Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

rosemary and rueReviewed by Jen

I had a very difficult time connecting to this book. I had to fight the urge to put it down more than once, simply because I was kind of bored. The story failed to engage me until virtually the very end. I didn’t understand Toby, but what’s worse is that I just didn’t care. Part of it could be that this is the first book in a series and the author has to spend a lot of time on the intricate would-building of the Fae and changeling culture… part of the problem, but not all of it.

October Daye is changeling, half Fae – half human. She fits in with neither.  She tried to straddle the line, with a human fiancé and a young daughter, while working for a Fae liege. But that blew up in her face, when the case she was working went south and her mark turned her into a fish for 12 years.  As we pass the prologue, Toby has only been back on two legs for about 6 months. She has lost her family and she has turned her back on her Fae friends.  Only she is pulled back into their world when an old Fae friend is killed and she is compelled to solve the murder.

I think that compulsion did some harm to the book, because it was the driver for most of Toby’s actions. An external motivation did nothing to advance her character or make me connect to her. Yes, she is shot up and dragged through the mud, but it’s not out of loyalty or nobility, just compulsion.  It sucked for her, but it was a lost opportunity for character building.

The mystery is kind of meh. There was nothing sympathetic about the victim. She and Toby weren’t even really good friends.  Then, there is a mishmash of sort-of-but-not-really love interests and a fade to black sex scene.  Devin is skeezy and barters shelter for sex with teenagers.  Conner is married to the crazy princess and seems kind of slimy. And then there is Tybalt, who shows promise, but I am only calling him a love interest because I want him to be, not because anything actually happens.  The fiancé and kid never get any page time. They don’t want to see her and that is just that.

There just not enough meat. There is also a lot left hanging, especially when it comes to the circumstances that ruined Toby’s life. There is also a lot that is underdeveloped, like the stuff with her human family, her relationship with her mother, her friendships and so much more. It just felt very flat.

I’m going to give book two a try, just to see if this picks up any more for me.  Honestly, I am only coming back for Tybalt and the hope I got from one magically revealed memory of his. Let’s hope it pays off.

Rating: C/C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Rosemary and Rue
by Seanan McGuire
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: DAW Books



  1. You know, I felt somewhat the same after I read the first book in this series, too. I was really ambivalent about Toby and I felt really depressed at the end. But for some reason I went ahead and read the second book, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’d definitely recommend trying the second in the series before making a decision!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.