Review: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

local habitationReviewed by Jen

I have to say I was pretty ambivalent about whether to continue with this series after my issues with Rosemary and Rue.  This book was an improvement over that one. It was definitely less boring. The pacing was better and the main character is better defined. But there were still some significant issues; the worst being the predictability of the story developments. (I’ll get back to that in a minute.)

This book picks up a few months after the events of the last one. Toby is a private investigator once again and has fashioned a life for herself with friends and a purpose.  Things actually seem to be going well.  She has moved on from the fish thing. No more lingering on that –or on her lost family. It’s almost like they never existed, which allowed the story to evolve, yet seemed strange after all the emphasis placed on it before.

Anyway, Sylvester has a job he needs Toby to do. His niece, January isn’t returning his calls. She lives in a volatile environment and he is worried about her, so he sends Toby to check things out, and asks her to take young Quentin along for some real-world experience. When they arrive, they discover Jan has an odd family of co-workers who are obviously hiding something. Quickly, we learn that members of their team are mysteriously dying and Toby takes on the responsibility to figure out who is doing it and why.

This book is a lot more cohesive than its predecessor. The mystery is pretty straightforward, but you will figure out 90% of it from the beginning. (Possible spoilers ahead.) Like the mysterious Alex who is sexy to Toby and repels the men… and Terrie who has the exact same scar and the exact same eyes –who is attractive to men and bothers woman.  Toby and Alex who are never seen at the same time.  (*eye roll*) If you don’t figure out their secret by the 25% mark, you aren’t actually reading the same book I did.

Then, there is January’s daughter April whose spirit lives in a computer, who doesn’t really understand humanity. Go with me here, her thoughts and mind were transplanted into the computer.  And did I mention that all the dead bodies are robbed of the memories in their blood? Oh and no calls work from inside the building to Sylvester?  Part of me is afraid I am spoiling the whole mystery for you, but the book really does that on its own.  I kept waiting for some big twist that never came.  So maybe the spoiler is that the book is exactly what it seems. (*Leaving spoiler zone*)

There are some good things going on. I really like the growing friendship between Toby and Quentin.  I’m interested in what’s going on with Connor and the repercussions that her lingering feelings for him will have in her dealings with his uber-crazy wife. And then there is Tybalt, who is still probably the best thing this series has going for it. I want more Tybalt. I want Tybalt and Toby.  But is it worth it to wade through the disappointing parts of storytelling to get there?  I’m not sure.

This book is better, but this series isn’t hitting it’s stride. At least not yet.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Local Habitation
by Seanan McGuire
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Publisher: DAW

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