May 2024
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Review: Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

The faerie world has never been comfortable for October Daye. Half-human, half-fae, she formerly ran investigations until her magical heritage lost her fourteen years of her life and the people she loved. Even though she’s decided that she’s finished with that half of her life, serving as a grocery store clerk until her need to avoid dawn gets her fired, the fae aren’t finished with her. She is drawn back into the world against her will, but with no power to resist her latest investigation into a friend’s death.

Ana of the Book Smugglers recommended this to me as her favorite recent urban fantasy series, and since you all know how much I love urban fantasy, there was simply no way I could say no. While this hasn’t displaced my current favorites, it’s fantastic to discover a new one.

This is proper urban fantasy, set right in the midst of San Francisco, where the fae blend neatly in the human world whenever possible. There are only a few times where they are vulnerable, such as at dawn, when October (Toby) must hide herself from detection. She has lost everything and mainly wishes to hide in the midst of the urban jungle. But she’s left no choice in the matter and must delve up old memories as she searches for a killer, and we’re right along with her on her journey.

This made it really easy to be immersed in the world as Toby’s investigation carries her around different sections of the fae, reacquainting her with old allies, enemies, and even lovers. There are quite a few places for McGuire to go with future installments in the series even as the current mystery begins to wrap up. This is a very eerie world; I’ve never been to San Francisco but I got a feel for the grimness of this version of the city, with its constant danger and quirky, often threatening inhabitants.

I really enjoyed the character of Toby in this book. I loved her casual banter, her struggles with other characters, and the fact that she feels like a human even though she’s actually half fae. It makes her very easy to sympathize with, especially because her concerns are actually very human in nature, particularly in the beginning of the book. She just wants to survive, to see her child, to be with the people she loves. I think it would be a challenge not to feel for her.

I did very much enjoy this particular urban fantasy and I’m looking forward to reading more in the series. There are three more, with another book coming out in October. In fact, now that I’ve written this review, I’m a bit tempted to go buy them now! Rosemary and Rue would be an excellent choice for anyone else who is craving a little bit more urban fantasy.

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