Rosemary and Rue ( October Daye novel #1 )
August 4, 2016 3:16 AM - by Seanan McGuire - Subscribe

Rosemary and Rue is a modern urban fantasy set in both San Francisco and the Faerie Kingdom of the Mists which overlays Northern California. It was released in North America by DAW Books on September 1st, 2009, and has been translated into German, French, and Russian.

From the official site:

October "Toby" Daye is a former street kid and half-breed Daoine Sidhe who's practically made a career out of running away from things. She was raised in the Summerlands, last of the true fae realms, only to flee to the mortal world when she was a teenager, looking for a life she could call her own. For a while, it looked like she might even succeed. She found a place in the service of a local Duke, earned her position as a knight errant, fell in love, and thought the running was over.

She was wrong.

All too soon, all she wanted was the opportunity to run away from everything and fade into obscurity. Unfortunately for Toby, life is rarely simple for changelings, and her own talent for complicating things makes it impossible for her to disappear into the shadows. It probably doesn't help that she attracts trouble the way that candles attract moths, or that she's somehow managed to catch the eye of some of the most powerful people in the Kingdom of the Mists...
posted by Pendragon (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When I started this book, I didn't really know what to expect. Urban Fantasy ? What's that ? Trolls in street cars ? But when I finished the book, I read all published books in a week.

This is in my opinion the weakest of the series, but a great introduction to the world of Toby Daye.

9 of a planned 13 books have been published.
posted by Pendragon at 3:23 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a great series, though it does improve and Toby gets less stupid. I can't really talk about this book without spoilers for the rest of the series, though.

(As far as I know, 13 books have been bought by DAW but the series is not necessarily complete after 13.)
posted by jeather at 3:25 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd sort of agree with this being "weakest" but literally only because the books get better and better and more mindblowing from here on in. Though this is already pretty dang good. It's a great introduction and (I can say in retrospect, vaguely hinting) really sets up things for future books. Like at some point if you continue with the series, you'll go back to this one and reread it again and have your mind blown a bit. I think this series is going to be like the Dresdenverse in that it'll be a very successful long runner with more and deeper revelations keeping readers hooked. So yeah, I recommend it to everyone!

I love this series (I'm rereading later books right now as prep for the next one coming out in a month) and I have to say that Seanan McGuire is my favorite author because I've loved almost everything I've ever read of hers. I can't say that about most authors because for some reason if I love an author's first series I end up not loving their subsequent ones--either they write in a drastically different style than what I loved (honestly, I can't get into Jim Butcher's anything else, I miss Harry's snark) or they just keep writing the exact same kind of stuff but with the file numbers rubbed off (Rob Thurman, sigh). Seanan generally keeps the same overall traits I love in her writing but can come up with different fun scenarios and characters in each different world to give you drastically different tastes. (Though to be honest, I don't love the Parasiteology series under her pen name, but that trilogy is written somewhat differently for plot reasons that mostly eliminates the style I like, and I think explains my less-love. )

Okay, back to this book. What do I love?
* The Luidaeg, my favorite in the series. She's kind of a late comer in this book (though I liked how she made a brief appearance early on), but delightfully Dread Pirate Roberts.
* Toby being forced to get back into the world she lost and then abandoned.
* Her relationship with the Torquills, especially after all the drama that went down while she was gone.
* Other things I won't spoil that you figure out later.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:48 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

This series is a guilty pleasure. I hope you'll forgive me for concentrating on the two things that bother me, one minor and one medium.

1) Actually I realize I can't tell you what the minor thing that bothers me is because this thread is only about book 1, and it has to do with her squire and I don't know what book I would have to post it in 'cause I have no idea what happened in which book.

2) The medium sized bother; I understand that "half fae knight pays her taxes and shops at Costco" wouldn't necessarily make for scintillating reading but I feel like McGuire underplays the connection Toby would have to human society and overplays her alienation. I'm not saying there wouldn't necessarily be some, but we're talking about people who watch American television to the point they quote The Simpsons or X-Files or whatever, listen to American/Canadian music, go to American movies, wear American fashion, follow American/Canadian sports, and so on and so forth. For all intents and purposes to a first approximation Toby is culturally as American as I am. But we virtually never see her interact in any significant way with that part of her identity. Like I said, sure, "Toby rants about Trump on Metafilter and then goes to the bar and drinks margaritas" can't be the focus but it would still happen.

Whew, I've never put that annoyance out there before. Feels good, man.

Gonna be hard to discuss specific plots like I said because it's hard to always remember what happened when. Does anybody else have that problem?
posted by Justinian at 7:39 PM on August 4, 2016

I also cannot remember what happens where except for the Blind Michael book which remains my favourite.

I think the reason we have Toby less connected is because she just disappeared for 15 years -- I can't remember her time spent in and out of the human world before that. But it seems very deliberate that she does not want human connections.
posted by jeather at 7:46 PM on August 4, 2016

(As far as I know, 13 books have been bought by DAW but the series is not necessarily complete after 13.)

