This is a decent urban fantasy novel, but it's almost unlistenable due to the inept, amateurish narration. It's so distracting when the reader places the emphasis on random weird words in almost every sentence or adopts a tone that clashes with what's actually going on in the book. And in this case, she's also got an awe-shucks, Midwestern voice that doesn't match the tough, worldly character.
Publishers: an incompetent or incompatible narrator is worse than no audiobook at all, so if you're going to go to all the trouble to record an audiobook, pick someone who knows what they're doing! Good readers for this genre include Marguerite Gavin, Jessica Almasy, Johanna Parker, Mia Barron, and others. But how hard can it be, really, to find an actor who can at least read English sentences in a fluent, comfortable manner?
I don't recall how this title came my way, but I'm glad it did. I have never been a big fan of fantasy, but after trying the Dresden files, found that that style of part urban fantasy and part mystery thriller worked for me. The trouble I have is with worlds and beings entirely separate from what I know, when an author drops you into the unfamiliar and starts off running with it without introducing the world - this, on the other hand wove the world of Faerie and its denizens into modern San Francisco, and did enough explaining and introduction of the fae that were come across for me not to get lost. Left some of it very mysterious though, and sometimes I wished for more background info. The challenge of changeling existence was a semi-familiar concept, so throw in her private investigating (and a quest for revenge), and her attitude and you get me hooked.
This book was also a lot like Dresden in that she got pulled into the action without entirely consenting, but would do anything to help a friend, was pretty much forced to be reactionary the whole way through, takes risks with powerful and scary beings, has a sardonic and cynical attitude and smart mouth to match (I laughed out loud a lot, even during high tension scenes at her remarks, everything from her waking up with a deadpan "oh good, not dead" or "talking usually indicates consciousness", to her blunt and sometimes sarcastic observations about the traditions of faerie and the different fae races, and myriad charming smart-ass lines), and it all boils down to a showdown with the bad guy.
While I liked Toby and her liege lord the Duke and his Duchess, I think my favorite characters were the legendary sea witch/demon (whose name after hearing I couldn't even try to spell but just looked it up: the Luidaeg) and most of all the rose goblin. The adorable purring walking feline-rosebush. Useful as long as you don't take your eyes off them.
The one issue I took in all of this story was just how much she kept going after taking a beating and even getting shot (with iron no less). Even with a little healing help as she went along, it seemed to me she must have incredible endurance to keep on her feet and running from the bad guys as long as she did... It just seemed like as much as she was commenting on her own blood loss and pain, that it didn't have as much impact as it should have had.
The narration was great. There were multiple accents (some tinged with a nice Irish lilt in the fae courts) for the numerous voices, all kept consistently, never a doubt who was speaking. And her delivery was spot-on, matching the attitude of Toby all the way. I am familiar with Gaelic words and phonetics, and it was nice to hear them spoken smoothly (for those NOT familiar with them, that would be one definite advantage of listening to the audiobook rather than only reading off the page).
Definitely set itself up to be a series, which I will look into getting if I find myself in the mood for more fae tales mixed into my cache of whodunits.
I'm a Canadian book blogger who loves audiobooks. My favourite genres are sci-fi and fantasy, especially anything paranormal.
It felt like there should be a prequel to explain Toby’s history with turning into a koi, how she became human again, and the first few years afterward. A lot of that situation is only referred to offhandedly, and is a bit confusing.
My favourite character was Tybalt, but he’s one of the least utilized people in the story. Every glimpse of him was exciting, and I wanted more. I fully expected to see the hate relationship between him and Toby develop into something else, and I was surprised when it didn’t.
Romance actually plays a very little role in the story at all, which is quite refreshing from most urban fantasy stories. Also unique is the fact that Toby gets hurt, a lot, and doesn’t instantly rebound. Yes, she does recover with some magical assistance, but she has realistic limitations, and can’t push herself past them with no consequence. It makes the action scenes more interesting because this is definitely not the typical action story where only the good guys land bullets with every shot.
This is the main problem I had; while I like the narrator's voice for October, I kind of despised every other "accent" she tried. And I cringed when she talked about kitsune. Hoping this improves.
Maybe if I ran out of other author recommendations. It was a decent read, it was just lacking in many regards. Took too long to engage the reader in the story, characters were good but not as fleshed out as needed, story line was slow to begin and difficult to follow, but good after a significant time investment. It is not the best I have heard (or read) but certainly not the worst. Good if you need a book and have run out of other usual authors. I'll try the rest once I have run through my other options.
Not at all. It was a decent story, just certainly not my first choice for a series from here on out.
She does a decent job at differentiating characters. I'm not sure I liked some of her choices, but she did a good job overall with the script she was given.
A character like Toby is difficult to portray through only voice, I acknowledge that. I felt there were situations where more emotion could have been conveyed within her character alignment. She felt a little too flat at times. Stoic is just that, not emotionless. It felt emotionless at times.
