Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Indexing (Indexing, #1)” as Want to Read:
Indexing (Indexing, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(Indexing #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,558 ratings  ·  845 reviews
“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice...especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narrativ
Paperback, 404 pages
Published January 21st 2014 by 47North (first published May 21st 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Indexing, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tria Yes, there is a sequel scheduled, and it'll be on the same sort of model (released chapter by chapter for Kindle, since Indexing was originally commis…moreYes, there is a sequel scheduled, and it'll be on the same sort of model (released chapter by chapter for Kindle, since Indexing was originally commissioned for the Kindle Serials Program), and is due for release bit by bit sometime this year (2015), though it's not yet available for pre-order. (source)(less)
Nicole A little. This book does not go into the romance much, though. It's not the main focus of the book.…moreA little. This book does not go into the romance much, though. It's not the main focus of the book.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,558 ratings  ·  845 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Indexing (Indexing, #1)
At the end of the day, McGuire needs to stop turning in first drafts. Either that, or hire a new editor, because the one she has is about as rigorous as a kindergarten teacher (I hesitate to say first grade, because I know how Mrs. Bauman was about penmanship back in the day).

It could also be that I like my lines neatly drawn; a book is a novel, and a serial story is something read in short installments, allowing time and life to fuzz details between episodes. Books are not tv series, and tv te
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Actual rating: 2.5

"'Once upon a fuck, you people,' I muttered."

Indexing is like the X-Files, if the X-Files were about fairy tales instead of aliens and monsters, without the underlying Mulder/Scully sexual tension between the agents. It's the premise of a thousand other TV shows, comic books, and movies. A secret government agencies designed to keep people in the real world in the dark about what's really going on.

The agency in question here is the ATI Management Bureau, ATI being short for Aa
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Indexing was first released as a Kindle Serial and was a bi-weekly mini-party every Tuesday considering how eagerly I awaited the latest installment. The first episode is epic and I can’t even begin to express my love for it. The introduction to this fairy-tale world was perfection. It got a full 5 stars from me and set the bar extremely high for the subsequent stories. This fairy tale world was extremely similar in scope to the graphic novel series ‘Fables’ but in compa
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
4.5 stars
Bloggers and journalists have discussed at length the sudden popularity of serial novels, and not succeeded in finding a reason for it. Serial novels have a long tradition, but for a time it seemed that they were almost forgotten. Dating all the way from 19th century, they played a monumental part in creating the so called popular literature. In other words, they helped books find their place in popular culture.

From what I've been able to find out, Penguin and St. Martin's in particular

3.5 stars
(Full review on my blog and on my BL page)

With a little more character development, and a little less repetition _ this was originally written as a serialized novel which explains that "problem" _ this would have been even better.
However, this has a great concept and I particularly liked the last "episodes" : especially the one in which Henry's brother appears. Great twist on the Red Rose story.
Sloane managed to be my favourite character: I loved her brutal honesty... even if it does bo
Roxana Chirilă
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
The more I think of this book, the more annoyed with it I get. It isn't bad in itself, but it left me with an aftertaste of wasted opportunities and rushed writing.

The core concept is solid: fairy tales are sort of real. They impose themselves onto reality and try to twist it, hoping to get reenacted. Unfortunately, they sometimes fail, and then you have Sleeping Beauties entering comas and dying before their prince ever gets to them (and taking entire villages with them), or Snow Whites poisone
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Where “once upon a time” doesn’t lead to “happily ever after”

Fairy tales are real! And that’s not a good thing. Do we really want whole towns falling asleep for 100 years because a Sleeping Beauty’s story has gone active? In this book fairy tales are like a constantly mutating force of nature that’s trying to manifest in our “real” world, so of course there's a secret government agency, the ATI Management Bureau, whose agents spend their time running between potential story disasters in the stru
There are fairy tale princesses living amongst us. They don't know it and lead normal lives until one day the narrative pushes them over the edge and they snap. Then unless they find their prince quickly, people will die.

It's Henrietta's job to head off fairy tale incursions before any serious damage is done and lives are lost. She's a Snow White with serious attitude and she's helped by Sloane, a wicked step-sister who is in a constant battle with her inner-homicidal maniac who wants to murder
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karishma by: Elena C.
Shelves: read-before-2020
Thank you Elena for reading this or I would never have known about this gem.

I would highly recommend this to anybody who likes fairy tales!

In the middle of reading so many fairy tale retellings, this was something so different and exciting.

All the fairy tales are true, there are many people who are dormant fairy tale characters just waiting to go active and there is a government department which works to control these outbreaks.