That's correct, but Seanan has said she has an end point in mind, so I think there won't be many more books after 13.

Gonna be hard to discuss specific plots like I said because it's hard to always remember what happened when. Does anybody else have that problem?

Yes, because I read all the published books it's a bit difficult for me too. I was planning to post a new book thread each week, but maybe I should also make a total book series post ?
posted by Pendragon at 11:20 PM on August 4, 2016

A recent book was the beginning of Act Two, but it isn't clear to me if this is a two, three, or five act series. I know minor plots regularly end up getting their entire books, so the series is stretching out a bit.

(This worries me a little because her other books tend to repeat each other, and though Toby hasn't hit that yet, the longer the series drags out the higher the risk.)
posted by jeather at 5:52 AM on August 5, 2016

I believe she said book 8 was the start of Act Two.

I think a post per book is a good idea. I don't know about an overall book thread because of spoiler issues.

Justinian: okay, I think what you're trying to say is, how come Toby is cut off from pop culture? Well...honestly, she doesn't seem like the sort who pays attention to that sort of thing. Usually she's pretty busy working, I somehow doubt she has a whole lot of downtime except on laundry day. Plus maybe some faeries just don't care about Netflixing and chilling. Plus when you missed fourteen years of pop culture...maybe she hasn't felt like Steve Rogers did about trying to catch up on what she missed. Anyway, I suspect some faeries, Toby being one of them, are old enough to not really care or pay attention to human world all that much beyond knowing where to shop. She doesn't hang out with normal humans at all since losing her fiance and daughter either.

I think the author tends to use pop culture references in her other books more because those folks are more engaged with the world around them and aren't skipping off through the Shadow Realms and knowes and the like. I suspect younger folks like say, Quentin and Raj, pay more attention to those things. (I'm rereading The Winter Long and there's a conversation between Raj and Chelsea in which Raj does know what she's talking about.)

(Actually, what really bothers me about pop culture and SF is that Harry Dresden, a guy who literally can't Netflix and chill or even watch a TV in his home without it blowing up, knows about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Evil Overlord List. HOW? I think I read some quote by the author saying that Harry could watch TV if he stood outside a electronics store watching them through the window, but I don't think you can get through all that much TV that way. Likewise I guess someone could have printed him the Evil Overlord List, but Harry should not be as down with that stuff as he is.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:36 PM on August 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Luidaeg is my favourite too, but I'm still not sure how you pronounce her name.

( I'm not going to do an overall book thread, it would just be confusing when new books come out. Maybe when the series has ended. )
posted by Pendragon at 1:29 AM on August 6, 2016

There's a pronunciation guide at the beginning of the books. It's "Lou-sha-k."

That said, holy bejeezus do I hate Celtic/Irish spelling and pronunciation. Nothing is even close to how it's spelled!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Anyway, I suspect some faeries, Toby being one of them, are old enough to not really care or pay attention to human world all that much beyond knowing where to shop.

Yes, this. I tend to think of Toby as about 30 or so but I think she's actually in her 50s. Her birth year gets mentioned early on and I remember it surprised me (she's older than me and I was born in '68.) Being a faerie and being a fish for 14 years has kept her looking younger I suspect, but she doesn't have time for much outside of working and trying not to get killed most days.

I'm here for the Luidaeg fandom!
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Toby was born in the 40's...44? I forget.

Without getting into too much in the way of spoiling, while I was rereading A Red-Rose Chain a character makes a few pop culture jokes and they whiz over Toby's head, along with everyone else's heads. I think her pop culture knowledge stopped in the 80's (note that she listens to 80's music and named her cats Cagney and Lacey).
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:33 PM on August 10, 2016

Toby was born in october 1952, and had the Changeling's Choice at age seven, so that would be 1959/1960.
posted by Pendragon at 11:34 PM on August 10, 2016

Came for the Luidaeg Love , and the rose goblin, and the feeling that Seanan McGuire is paying very close attention to some Disney Princess tropes.
I do love the writing style. Both as Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire, she paints a vivid nuanced world. The characters have their own points of view, which often evolve into something entirely different as each series continues.
Occasionally the fates of characters are tattooed on their foreheads, but even then the journey is worth the price of admission.
Note: be prepared to reread previous books in the October Daye series for hidden long-game clues.

One thing that does get on my nerves is the reoccurring theme of Toby's greatest weakness. Want to trigger her "jump now, ask questions later" impulse? Whether it's thinly-disguised substitutes or the inclusion of the real thing halfway through a book, this knee-jerk reaction is getting monotonous.

Goodreads has the series up to 17 books. Toby and company still have a ways to go, and I hope McGuire does not run out of enthusiasm and also has a good editor who won't let her slide into paint-by-the-numbers complacency.
Oh, goody! Six more books in the series about other characters. BRB.
posted by TrishaU at 9:43 PM on July 5, 2019

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