Nope. As long as she's just doing the normal voice and narration it's fine but her "voices" are horribly distracting. I almost turned it off during the "Japanese" accented conversation between Toby & Lily.
Oak and ash, the voices... please for the love of Maeve, just STOP with the Japanese accent. The narration just about ruined this book for me. I love love love this series, I own them all in print already, just got this so I could "re-read" the series during my commute. I shouldn't have bothered, since i just sit in my car in traffic and make horrible pained faces and yell at the iPod (who knows what the other commuters must think).
If you're thinking about reading this - and I highly recommend that you do - READ it in print, skip the poor narration and just read it yourself.
If you like the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, you're probably going to like this book and the series that it starts. October Daye is a little bit broken, which makes her a good protagonist. She's trying to muddle her way through in a world that contains people who are dangerous and unbalanced, while dealing with some personal issues of her own.
The story follows the blueprint for a noir detective novel pretty closely, while being trimmed out with the details of a fairytale world. The writing is good enough that even though you know there are sequels to this book, you still wonder if October might not make it through alive.
There's good news and bad news about the sequels. The good news is that they are each as good as this one or better. The bad news is that the series isn't finished yet, so when you get all the way through Chimes at Midnight (the latest one at the moment), you'll be impatiently waiting for the next installment.
I had tried to read the physical version of this book a few years ago and couldn't finish it. I'm not sure if I was just in a different place in my life or if reading the book left it flat, but I was bored out of my mind. As I wait for some of my regular series to come out with new books I decided to try again with October Daye. What could I lose now that Audible has a return policy?
I am surprised to say that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Some other reviewers have commented on the sad tone and October's "pity party". Well, if I had as many things go wrong in such an epic way as Toby did, I would be pretty depressed too. I don't think she is being melodramatic and I don't think she is having a "pity party". Terrible things happen and she deals with them in a normal almost-human way. I also like that, while Toby does become romantically involved with another character, there aren't long drawn out sex scenes. I enjoy a good romance, but certain stories don't lend themselves well to that sort of thing. Too many books include gratuitous love scenes that don't add anything to the story. I was happy when Rosemary and Rue did not include any of those.
I enjoyed the world that McGuire created and love all the little fae creatures he dreamed up (Spike is my favorite). I think he did a good job weaving the "real" modern world with faerie and showing how there just might be secrets around us that we "mortals" can't see.
The narrator did a good job and I think she fit Toby's character well. Like with almost any story there were little things she did that I would like changed, but overall I enjoyed her performance and would be sad if they ever replace her.
Rosemary and Rue was a fun listen and I look forward to listening to the rest in the series.
Urban fantasy is a great genre that is being destroyed by bodice rippers disguised as urban fantasy detective novels. Don’t get me wrong, if people want to read Harlequin Elvish Romance more power to them. I do blame the publishing world, however. They should make a clear subgenre of "Urban Fantasy Romance." Nothing is worse than settling down for an evening of “Chandler/Hammet with Trolls” and getting some weirdness about an otherwise intelligent and capable female fixer just dying to be dominated by some more powerful being. (Is being dominated really what does it for the Harlequin crowd?) Unsatisfying.
Well that is NOT what happens with October Daye. She is tough, resilient and smart. What she lacks in muscle she makes up for in brains, guts and contacts. She goes toe to toe with the villains and she may fall back but she doesn’t stand back. She has an almost samurai sense of responsibility which means that she sometimes accepts blame for things that are objectively not her fault. However, throughout the series she grows and changes, and her willingness to accept blame may even be an intentional character flaw.
I have the entire series and am eagerly awaiting the next volume. I think they are all four or five star books. In many ways, this first book is one of the strongest. October is at her weakest, and that means she has to be more clever and more indirect to solve the case. She is initially introduced as a recon and pathfinder operative. She finds the way in, sets the flares and then the heavies come rolling in. I think it would have been interesting if she had maintained that role.
There are some things I think are a little out of sync such as a patron who seems too perfect, a little too much touchy-feelie in the middle of an extraction when you would think everyone would be heads up and hands on, and characters actually thinking of themselves as “heros.” Nevertheless, these are small quibbles, and who knows? Maybe elvish lords really are that perfect and fey warriors are so emotional that they can’t help themselves. Regardless, this is the most enjoyable series I have listened to/read in a long time.
In addition to the fine writing by Ms. McGuire, Ms. Kowal’s voice acting is superb. I love her October and all the other characters. This was really a joy to listen to. I recommend it highly.
I prefer audio versions normally, and this was no exception.
The idea of the fae living secretly in the modern world. While that concept has been done before, Seanan takes it to a new level.
October "Toby" Daye
I never really read books in one sitting, but I was intrigued to keep listening.
Seanan McGuire is easily becoming one of my favorite writers. I've listened to this book, started her "Newsflesh" trilogy (written as Mira Grant) and read Discount Armageddon (which isn't in audio) and loved all of them.