Some points which I think will enhance the experience of anyone read
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, what a great concept taking The Aarne–Thompson Index, a catalogue of folktale types used in folklore studies, as the bases of a procedural index used by a special unit dealing with narrative incursions. Henry, short for Henrietta Marchen, is a Snow White type and also a leader of this special unit who must stop fairy tales from disrupting the fabric of our world. She is a tough cookie with a tongue in cheek attitude and a lot of sass. Another sassy character is Sloane the wicked st ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Here's the deal. All the fairy tales are true. The essential elements keep repeating, trying to gain a foothold in present day. Thus, there might be 'a major beanstalk incident in Detroit, a gingerbread condo development in San Francisco', or an airborne Sleeping Beauty virus gone rampant.

Time for the ATI management team to step in. They fight fairy tales for a living. Clearly, the stories are morphing into their own variations on the theme and causing all kinds of havoc. This makes the job mor
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
I really liked reading this book, although I think I could have done without all the "potty mouth." This really felt more like a summer read.

And yes I know she is also Mira Grant. But I like her writing as Seanan McGuire. what can I say, I'm fickle.
It occurs to me as I sit down to proclaim Indexing’s awesomeness to the world that I have yet to write my review for the most recent October Daye installment…in the meantime let me leave you with one word: TYBALT. ’Nough said.

If there was anything other than Gatsby Porn (recorded on audio by Mary Rubinette Kowal–people, IT’S COMING

[Yeah I just put a gif in parentheses. The situation called for Pam. What of it?]) that could prove to me once and for all that my love for Seanan McGuire is going to
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
2013: 4.5 stars
2016: 3.5 stars

I’m not so sure what it was I had liked about this so much the first time I read it. I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s just not that great either. The world building is where this story excels. Fairy tales are real. They can control people’s lives and dictate what they do. Most people don’t know fairy tales are real. They can be dangerous. To protect people, the ATI Bureau tries to prevent fairy tales from happening.

This was written as a serial, so it wasn’t as cohes
3.5 stars. Good contemporary fantasy about the ATI Management Bureau, an agency devoted to keeping fairy tale narratives from gaining power and warping reality. First person narrator and ATI team leader Henrietta Marchen is herself a Snow White in abeyance. (Maybe it was just me, but I definitely wondered if this story was inspired by the Thursday Next novels of Jasper Fforde.) ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed

I recommend that you read this book in print because the story did not translate well to audio. Usually, I like Mary Robinette Kowal's narration but this one was a hit & miss. She doesn't have a lot of variety for her voices and there's a cast of five that talk a lot in this book. The first quarter of the book dumps a lot of jargon that sounds like wanna-be cop talk noise until it's explained. It takes a little while.

I'm surprised because I felt like this book was missing a lot of i
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars, I liked this but not as much as Velveteen vs series. The incredible world building of the author is fully displayed but for me the characters just weren't as compelling. I have to say I started out hating Sloane, but she in time grew on me. Now onto book 2. ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, fantasy
This was a waste of a really fun premise, for the most part. When I got it, I wasn't aware of the fact that it had been initially published as a Kindle serial, and I don't know if there was any editing before the whole thing was released, but I suspect not. Not just because it could still have used so much editing, but more seriously, I don't think it would have been possible to fix the problems with tweaking, as it needs major overhauling.

I don't really feel inclined to spend much time explain
Sep 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am generally not a fan of urban fantasy, but the idea of fairy tales struggling to play out in the modern world was kind of intriguing. I like the idea of narrative force and fairy tales manifesting themselves differently in order to survive. However, this book had a number of problems....

But first, the good things. McGuire has a pretty great concept. The modern manifestations-Sleeping Beauty as patient zero with a super contagious sleeping sickness, for example- are pretty brilliant. McGuire
2.5 stars.

Amusing and quirky at the beginning but quickly devolved into a repetitive, cliched narrative. Bit of a one-trick pony with the trick recycled repeatedly. The more you delve into the story, the more you realize there isn't more to the plot than the surface premise. To prevent it from being more of a parody or a farcical tale, social themes were injected. Unfortunately, the injection felt abrupt, contrived and forced, seemingly proceeding more out of a determined and premeditated plan t
Henry has a bunch of problems and it isn't just the bluebirds that commit suicide by crashing into her bedroom window. She works at making sure the narrative of fairy tales stays out of the real world without killing too many people. She also is a Snow White in waiting.

