Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Makes American Fae Tick: Review Rosemary & Rue?

Picked up a new series, the October Daye novels of Seanan McGuire. Read the first one, Rosemary and Rue. McGuire blew me away. She hooked me with her Prologue, in which Daye chases a couple of villains until she gets turned into a koi in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Then, she almost lost me in the the "first" chapter, set fourteen years later, when the interesting villains disappeared. At the end, McGuire ended up gluing me to my chair until 2:30 AM for the last half of the book. Does that rate four or five stars?

One thing that bothered me: the voice changed. I kept telling myself: you'd change too if you lost fourteen years of my life as well as your marriage and daughter. By the third chapter, I was hooked again after the death of Daye's Fae frenemy and the terrible geas she faced if she didn't solve the murder. How hooked? I finished off the last part of the book by reading until 2:30 AM. Doesn't that describe hooked?

Now the question is: why? McGuire offers yet another take on Faerie, where she transports a group of them to the Bay area after the Fae royalty disappeared or got lost somewhere in the Old Country. McGuire conveys the change in reference to one of the secondary characters, a Fae named Evening. As McGuire writes:

"Most purebloods Evening's age live full-time in the Summerlands rather than dealing with the daily stresses of mortal living. ... Evening was stubborn She saw San Francisco built around her, watching it grow from a little dock town into a thriving city. Somewhere along the way, it became her home, and after that, she simply refused to leave.

"I asked her about it once. 'I prefer San Francisco,' she said. 'The lies are different here. When you've lived as long as I have, you start appreciating new approaches to dishonesty.'"

Yeah, Rosemary and Rue is written in first person from the point of view of a half-fae. What I liked best is how McGuire set up the motivations for all her characters, especially Evening's murder and the logical way Daye managed to solve the mystery.

Why bother thinking about how a book was put together?
Ruth Harris did a to-the-point blog

Yeah, another commentary on how you should be writing ... even if you're a mid-list published author. Thanks to the Passive Guy for reposting this. I need to study it. Unfortunately, Harris thinks writers should have style which makes me wonder if I'd be wasting my time. I'm definitely not couture.
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