The Flooze's Reviews > Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
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Apr 25, 10

bookshelves: urban-fantasy-paranormal, owned, vanquished_2010, glutton_for_punishment
Read from April 15 to 25, 2010, read count: 1

ETA: I've continued reading this series and want to point out I gave books four and five considerably higher ratings. Four stars each.
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I can't make up my mind what to rate this. The unforgiving and frustrated side of me wants to saddle it with a two. The part of me that loves depictions of the fae, their powers and lands leans towards a three for effort.

My problem with Rosemary and Rue is this: Nothing really happens.

Sure, there’s a lot of running around. Bullets fly through the air, illusions and curses complicate things, and there’s a mystery to solve. However, the majority of the story concentrates on Toby getting repeatedly wounded, swallowing down the taste of blood and roses as she ineffectually seeks a murderer.

There were a lot of stitches, poultices and headaches. There weren’t many clues to untangle. The answers were found through a taste-test that could have happened 100 pages earlier, saving Toby some scars and me some boredom.

McGuire’s foundation for the story intrigued me. A PI changeling spends 14 years in a koi pond, forgetting she was ever bipedal and losing everything in the process. Her husband and daughter think she willingly abandoned them, human society declared her dead and gone, and her own guilt over a failed mission prevents her from reconnecting with her fae contacts. She’s afloat in a world that has moved on without her. She’s barely making ends meet and desperately feigning indifference.

That’s where the interest ends. Toby stumbles through this investigation. Apart from an early trip to the victim’s offices, I never felt there was a trail to follow. The plot consisted of go here, get shot at, go there, get shot at, go home, get shot at…and no, I’m not exaggerating for effect. What began as a noir-ish escapade devolved into half-assed ideas and miles of blood-soaked bandages.

The curse she’s under didn’t help matters. It seemed more a hindrance than a motivation. I didn’t feel its urgency as keenly as I was supposed to. It would threaten Toby at the oddest of times, seeming to prefer holding her back rather than allowing her to fulfill her task. I don’t like illogical plot points, and this was a major one.

As for the protagonist, I don’t dislike Toby. I don’t feel much of anything for her. She’s very middle-of-the-road. She’s not clever, nor is she kick-ass or powerful. She’s sarcastic, but falls just shy of amusing. I felt no connection to her. The other characters land in the same category. None of them are standouts, with the possible exceptions of Tybalt and a few teenagers--they at least had some oomph to them as well as definable personalities.

McGuire throws in a lot of nods to the past and to future story arcs, which is expected in the first novel of any series. Some could be compelling if handled correctly. Most notable is the original mystery Toby investigated--the one that resulted in her swimming around a pond for 14 years. I understand if McGuire wanted to acclimate us before exploring what came before; Toby’s return took a lot out of her and her adjustment hasn’t gone smoothly. However, Rosemary and Rue drained away most of my interest in the past. I’m not eager to follow Toby through another muddle of unhappy coincidences. I like heroines who use their wits to solve things. I need a build-up of tension and adrenaline to keep me riveted. I enjoy strong characters who leap off the page and hold me by the hand…or by the throat. October Daye’s method of blindly hurtling through shadows until she conveniently trips over answers lacks all of that.

Perhaps I’m being harsher than necessary. Lately, I’ve read one disappointing book after another and it’s taking a toll. I’d expected to find a new favorite in October. Instead, I discovered a whole lot of meh that I’m not eager to return to anytime soon.
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Reading Progress

04/15/2010 page 1
0.29% "I hear there's a delicious man in here...and a good story, of course." 142 comments
04/20/2010 page 140
40.46% "She says Tybalt hates her. Misinterpretation? His teasing doesn't strike me as hate-filled." 25 comments
04/25/2010 page 275
79.48% "I'm kinda bored."

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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The Holy Terror Great review! I liked this one better than the second but only marginally so. I honestly forgot about a lot of what happened in this one, it was kind of forgettable.


The Flooze Thank you, my dear. I think if she went into what happened to Luna and Raysel, that would be more interesting. I suppose she's holding off on that and making it an underlying mystery?

If someone stole 14 years of your life, wouldn't you be pissed? She mentions at the end that she'll find Simon at some point, but why isn't it a driving force? In the next book, does she get more info from Sylvester about Simon and Oleander?


Vered And down it goes...