McGuire's novel, at first a serial, details the various crimes that Henry and Co have to deal with. Henry's group is pretty spot on and includes Sloane, an evil step-sister. Sloane, quite frankly, is the best creature in the whol
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Review also available at SFFaudio

As the author of both the October Day series and, under the pseudonym Mira Grant, the Newsflesh trilogy, Seanan McGuire is no stranger to writing urban fantasy. But, as you may have deduced from the blurb, Indexing is not your run-of-the-mill hot vampire-on-werewolf ménage-a-trois urban fantasy. Instead, it’s populated with fairy tales. Here be Pied Pipers, Frog Princes, and Mother Gooses (Geese?) in spades. In the moribund desertscape of urban fantasy, Indexing
Christine PNW
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I actually liked it. I bought it very cheap, though, and I enjoyed it enough that I'll read the second one. ...more
Erin (PT)
As a serial, I adored Indexing, though I am kind of curious as to how it will hold up as a single story when I go back and, inevitably, reread it. In my initial read, the first several chapters were a little bogged by McGuire re-introducing the characters in every chapter and, though I knew where I was in the story because I knew there were twelve parts to the story, I'm not sure that—by story alone—I would've known as clearly that, okay, this is the middle of the book, okay, now we're starting ...more
Indexing started its life as a Kindle serial, and it worked well read that way, with most of the chapters being self-contained. Main character Henrietta (a.k.a. Henry) and her teammates deal with fairy-tale crises in their city, and the reader is given a rising note at the end of each installment that makes them look forward to the next one. Maybe it worked too well as a serial, since I found it tedious when taken more than one chapter at a time.

Since I read Discount Armageddon earlier this year
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I grabbed Indexing because it was a recommended book that I should enjoy and enjoy it I did.

The premiss is quite interesting. Fairy tales replay themselves time and time again over the centuries, without the assistance of the ATI Management Bureau the effects could be devastating to society.

Modern day fairy tale with a wicked twist.

I was completely invested in the first couple incursions but after after a few, I started to loose interest. I had really high expectations for the story but felt th
I hadn't tried any Seanan McGuire before, so picked this up when it came up as an audiobook special. The story is relatively light in tone, even as it emphasises the darkness of the fairytales that are the core of this world.

The story revolves around a government agency dedicated to preventing the driving narrative of fairytales from attaching itself to people and forcing them into the roles and plot events of the story. So random people are forever in danger of becoming Sleeping Beauty, or the
This was my second time reading this book and I decided to try out the audio this time. Despite still loving the story in general, I would definitely recommend reading it instead of listening. I did not care for the narrator's voice at all and I felt like she made a lot of the female characters sound very whiny or air-headed a lot of the time [not to mention that her male character voice was just ridiculous]. Sloane's voice in particular was just baffling to me because her persona is basically ' ...more
Morgan Hazelwood
When fairy tale archetypes want to play out, you better hope someone's around to cut down on the casualties.

That's where Henrietta Marchen and her team at the ATI Management Bureau kicks in.

Henry is a 709 (Snow White), Sloane Winter is a Wicked Stepsister, James is a cobbler-elf, and Andy is a normal mortal who lost his brother when a Sleeping Beauty put a town to sleep before she starved to death.

When the team triggers a non-manifested Pied Piper named Dani to help prevent the spread of a new s
Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lduh
Structured much like a TV crime procedural, it starts off with a monster-of-the-week plus a bit of an overarching plot that gradually takes over as the Big Bad is revealed. I enjoyed it, finding the vibe at the midpoint between Seanan's two major series, October Daye and InCryptid. I hope to get my hands on a copy of the sequel at some point. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Final Girls
  • Kingdom of Needle and Bone
  • Over the Woodward Wall (The Up-and-Under, #1)
  • Feedback (Newsflesh, #4)
  • In the Shadow of Spindrift House
  • Chimera (Parasitology, #3)
  • Rise: A Newsflesh Collection
  • Symbiont (Parasitology, #2)
  • The Seventh Bride
  • The Netherwell Horror
  • Parasite (Parasitology, #1)
  • Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy, #2)
  • Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3)
  • Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
  • Nevertheless, She Persisted: Flash Fiction Project
  • Splinter Universe Presents!: The Wrong Lance
  • Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #0.5)
  • Splinter Universe Presents
See similar books…
Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (, author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and

Other books in the series

Indexing (2 books)
  • Reflections (Indexing, #2)

Related Articles

Space operas, magic, destiny, dystopia, aliens: There's a bit of something for everyone in 2020's latest offerings in science fiction and...
86 likes · 23 comments
“Everyone thinks of them in terms of poisoned apples and glass coffins, and forgets that they represent girls who walked into dark forests and remade them into their own reflections.” 60 likes
“Clichés are relatives of the fairy tale, and tropes aren’t bad; they go with the territory.” 17 likes
More quotes…