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Rosemary and Rue (Toby Daye) Paperback – November 5, 2015
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The first instalment of the highly praised Toby Daye series.
The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival: but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born.
Outsiders from birth, these children spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or in the case of October 'Toby' Daye, rejecting the fae completely. Toby has retreated into a 'normal' life - spending her nights stocking shelves at a San Francisco grocery store and her days asleep in her downtown apartment.
But when Countess Evening Winterroseis murdered, Toby finds herself drawn abruptly back into the world she thought she'd left behind. It's going to take everything she's got just to stay alive, and the stakes are higher than anyone has guessed . . .
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- Publisher : Corsair (November 5, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1472120078
- ISBN-13 : 978-1472120076
- Item Weight : 9.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.08 x 0.98 x 7.72 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors. I make no secret of that. She's prolific, she's friendly, and her books are kickass. I love the October Daye series, but I've only read it once all the way through. I've been meaning to get around to a reread for a while, so what more perfect way to do that than with the 10th Anniversary edition of book one? Right?!
The main story is the same as the original publication. It's not the best in the series, but it does set up one of the most interesting Urban Fantasy worlds out there, and lays the groundwork for some really cool storylines and some great characters. Definitely worth a read - this series really comes into its own in book three, one of my favorite books, not only in the series but in general.
The best part was an added novella, only available currently in this 10th Anniversary edition. Strangers in Court was a Pre-Rosemary and Rue TOBY story! We've seen the history of this world in many of Seanan's short stories, but we finally get to see a glimpse of Toby before the events that led to Rosemary and Rue COMPLETELY UPROOTED her world. Pre-fish, y'all.
Highly recommended... HIGHLY.
*The first few books show a character getting her feet under her; it’s worth sticking around for the process.
*Some of the things that seem ridiculous in early books make sense after later revelations.
This is a review of the series, as of book 14. After reading book 1, I was disappointed and would probably have given a three star review. But I like the author and figured it wouldn’t have gotten to book 14 if it didn’t get better, so I gave it three books, and ended up reading all of them.
Several things became clearer a few books later.
First, I was committing a genre error. These aren’t mysteries. If I could go back and give the author advice when she was starting, it would be not to make the main character a private investigator, since that promises checks that she can’t cash. The character is not a good detective at all, and you won’t get the payoff of her figuring out how to put together a set of subtle clues. She is an elven knight serving her local dukedom/kingdom. An improvement of later books is to stop having a whodunnit flavor. If you’re looking for a mystery book that happens to be an urban fantasy, keep looking. This is an urban fantasy that happens to have its early books set in mysteries.
Second, the character grows to be much more skill, power, and self-awareness, and to have much more interesting allies (and enemies, for that matter).
Third, some elements that seemed rather silly to me at the time would end up making sense once certain secrets were revealed later on. In particular, the fearsome sea witch may seem like a deus ex machina device, but she ends up an one of the most interesting characters in the series—and she is playing a very long game....
The best part of the series is its inventive setting and idiosyncratic magic features, and its characters (especially by book four or so). The worst part is the whodunnits in the early books, and how friendless and resourceless Toby starts out.
Basically, I don’t think the series really pays off until books three or four. I would still advise my past self to start at book one. They’re pretty short. :-)
"This is where everything begins. Parts of it seem a little clunky to me now, because I’m so far down this road; I have trouble looking at the earlier books and seeing anything but the flaws. But this was the book that started the story, and if I force myself to read it as something someone else wrote, I can absolutely see that this would be one of my favorite books if I’d found it on the bookstore shelf. I hope it can be one of yours. Toby is the first and in many ways most important of my imaginary friends. I love her so much.
"Blood and knives and all."
To be honest, that is not how it strikes me. If I had been handed this novel with no knowledge of its history, I would not have sussed out that it was the first published work of a 31-year-old author. As it happens, I have read all McGuire's Incryptid books and many of her separately published stories, and I can see that the McGuire who wrote Rosemary and Rue was in some respects a less skilled writer than the one she since became. But it is still an extraordinary debut.
