up at just the right moment: when you least expect it. I look forward to learning more about him in future books.

Seanan McGuire really builds an interesting world. Much of the Fae mythology is familiar. I’ve found that authors don’t really deviate too much when it comes to the Fae. The same rules apply across the board (things like never saying “thank you,” the Fae can’t outright lie, etc.), but McGuire does a great job with imagery in how the Fae world overlaps and intersects with what we know as San Francisco. Where doorways appear out of nowhere and take you to a completely magical place. I really got caught up in the descriptions of Toby’s world.

The mystery in Rosemary and Rue was weak, though. Toby was supposed to be a private investigator in her previous life, and from the bits and pieces of information gathered while reading, she was pretty good at her job (aside from being turned into a fish). Here, however, I almost feel like instead of her pursuing the murderer and the clues she kind of stumbles around from place to place, and trouble happens to find her. While the reader, in turn, gets a lot of information this way about aspect of the Fae world, I would have liked to have actually seen Toby taking action instead of reacting. It felt too out of her control that way.

I can forgive this because it was just a first-book-in-a-series type deal. Yes, McGuire gives us a lot of introductory information, but there are still things that need to be dealt with in Toby’s past. Anyone who’s read other books with Fae in them has a good understanding of how the Fae will only tell you the bare essentials and have a way with bending the truth so they’re technically not telling a lie. I have a feeling there’s more going on behind the scenes in this world than we are aware of as yet. All actions have consequences.

There is really no romance in this book, but there are plenty of prospects. I’m interested to see what comes of the relationships based on the interactions in this book.

Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex

12 Responses to “Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #1)”

  1. Ataia says:

    I totally agree with your review. I listened to this book last summer and have been on the fence about trying the next book.

  2. Beth says:

    I love this series! I liked the first book a lot, but I feel it’s one of those series that gets progressively stronger as it goes along. Book 3 was really the turning point for me, when this went from being a “series I like and might read again” to a “series I will read over and over again no matter what.”

  3. Kristin says:

    Yay, one of my fave series!

  4. Eileen says:

    I agree with Beth that the series starts out a bit slow with “Rosemary and Rue” and “A Local Habitation” but I just read all 6 books in this series in the last few months and I just cannot wait for the next installment (“Chimes at Midnight”) which comes out in September.

  5. Amy M says:

    That’s the feeling I got reading the first book. It was a little slower, but it has a lot of potential and that makes me excited to continue the series. I want to try to catch up before the next release in September.

  6. Bettielee says:

    I love this book and series – when they come out, I gobble them like candy.

  7. Susan Stokes says:

    Very intense series…I think your 3.5 was BC you are not immersed in the Series…Very Good Authors out there…Seanan is Brilliant…Is this your first book you have read by her? Have you read any of her Writing as Mira Grant? (So ready for The Next Karen Marie Moning )

  8. melliane says:

    I love this series, really really loved it but I confess this book wasn’t really that good. It’s the only disappoitment for me in the series so I hope it will be the same for you too.

  9. Sarah says:

    I keep hearing that this series gets better as it goes along. I tried twice to read this book but couldn’t get more than a third through. I just couldn’t connect to Toby but then I almost gave up on the fever series too and quite enjoyed that in the end.I think the fae are my problem, i’m more of a vampire/shifter girl! I might give it another try.

  10. Annie says:

    Good review, I pretty much agre with you! The series grows stronger as it progresses. It is definitely worthwhile to continue reading.Book 3 onwards it is 5 stars Urban Fantasy series!

  11. ForeverReading1 says:

    I love this series and I would have rated the first book 4 stars on the world building alone, despite the first book of a series flaws. The books do get better and the latest book “Ashes of Honor” is a solid five star treat.

    • Amy M says:

      It was very close to 4. I did think that the world building was done very good. I think it just overshadowed the main mystery a little too much. There’s so much information that Seanan McGuire gave us in this book, but she also left a lot to figure out and I can’t wait to find out how the stories develop.

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