Rosemary and Rue Read-Along Week No.1

Rosemary and Rue Read-Along

This Read-Along of Rosemary and Rue was arranged by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. This book has been sitting on my TBR pile forever, and I figured now was a good time to read it along with other people! I enjoyed the last Read-Along I participated in which was for Full Fathom Five. The questions will be posted on Saturday, but I’ll be posting my responses on Sunday. If you’re interested in joining this Read-Along, visit the SF/F Read-Along group for more information and to join the discussion.

Rosemary and Rue

And oh, yes, there will be blood… er… spoilers…


Week 1: Saturday 9th January, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 16th January, Chapters 7-14, hosted by Lynn at Lynn’s Books
Week 3: Saturday 23rd January, Chapters 15-20, hosted by Anya at On Starships and Dragonwings
Week 4: Saturday 30th January, Chapters 21-End, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

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1. So, first impressions time! What do you think of the book setup, first of all? Setting, magic system, Faerie in general?

Amazing! It’s been so long since I started a new UF series because I’m always reading all these other speculative books, and UF is one of my long time favorites. This reminded me of how much I miss it. First, I’m a big fan of mythology, legends, and beliefs around the world. I was bouncing at the mention of beings like Tuatha de Danann, Water Kelpie, Cat sìth (Cait Sidhe), and Undine. Second, I always love stories where, instead of making these things commonplace in the human world, you basically have this whole magical world beneath the mundane world just waiting to be discovered. Third, learning more about faerie politics was intriguing, especially considering that changelings like Toby are regarded so lowly, but can actually be more powerful their pureblooded peers. The fine, forced, genteel song and dance the magical beings perform around one another seems fragile despite it happening for years, and I know it’ll be a matter of time before it breaks.

2. Now let’s take Toby Daye herself. We get to see some of how she’s grown up and how she fits in, or doesn’t, in the modern world as it is post-fish. What are your initial thoughts on her?

I feel for her as a woman whose lost everything and is back in a world where she doesn’t really belong to humans and she doesn’t really belong to the faeries. It’s such a fine balancing act for her. She had a husband and daughter once who haven’t seen her in fourteen years due to the curse she was under and want nothing to do with her, even though she’s reaching out and trying to make them understand. I feel her disillusionment with a magical world that she feels failed her and hates her, and now she no longer wants to have anything to do with it either. However, unlike her family, the magical world isn’t ready to be done with her. I’m rooting for her. I don’t know what will become of her and her family. Maybe it’ll never be at it once was, but I hope she’s able to at least come to a peace with them, even if it’s not in this book maybe later in the series.

3. We have yet to properly meet certain characters (Devin and Sylvester), though we’ve gotten brief intros to others (Tybalt and the Queen of the Mists)… Who stands out for you among these secondary characters, and why?

Tybalt was an asshole, but a sexy asshole. Dammit, why do these book always make me fall for the sexy asshole at least most of the time? Toby seems convinced that he has it out for her, but does he really? Devin stands out in a HUGE way because despite not seeing him in these first six chapters, her explanation of how he fits into the changeling world makes him sound both terrifying and charismatic, the type of person whose cruelty knows no bounds, but he somehow makes people still love him. I’m curious about Sylvester, too, who seems to have put much of himself on the chopping block to make sure that Toby had status that’s not typically granted to changelings. I’m also interested to see if Oleander and Simon show back up. You can’t have such an interesting pair of foils and not have them show again. The Queen of the Mist reminds me of all the queens/HBIC in things that stay so calm and cool until ONE THING triggers their trap card and they get out of control until they regain their composure. By then, though, the illusion is already broken. She made me think of the strongest vampire in St. Louis from Guilty Pleasures (the first Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter book) with how she flipped her charming switch off and then back on. And just like with the vampire queen in Anita Blake, I don’t know if to attribute her behavior to typical “I do what I want” behavior or if she has a motive.

4. Toby has a murder mystery to solve. Any initial thoughts on the whodunit?

It would be too easy for me to hope that Oleander and Simon are involved somehow wouldn’t it? Toby has already surmised they wouldn’t be willing to kill Evening with iron at the risk of stunting their own magic for hours even months, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t work with someone. Maybe a group of humans are “enlightened” and attacked for some reason meant to hurt the faeries. Or some other magical being that aren’t faeries are mixed up in this. It’s way too soon to tell, even though the clues are probably already there waiting for me to make sense of them.

Additional ThoughtsI am using Whispersync to listen to and read this book at the same time. Mary Robinette Kowal, who some readers might recognize as the author of the Glamourist Histories series, which is really does fit its description of Jane Austen meets magic and mayhem, is the narrator. (I’ve only read one book in the series Valour and Vanity, and I highly recommend it!) I’m enjoying most of her voices, but I didn’t really like her Spanish accent she used too much for the siblings Manuel and Dare. She did better with Manuel since his accent isn’t nearly as affected as his sister’s, but it still wasn’t my favorite moment. I’m still getting a little used to her Tybalt, too. I like his voice, but right now, it still feels a little stilted in some places (but not stilted enough for me NOT to be like ¡Hola cariño! *fans self*). We’re still early, However, I still liked the characters very much overall despite slight narration complaints.