Rosemary and Rue introduces us to October (Toby) Daye and to the world she inhabits. Toby is a half-fairy half-human hybrid. In the October Daye world, such hybrids are called changelings. (This is not the usual meaning of the word in European folklore.) Changelings are a despised underclass in fairy society. Indeed, the October Daye stories are largely about oppressed people in a hierarchical society. Toby lives in San Francisco, which is revealed to have a layer of fairy realms ("knowes") invisible to ordinary humans, from whom the fairies hide themselves to avoid conflict.
Toby gets sucked into a murder mystery. Her fight to solve it and survive is bitter and dangerous. Hence the "Blood and knives and all" McGuire mentions in the Foreword. It's an involving, high-stakes fight. It's also very complicated, because McGuire has to introduce Toby, a whole bunch of other characters, and the very complicated world they inhabit. This is something that 2021 McGuire would probably manage more deftly.
The book also contains the novella Strangers in Court, which is a sort of Prolog to the Rosemary and Rue prolog -- it tells us how Toby came to be a knight in Sylvester Torquill's fealty, which is how the prolog of Rosemary and Rue starts.
Strangers in Court is very good -- actually a better story than Rosemary and Rue, albeit shorter. This is for two reasons. First, it is more focused -- it doesn't have the sprawl of Rosemary and Rue. Second, Toby has more agency in Strangers in Court -- she takes initiatives and has clever ideas. In Rosemary and Rue, in contrast, Toby's role in the story is more or less that of a rag doll chew toy who is tossed and chomped on by larger and more powerful dogs. She can only do what she has to do. Aside from being the baddest b***h in San Francisco, Toby doesn't show a lot of individuality in Rosemary and Rue.
Top reviews from other countries
Toby is a changeling and so never quite fits into the human or fae world but she tries her best, but her best can have distinctly unforeseen complications. And it's only going to get more complicated. When you are dragged into the murder investigation of a ... best enemy... with a blood curse, particularly when you've been ignoring all things fae for six months. But choices are limited, time is not on your side and favours have to be traded. For this was no human murder. This stinks of fae and it cannot be ignored.
What can I say? I loved this. In some ways it is light hearted and wry, in others it has the power to make you flinch. This is dark and yet the narrative voice carries you through. The sharp quips and self depreciating humour shine through even the darkest of moments. And there are some really dark moments. And within this there is something really special.
I really connected with the characters, to the point where even 'minor' characters seemed to grow into real beings. There's a wide range of characters here, and the diversity between fae and changeling is noticable, yet never shoved down your fault. And Toby is brutally human in how she makes mistakes in both worlds, I'd follow the series just for her.
It's wry and witty, funny and powerful all in one bundle. If I had to compare to anything, I would say a strange mingling of the Jim Dresden series and Jodi Taylor's works. Either way, it is absolutely fantastic.
The Winterrose is dead, murdered by person or persons unknown. With her dying breath she binds October ‘Toby’ Daye to find her killers or face death herself; a challenge not for the faint of heart and one which promises to shake this world, and the world of the fae, to the core.
As a former private investigator, Toby is no stranger to such a request – albeit with less deadly consequences should she fail – but with unknown enemies stalking her every move, a death curse cloying to take hold and a self-imposed exile from those who would aid her, this challenge is going to be anything but easy.
Seanan McGuire has crafted a richly detailed urban setting, one which takes what we know – or don’t know – of San Francisco and intertwines it with the strange, enchanting but ultimately dangerous world of the fae. McGuire effortlessly conveys the charm and grit of the city location whilst simultaneously weaving a thread of magic through its rough streets, narrow alleys and glistening bay to create a vivid picture of a vibrant, gritty and supernaturally dangerous city.
And not to be outdone by reality, the world of the fae is similarly conveyed with rich but short passages of description which seamlessly blend with the narrative – a narrative which maintains a consistent pace throughout and relentlessly drives the story forwards. The hierarchy of the fae, and their courts, politics and lifestyle, are described with enthusiasm, adding another intriguing dimension to a narrative, and emphasising the clash between fae and humanity.
