Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire is the first book in the ten book October Daye series. Don’t let its label as an urban/paranormal fantasy novel discourage you; this book has appeal for all readers.
The fantasy classification comes from the supernatural nature of most of the characters. October “Toby” Daye is a Changeling- half human/ half faerie. Most of the supporting characters also have some degree of fae blood as well. Throughout the series, the author splits the action between modern-day San Francisco and the various lands of the faerie realms.
The book is written in a first-person narrative and begins with a prologue that sets the stage for October’s betrayal by two members of local faerie royalty and her transformation into a fish. The story resumes fourteen years later with Toby working as a checker in the local Safeway. Her attempt to distance herself from the faerie world fails when Countess Evening Winterose, her sometime friend, sometime enemy calls and begs her for help. October rushes to Evening’s home and finds her shot with an iron bullet. Bound by guilt and duty October decides to investigate. Unfortunately, to do this, she must step back into her role as,
“Sir October Daye of the Kingdom of the Mists, once of the Fiefdom of Home, Knight of Lost Words, sworn to Sylvester Torquill, daughter of Amandine of Faerie and Jonathan Daye of the mortal world.”
Because this is the first book in a series, the author needed to provide a significant amount of character introduction and exposition for the reader. October’s mission is the vehicle for this, although it slows down the story at times. The payoff comes as the series progresses and many of the characters she speaks to during her investigation appear in later books.
October as a narrator is sarcastic but sincere. She reminds me of Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s Alphabet series and Izzy Spellman from Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files series. Rosemary and Rue is a fun, quick read that will be easy to finish in a few sessions.