I promised Seanan that this review would be up before today (the 1st) but internet providers are (most of the time) such a pain and work to their own convoluted and useless schedules (no surprise there, I s’pose) that I’m only now getting to post the review – sorry Seanan!
Anyway, here we go:
As Urban Fantasy goes, Seanan has crafted a fun, intense and inventive read that’s sure to have you flipping through the pages until the wayyy early hours – you might even set the book down and then wonder why you’re hearing the early worm-catching birds!
Rosemary & Rue introduces the witty, wounded and brave Changeling, October ‘Toby’ Daye. She has the blood of mankind and faerie running through her, and as far as magic goes, can perform enough to get by. At the novel’s start, Toby is a PI; if there are cases that need solving in the worlds of the faerie, Toby takes them, and it is during such a case that something happens – and when this ’something’ finally wears off, Toby’s entire life has changed. And try as she might, she can’t disappear and lead a safe life. Faerie has a way of pulling you back in, no matter what you want…
Reading this novel is a sure way to be submerged in the coolest faerie culture you never knew existed. As Seanan weaves her tale she also effortlessly teaches us about knowes, Kelpies, the many different kinds of faerie and their complex society and relationship with each other, as well as a beautifully rendered cityscape that even natives of San Fransisco might find surprising. As worldbuilding goes, it doesn’t get much better than this! Not only does Seanan give us a great introduction to the world she’s built for Toby and all the other characters to inhabit, but she does it without making us feel as if we’re being force-fed the information – everything slips through as easily as Tybalt into shadows and before you know it, you’re aching for more! I sure as hell can’t wait to find out more about Toby’s world, including the Summerlands!
Character-wise, Seanan has created (or given freedom to) a great new heroine that stands her ground when put against many other female leads in any kind of speculative fiction. Toby is capable, sometimes reckless, a sure bet when you’re in a tight spot, and justy about as grumpy as anyone would be if they were to suddenly find themselves in her situation. This realism lends even more strength to Seanan’s world, so much so that one of the creatures (roses, that’s all I’ll say) is really cool and not at all something that doesn’t fit. Traveling around the city with Toby, meeting the people (and Faerie) she knows, and learning more about who she is and where she comes from is like getting to know a really cool, mysterious person, the kind that everyone’s eyes are instinctively drawn to (but don’t worry, Toby’s got the magic to deal with inquisitive gazes).
Action-wise, I’ll say only this – Seanan puts Toby through hell!! Man, I hope I never have a day like that!
One thing I would like to have found out more about is the magic used by the Faerie – the hints and descriptions throughout the novel really made me curious as to how the magic works, where it comes from, etc but then again, I kinda think that’s just my I-read-plenty-of-epic-fantasy fetish coming through.
After reading Rosemary & Rue, I’m definitely a fan of Seanan and Toby, and I can’t wait to read the next two books (A Local Habitation in coming March 2010 & An Artificial Night coming September 2010)!
If you like your faeries to be cool and city-smart and your tales intelligent and fast-paced, you will probably enjoy this book! Being a newbie to Urban Fantasy myself, I can say that I loved this book and am growing a real fondness for the genre, of which Rosemary & Rue is a great example!
To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog. Also, check out Seanan's website here.