Favorite Quote

“Cats never listen. They’re dependable that way; when Rome burned, the emperor’s cats still expected to be fed on time.”

“Dawn is one of those reasons. It pulls down our illusions, making us too easy to see and too hard to deny; after all, even the most stubborn humans will usually believe their own eyes. All it takes is one moment of carelessness on the part of the faerie world, just one, and after that . . .

After that comes the iron and the silver and the rowan wood, and the mass graves on both sides, and the burning. In the end, it always comes down to the burning, and that’s a risk I’ve never been willing to take. I may be playing at being human, but that doesn’t make me stupid.

People were starting to pass on the sidewalk outside the alley. Humans have always preferred to live their lives by daylight. I used to think it was because human beings have crappy night vision, and it wasn’t until I got older and more cynical that I realized it was because they have less to be afraid of during the day. Illusions don’t last as long in broad daylight. The monsters can’t find as many places to hide, and all Faerie’s lies get easier to catch and define. You can be human and still be safe, during the day.”

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20 Comments on “Rosemary and Rue Read-Along Week No.1”

  1. You have no idea how difficult it is to read your questions and keep quiet about them! 🙂 But those questions mean you are quite invested in the story, and are enjoying it: and that’s good. Some of them will be answered in this book, others… well, won’t. But you are in for a fascinating journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know the feeling. When I see people reading something I’ve already read for the first time, it’s so exciting to see them reading it, but at the same time I have to bite my tongue so hard. I am definitely enjoying it. I haven’t read a UF book in about two years now I think, so this is like coming home. LOL.


  2. ‘Tuatha de Danann, Water Kelpie, Cat sìth (Cait Sidhe), and Undine’ – this! I love all of this and it’s great to get to revisit a new world with it all going on.
    I loved your quotes and ending comments to. The Dawn part was really interesting like that with fae before where they have to hide from the first flushes of dawn. Really intriguing. And, I liked Toby’s comments about humans choosing to live their lives during the light hours of the day because there’s less chance of things hiding in the shadows.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have love mythology around the world for so long, so I’m really excited to read all this set all in our modern world. I know they’ve lived like this hundreds/thousands of years, but you know a turning point always comes somewhere. I loved that added addition of dawn being a dangerous moment for all of them no matter if they’re changelings or pureblooded. He comments on human seem to hint that it’s more instinct that humans love the light because it does reveal the baddies, but they may not realize that this is their motivation for that habit anymore. I’m just really loving how all this is being used right now. I also had to mention the cat quote as a cat owner who DEFINITELY knows how cats are. The whole world revolves around them. My snooty cat might be Tybalt at this point. LOL.


  3. Looks like this book is the return to urban fantasy for many of us! It’s a genre I always feel like I don’t read enough – though too much can become too formulaic. Rosemary and Rue definitely isn’t one of the boring ones! The fae worldbuilding is quite complex so far, and it’ll be interesting to see all the different sorts of fae and how they differ from each other.

    As for that first quote, I laughed out loud at that one, ha! Typical cats.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It really does seem like it. The last time I read an Urban Fantasy novel was about two years ago. Okay, maybe that’s not completely true. I’ve read some short UF stories during that time, but a full length novel–not so much. I would start many and just get burned out on them quickly. It can be very formulaic and I think that’s why I started drifting away from them after so many years of loving them. So far this book feels like a breath of fresh air.

    Cats are snobs. I read that and immediately thought that described my cat PERFECTLY. LOL.


  5. Ah, this honestly one of my favourite UF series, hands down. It took me a while to get into the series, but Seanan McGuire just creates the most compelling characters, and mysterious backstories that I just want to know the answer to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d had a different book of hers on my TBR pile last year from a different series, and for some reason, I was turned away from it. After Mogsy reviewed this book, I decided to put it on my TBR pile. This Read-Along gave me a reason to get around to it, and I’ve enjoyed what I read so far.


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  7. I love all the mythology of this series too. In some small ways, it is reminding me of the Ivy Granger series by E. J. Stevens, which also takes place in a port city that has lots of mists.

    I know what you mean about Kowal’s Spanish accent. I live in New Mexico, so I get picky about Spanish accents since I hear Spanish daily. Still, her other voices are pretty good and the story has me hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same. I live in part of the south with a large Spanish speaking population as well, and I can be weird about that thing. It could be worse, though, and I feel it’s either gotten better or I’ve gotten used to it.

      Liked by 1 person

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