You definitely deserve a new love :)


The Holy Terror Nope. Simon gets a brief mention but only for Sylvester to say "I have no brother." And I forgot about Oleander, who isn't even mentioned at all. Raysel is all but forgotten except when Toby's macking on Connor, and Luna is only around long enough to yell at Toby to eat.

And it's not even hinted at that the next book will get into that mystery either, it's possible the third book will get into the whole thing with her crazy mother.

Another reviewer also mentioned that it was unbelievable how Toby's husband (he was her husband, or just fiancee? I can't remember) and her daughter wanted nothing to do with her. I don't know, if I disappeared for no reason and then came back I'd hope that my family would at least want to know what happened. Even though she can't explain everything the fact that they're not even important to the overall story was really strange.


The Flooze Vered wrote: "And down it goes...

You definitely deserve a new love :)"


I do, gosh darn it!

::stomping foot::


The Flooze Shannon wrote: "Nope. Simon gets a brief mention but only for Sylvester to say "I have no brother." And I forgot about Oleander, who isn't even mentioned at all. Raysel is all but forgotten except when Toby's mack..."

Whaaaat? Those are the only aspects keeping me intrigued! Has she absolutely no desire for vengeance?!

You're right about the family. (He was her fiancee. Devin made her promise not to marry until Gilly would be way past the possibility of the Changeling's Choice.) It seemed bizarre to me. There are a lot of holes where they are concerned. I just read it, and all I can recall is she wrote them some letters. Are we to presume they rejected her because of her flimsy explanations for where she'd been? I dunno. And I've a hard time desiring a love interest for her knowing she's got an almost-hubby and a child bopping about out there.


The Holy Terror Yeah, I know. There's a lot of holes. We're supposed to assume that they wanted nothing to do with her because she couldn't explain where she'd been. Seems flimsy at best. And for some reason she doesn't seem to care about going after Simon at all. Not like she could do anything to him anyway. She's pretty lame.


The Flooze Lol. I don't mind heroines who aren't kick ass but, good heavens, make them clever if that's the case! Give them some reason for being the center of the action.

Do you at least find out what she did to get knighted?


Sandra Hmmm, didn't like it, eh? I liked it. But have forgotten most of it. So maybe I was just in a charitable mood because the writing is competent and the dialogue is good?


The Holy Terror The Flooze (Michelle M.) wrote: "Lol. I don't mind heroines who aren't kick ass but, good heavens, make them clever if that's the case! Give them some reason for being the center of the action."

I think the thing is the heroine has to have some sort of redeeming quality: either she's strong, funny, or smart or some combination of the three (like Kate, ::swoon::) but Toby has nothing going for her really.

"Do you at least find out what she did to get knighted?"

No.


The Holy Terror Sandra wrote: "Hmmm, didn't like it, eh? I liked it. But have forgotten most of it. So maybe I was just in a charitable mood because the writing is competent and the dialogue is good?"

I think that's exactly what happened to me.


The Flooze Most of us have crushes on Kate. She's all that and a bag o'chips.

It's true that the writing is technically fine, the creatures are interesting, and I liked the way the different holdings in Faerie are depicted (tons of little fiefdoms scattered around the parks). But, oh, the plot.

How about this: Any more mention of the looney toons Queen?


The Holy Terror She's mentioned, barely.


The Flooze Oye vey iz meer.


Vered Ooh I just love it when you speak Yiddish, just so sexy!


Ariana Awwwwwwwwww shucks. It doesn't really surprise me that you didn't like it, I'm still glad you read it though :D

I guess nothing compares to Kate.

But I did like that Toby wasn't completely kick ass like most of the female leads nowadays :)


The Flooze Ariana wrote: "Awwwwwwwwww shucks. It doesn't really surprise me that you didn't like it, I'm still glad you read it though..."

I was wondering when you'd pop in!

I usually prefer the non-kick-ass ones, but they have to be smart cookies for me to believe they can stay alive in the ruthless worlds depicted in UF. Toby seems to survive by pure dumb luck!

You were right about one thing: I did find Tybalt intriguing!


Ariana :D

Yeah I'll admit that without Tybalt it wouldn't have been good. Even though I liked the book I can acknowledge that the story doesn't develop too much, but it's the first book in the series so I have high hopes for it.

Not as much as Barrons though. ..mmmm...


The Flooze Oh, this Barrons.


Ariana You know you love it!

Btw, my partner liked Grimspace :)


The Flooze Oooo! Yay! :)


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