34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Once upon a fairytale...,
This review is from: Rosemary and Rue (Mass Market Paperback)
Rosemary and Rue focuses on the story of October Daye, also known as 'Toby', private eye and a changeling half-breed; half human and half Daoine Sidhe. Due to her dual nature she's been an outsider all her life -- finding herself in both worlds but a part of neither. A case gone wrong leads her to deny the fae world for good and she retreats fully into a mundane human life. Unfortunately for Toby this solitude does not last very long, as fate has seen fit to pull her back in -- the trouble starts when the Evening Winterrose Countess of Goldengreen is murdered. Despite having turned her back on Faerie, Toby is unable to resist Evening's dying curse which binds her to investigate her death. October thus resumes her former position as knight errant and attempts to renew old alliances in the hope of solving the murder; and hopefully saving her own life before the magical bindings close around her for good.
This book was simply fantastic, I truly enjoyed it. There was some weighty action that seemed to bury the plot a little towards the beginning of the final act, but overall it was a fast paced and well constructed first time novel. The book is first and foremost a murder mystery, one which finds itself enclosed amidst the politics and colourful ceremony of the fae world. Toby herself is a sympathetic character, one who really works hard to carve out a piece of the world for her own -- nothing comes easily to her and she struggles to do even basic things like cast a glamour. No perfect all powerful kick arse protagonists here. Toby starts out as a fittingly stubborn and judgemental person, who finds it difficult to change her mind once it's made up, yet her impressions and opinions of several of the characters experience evolution and change during the course of the novel. Allowing October to reform and revise her initial (often misguided) thoughts.
The characters that populate Toby's world are both colourful and complicated with believable relationships woven together in a complex multifaceted way. It reminded me of the Mercy Thompson series in this manner, what with the sleuthing, convoluted relationships and fantastical yet realistic gritty tone. I can't wait to see some of the secondary characters become further fleshed out later in the series; I liked the Luidaeg the Sea Witch, Connor the Selkie, Lily the dainty yet strong Japanese Undine and particularly loved Tybalt, the King of Cats (a Cait Sidhe). Tybalt was my favourite character in the book; mischievous with a languid, almost lazy feline quality to him -- he's a pureblood that hates half-breeds. Despite his prejudice he's oddly honourable and funny. It's clear his issues with Toby are more complicated than just simple loathing.
I loved all the little touches in the novel: for instance, when Toby was charming someone into seeing money where there was only mushrooms she would say a little nursery rhyme to activate the magic, and the rhymes the fae spoke when making an oath were lovely. Even the swearing was fae themed! There was an Alice in Wonderland feel to things in places, with looking glasses, red roses and moving doorways. There was a tangible sense of magic to the proceedings. I would certainly love a Rose Goblin for my very own, they were extremely cute!
The world building is excellent. The author has clearly given a lot of thought as to how the fae world would realistically intertwine and blend with the modern-human one. I'm a huge admirer of Celtic mythology, folklore and fairytales so the clever use of Selkies, Kelpies, Sidhe and the like was very welcome to a genre grappling with the sheer amount of vampires and werewolves. While the primary murder mystery is resolved within Rosemary and Rue there's still numerous and tantalising plot threads left hanging -- what happened to Raysel and Luna when they went missing for years? Will Toby ever be reunited with Gillian and Cliff? What will happen with the Luidaeg? What did Toby do to earn Tybalt's hatred? I'm excited to see all these questions answered. There's also a nice sneak peak of the next book in the back of this one.
Highly recommended! I can't wait until the next book, which I've pre-ordered. A Local Habitation (October Daye)