With purebloods and changelings infiltrating the streets of San Francisco, and a protagonist who has obvious deficiencies when compared to the pureblooded half of the fae population, Rosemary and Rue is populated with a vast array of strange and interesting characters whose motivations range from the good, the bad and the completely psychotic. Their strange storylines entwine with Toby’s to create a rich and vivid depiction of a world beyond worlds, and add depth and interest to the fast-paced storyline.
But this is a novel about one (incredibly messed up but ridiculously determined) woman. Toby is a fascinating and complex character; a character who is incredibly hard on herself but remains incredibly likeable throughout – despite her tendency to throw obstacles into her own path. With the King of the Cats, a deranged violet-eyed ex, and a whole host of weird and wonderful fae lurking around the corner, life may be complicated for Toby but it’s certainly never boring.
While the style of the opening prologue didn’t instantly hook me, by the end of the first section I was completely absorbed. The narrative flows easily in an uninhibited torrent of magic, mayhem and excitement. Seanan McGuire’s writing is snappy, dynamic and thoroughly amusing throughout, and with nursery rhyme magic, close encounters of the watery kind, and numerous rendezvous with walking rosebushes, Rosemary and Rue promises great things for this highly entertaining series.
Rosemary and Rue is an wonderful introduction to the October Daye series, a series which provides a light-hearted, humorous and highly enjoyable foray into urban fantasy, and one which will be filling my (virtual) bookshelves for years to come. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good urban fantasy with a touch of the fae – I’ve certainly not looked back.
Toby Daye, apart from her weird name, is not your typical urban fantasy heroine. That is, practically everything that comes out of her mouth is not a smartass comment. Nor does she spend half the book lusting over >1 hot male body. To be fair, she also spends a lot of the first part of the book whining and being self-pitying, which is also not typical, but less positive. However, since the woman spent 14 years as a koi, resulting in her losing her fiance and daughter (as they now - unsurprisingly - won't speak to her), this is perhaps understandable. To be honest, I think it makes her more realistic: if you're honest, how do you think you would deal with that kind of situation? With a witty quip and a readiness to move on an start kicking ass immediately? Probably not. In the end, perhaps I didn't quite like Toby, but I was interested enough in her to want to carry on reading.
There are many supporting characters, and (hooray) we have at least one fae who doesn't take arbitrary, illogical politicking to the level of an art form. There is the concept that liege loyalty goes both ways: the master has responsibilities to the servant, as well as the other way around. Some characters are more developed than others, but there are definite indications that many of them will be back and will play significant roles in further books.
The plot... to be honest, I figured out Whodunnit quite early on. As plots go, it wasn't very complex, and Toby didn't do much detecting really. A lot of running around and getting injured, yes; detecting, no. However, it was enjoyable. And it was clear that there was Stuff Going On What We Aren't Getting Told - although the immediate problem was solved, it's pretty obvious that it was only a single battle, not the whole war. There were enough loose ends to make it obvious that there will be a longer story arc over several books.
What really made this book a four-star read for me was the writing. It's hard to pin down, but it felt solid. Part of the slowness getting started, I think, was McGuire giving Toby and her world the kind of depth and detail that is the foundation for a really good series.
October ‘Toby’ Daye is an exception to the rule, openly rejecting the fae life and retreating into a normal mortal life....
... Until the murder of Countess Evening Winterrose. Toby is unable to resist Evening’s dying curse and is forced back into the faerie society and becomes the Duke of Shadowed Hills knight. Renewing old alliances, Toby is forced to solve the mystery of the Countess’s death or die trying.
I was torn when reading this book. Interesting world building and great character development. Toby being a changling does not belong in either the fae world or the human world. However being the underdog fighting for her place in the world makes you want to cheer her on. The story was fascinating and complex and even though i figured out who was responsible for the murder, I loved the conclusion.
Well done Seanan McGuire, you have piqued my interest to carry on reading.