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Book Review: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

Title: A Local Habitation

Author: Seanan McGuire

Series: October Daye #2

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Overview: October “Toby” Daye is a changeling, the daughter of Amandine of the fae and a mortal man. Like her mother, she is gifted in blood magic, able to read what has happened to a person through a mere taste of blood. Toby is the only changeling who has earned knighthood, and she re-earns that position every day, undertaking assignments for her liege, Sylvester, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills. Now Sylvester has asked her to go to the County of Tamed Lightning—otherwise known as Fremont, CA—to make sure that all is well with his niece, Countess January O’Leary, whom he has not been able to contact. It seems like a simple enough assignment—but when dealing with the realm of Faerie nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Toby soon discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, whose domain is a buffer between Sylvester’s realm and a scheming rival duchy. If Toby can’t find the killer soon, she may well become the next victim. -Goodreads

The Review:

I’m going to need some encouragement to keep reading this series.

I really want to like it, but I’m struggling. The first book was a bit mediocre (something I don’t hold against introductory UF novels), but had a lot of promise. I was expecting this second book to show some improvements, but ended up liking it less.

First off, the storyline didn’t have anything to do with what happened in the first novel. October was sent off on a tangent mission that, from my initial impression, had absolutely nothing to do with the main trajectory of the series. It lost the sense of momentum I was hoping it would nurture.

A tangent in itself wouldn’t have necessarily been a bad thing, but unfortunately I thought it was an incredibly boring tangent. Mostly due to its predictability.

If I, as the reader, have exactly the same amount of information as the main POV character, I should NOT be able to reason out who the killer is almost half a novel before said character figures it out for herself. The mystery was excruciating long-winded. I even accidentally skipped ahead several chapters and, after flipping back, realized I hadn’t missed much at all. And to make matters worse, there were multiple things the character remained oblivious about for the sake of plot extension, which did not endear me to her sustainability as a leading lady.

BUT… I still don’t absolutely hate it. I like October’s general personality and am really interested in all of the side characters. I like the framework for the world. And I like the small ideas throughout that set this series slightly apart from all the other UFs I’ve read. I think that’s why I’m willing to field conversations to convince me to keep reading. After all, I almost abandoned Kate Daniels at the first book, and now I’m an IA superfan. Series turnarounds happen, especially within the first few books.

Series status: I have the third book already and am planning to read it. However, I don’t have access to free copies from my library for the rest of the series, so it’s going to take some serious persuasion to get me to invest almost $10 per book going forward. I’m hoping for some spoiler-free endorsements from all my fellow UF addicts. :)

Recommendations: at this point, I’m the one looking for recommendations on whether or not this series is worth continuing. So far the first book was mediocre and this one was an even bigger let down… but both offer enough promise to keep me from abandoning it outright. Please help. :)

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by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Title: Rosemary and Rue

Author: Seanan McGuire

Series: October Daye #1

Genre: Urban Fanrasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer. -Goodreads

The Review:

Okay, there weren’t a lot of remarkable things about this first installment, but I’ve tried enough urban fantasy series to not let a slow start scare me off (ahem… Kate Daniels). That said, there were enough good things about it to give me hope for what’s to come.

Truth be told, I’m just so excited to be finally starting a new UF series that I’m willing to overlook a slow start. The book focused a little too much on character introductions and info dumps (so many info dumps). But there were also some great interactions and exciting conflict scenes. So now that all the setup is out of the way, I’m hoping the next book will provide some momentum.

Right off the bat, I liked the main character. She’s a changeling, and that variety of non-human dynamic is what set the story apart. Most UF characters straddle two worlds, but her particular situation was really interesting and so far it’s the selling point of the series. And her backstory! There’s a fantastic underlaying plot to the whole book that had me instantly hooked within the first ten pages. It set up a character who was capable, but more or less starting at rock bottom, and that’s oddly compelling.

My biggest criticism at this point (other than pacing) is that most of the side characters came off a bit caricature, so I’m definitely hoping for more duality and depth going forward. Other than that, everything else was quality.

Recommendations: Rosemary and Rue was a slow start to the series, but with a lot of promise. At this point, I’d still hand you some of my other favorites first (Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison) because I can attest to their momentum, but let’s keep an eye on this one – I have a feeling (and some endorsements) that say(s) it’s going to get good.

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by Niki Hawkes