Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

After spending fourteen years lost to both the fae and mortal worlds, only to be dragged back into Faerie by the murder of someone close to her, October "Toby" Daye really just wants to spend a little time getting her footing. She's putting her life back together. Unfortunately, this means going back to work for Duke Sylvester Torquill of Shadowed Hills, doing her duty as a knight errant. That isn't the sort of thing that exactly lends itself to a quiet existence, and before she knows it, Toby's back on the road, heading for the County of Tamed Lightning in Fremont, California to check on Sylvester's niece, January.

Things in Tamed Lightning turn out to be a lot stranger than they seemed at first glance, and Toby's talent for finding trouble isn't doing her any favors. With Quentin—a young foster from Sylvester's Court—in tow, and the stakes getting higher all the time, it's up to Toby to solve the mystery of Tamed Lightning, or face a failure whose cost will be too high for anyone to pay.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Rosemary and Rue, but it took me a little longer to pick up the second book because I couldn't decide if this was going to be a series I wanted to own. There was nothing
wrong with the first book per se, but I read so many things that I have to be discerning somewhere, right? I liked the premise for the books but something about them didn't scream 'buy me! buy me!'

With A Local Habitation though McGuire has stepped her game up and it's definitely starting to become something I'm looking forward to. In this installment we get to know Toby more and for me becomes more of an independent character that I'm routing for, and not just one more half-blood in the world of urban fantasies. I think readers who like a significant mystery element to their fantasy will particular enjoy A Local Habitation because it's got that old school feel where there are a lot of suspects, a lot of information, and a lot of unknowns (both known and unknown) that you keep the reader on their toes as they try to figure out what's going on.

What drove me crazy though is that I found myself yelling at Toby and Quentin through most of the book. I don't want to put in any spoilers, but the author was dropping some heavy hints about the nature of one of the suspects and no-one seems to pick up anything!! I mean, if you're recovering after a big piece of evil magic left you a fish for almost 14 years, wouldn't you be slightly more suspicious of the people around you? And about your feelings toward those people? UGH!!! I was seriously tempted to bang my head against the wall or throw the book across the room. I don't need my heroines to be infallible, but I need them to use their brains!!!

Deep breath.

It works out in the end, people stop being dumb, and the back and forth between Toby and the Kind of Cats is pretty nifty. I'd recommend that you pick up the first two books from the library, see what you think for yourself, and then decide if this is a buy or not. McGuire's writing style isn't for everyone, isn't quite as mainstream popular as some of the other urban fantasy choices out there, so each person should choose for themselves if this is worth the money or not.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. The series is getting better with time, and the foreshadowing of a future showdown with crazy faeries has got me hooked.

Series - 1) Rosemary and Rue 2) A Local Habitation 3) An Artificial Night (September 2010)