Changeling October Daye was living a mortal life with her human husband and daughter when she was turned into a koi carp, destined to live out her life in the Tea Garden of Golden Gate Park. 14 years later, she miraculously transforms back into her old self, but the rest of the world has moved on. Her family has mourned her and refuse to take her back. In turn, Toby has turned her back on the fae world, until she receives a series of voicemail messages from the Countess of Goldengreen, Evening. In her final moments, the pureblood had reached out to Toby and when she didn’t answer she bound her. Toby must find out who murdered the woman who was the closest she had to a friend or face death herself.
I was warned by several trustworthy sources that this series takes a while to get going. There is an info-dump approach to world-building, lots of paragraphs throwing information about the fae at you and somewhat breaking up the flow of the story. Sometimes the snippets of back-story made me feel there should be other books prior to Rosemary and Rue (there aren’t). I think if you weren’t used to the mythology of fae, you might struggle to pick up on everything. However, I am writing this having read several other books and it gets so much better. Your patience will be rewarded!
However the story really picks up in the second half and settles into the sort of urban fantasy mystery the series promises to be. I am really fond of novel featuring the fae as something to be wary of, with a mix of different races and prejudices; weird creatures lurking in the shadows. I think this series has potential to deliver a fantastic split-world between reality (San Francisco) and the Summerlands (the world beyond the veil). Devin’s whole set-up seemed really dodgy and I’m not sure there was enough supporting information to really grasp Toby’s ambivalent feelings. It sounded like he was a changeling pimp but this was never made clear, perhaps he just used the poor teens in his “care”.
I instantly loved Tybalt, the King of Cats. A Cait Sidhe who is cat-like even in his humanoid form but a grouchy tabby in his other. He probably has the least amount of back-story and I do think the lack of over-description adds to his mystique. Some of the other characters are a bit obvious (Connor) and you know I like the bad boys (even though we know they must be redeemable). There’s not really an emphasis on romance (nor sex, I don’t think there was any) but this makes any little interactions between characters all the more effective.
The books all come with a pronunciation guide, which is useful if you’re unfamiliar with the traditional fae names, however I think some of the words are a little obvious! All the titles come from Shakespearean quotes, and I think the relevant plays are connected in small ways. I promise this series gets better (further reviews to follow soon).
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