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.
This was a recent book club pick, and while many (most) of the books that have been picked for the 1st half of this year elicited an underwhelming amount of excitement, I was at least moderately looking forward to this one: they almost always let me down, but I can't keep myself from reading about faeries.
This one, unfortunately, was not an exception to that rule. I missed the first part of the book club meeting, but from what I did see, it seemed that the disappointment was pretty universal. I think part of this was that it suffered from First Novel Syndrome. There was A LOT of repetition and useless blahdeeblah that just irritated me to no end, and showed McGuire's immaturity as a writer <-- not uncommon in a first book. There were kinks and pet peeves that just needed to be worked out, and mistakes and awkward style that just come with the business of writing when you're still trying to find your style. I found myself skimming l a r g e sections of the book, just wanting her to get on with it, already.
But perhaps the biggest turn off for me -- and I shouldn't have been surprised -- was the noir style. I'm not generally a fan of noir to begin with, and this just seemed to really drive that home to me. Everything I don't like about noir -- the endless talk, the posturing, the ceaseless introduction of new characters who may or may not be shady, and the inane conclusion-jumping coupled with the ability to overlook the obvious -- they were all present and accounted for. I felt like, were I to listen to this on audiobook, it would be narrated by a female Humphrey Bogart wannabe in a cheesy "Now look heah, seeEE?" voice. It never felt like it's own thing, but like a concept McGuire was going for + a need to play fill in the blanks. And there was SO MUCH info-dumping, and SO MUCH writing in circles, I felt like I was going to rip my hair out. And the whole time, the WHOLE TIME, I was left wanting to shake Toby and ask her, If you're supposed to be this smart, kick-ass, unusual and good detective, WHY don't you seem to understand what's going on around you?
Ugh, I could go on, there were more things that irritated me, but it's really not worth it.
It was a shame, because I saw good elements there that made me think I might want to read further in the series, but I absolutely won't until a)someone tells me McGuire's writing undergoes a serious transformation, and b)it's a really rainy day that I'm ready to throw away.
*I mean, seriously. EVERYONE in my bookclub pegged the bad guy ON THE PAGE HE WAS INTRODUCED ON. He's described as a complete creeper, make-your-skin-crawl jackass that TOOK ADVANTAGE OF Toby when she was a kid, and STILL she doesn't suspect him?
Also, it disappoints me a little because I wanted to read Feed, but um, I just found out that it's written by McGuire using a pseudonym.
Side note: I much prefer the German cover of Rosemary and Rue --->