Nerija's Reviews > Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
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bookshelves: fantasy, folklore-fairytales

Having read some low reviews of this book, I was fairly surprised at how much I enjoyed the first third or so. I really just wanted to get a better sense of McGuire's San Francisco fae-verse; I'd started with Book 5 because I didn't want to wade through the four previous stories before I got to the Undersea, but sure, some things would've made a bit more sense with a bit more background.

And Rosemary and Rue certainly didn't disappoint in that respect. I love the blend of urban/modern and wild/ancient consciousness; McGuire's fae talk of cars and cell phones, but also of a time "'[w]hen the Root and Branch were young, when the Rose still grew unplucked upon the tree…'" (pg 78). But it wasn't just that -- for the first third or so of the book, I was actually enjoying the plot, characterization and dialogue.

It was a bit weird to see the early relationship between Toby and Tybalt…I was all, Oh hey, it's Tybalt! Woah, what, when did he start hating her? Er, wait, no-- Book 1 comes before Book 5, remember? ^_^;; So...when did he go from Mean Tybalt to Nice Tybalt?...

Sure, some of October's decisions may elicit an eyebrow raise (considering her past experience, if I was Toby, I don't think I'd have gotten out of the car to inspect the sudden ominous fog up close), but it was easy to suspend my disbelief and keep enjoying the action.

[Edit: Well, except for (view spoiler)]

But anyway...

Whereas One Salt Sea took its time hooking me, Book 1 made me care right away. It made me sympathize with Toby instead of rolling my eyes at her, and then it made me want to know (view spoiler). Of course, once she introduced (view spoiler), but even then I was interested in figuring out the how and why.

And there's those lovely bits, like:

…fog is just water that's forgotten its beginnings. (pg 115)
. . .
Among the fae, the King is the land, and in Shadowed Hills, the King was mad. (pg 146)
. . .
Luna's something special. She's a goose girl in a lady's clothes when she's playing Duchess, but among the flowers, she's a Queen. (pgs. 160-161)


Then comes what I'll call the Ridiculous Interlude, roughly from Chapters 11 - 22. It starts when Connor rolls out of the patch of glass flowers, unexplainably not bleeding all over the place (I d'know, maybe his don't-get-cut magic is better than Toby's?), and they engage in pointless conversation.

"I didn't think you liked roses."
"I don't like most roses."
"But you like these roses?"
"I like these roses."

Sure, there's more exciting action scenes, but I'm having a harder time suspending my disbelief now. I'm not familiar with San Francisco's neighborhoods and bus system, so can anyone confirm whether (view spoiler) Am I being naive here?

Also, I really don't buy that Lily would (view spoiler)

And Oberon's left earlobe, the repetition. Go ahead, Toby, remind me again how much blood you've lost. And tell me again how that gunshot wound is affecting your ability to walk/think/etc. And give me another of those witty one-liners, go on -- do not pass Go, do not collect $200.


Still I push on, because at least that mystery is still intriguing enough. Finally, things pick up again. I begin to see the clues that would've tipped me off about (view spoiler) And I get to see (view spoiler)

Tl;dr, the book started off great, took some ridiculous and annoying turns in the middle, and then evened out to a relatively satisfying conclusion. That said, I'm not sure I feel like reading A Local Habitation through Late Eclipses, though I am still interested in seeing the aftermath of One Salt Sea…as long as Toby doesn't go all Bella on me.

. . . . .
My reviews of the other Toby books:

A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
One Salt Sea
Ashes of Honor
Chimes at Midnight
The Winter Long
A Red-Rose Chain
Once Broken Faith
The Brightest Fell
Night and Silence

Novellas/short stories:
In Sea-Salt Tears
Forbid the Sea

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 17, 2012 – Shelved
December 17, 2012 – Shelved as: fantasy
December 17, 2012 – Shelved as: folklore-fairytales

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