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review 2018-03-14 15:30
Tricks for Free / Seanan McGuire
Tricks for Free - Seanan McGuire

Antimony Price is on the run. With the Covenant on her tail and her family still in danger, she needs to get far, far away from anyone who might recognize her--including her own mice. For the first time in a long time, a Price is flying without a safety net. Where do you go when you need to disappear into a crowd without worrying about attracting attention? An amusement park, of course.

Some people would call Lowryland the amusement park. It's one of the largest in Florida, the keystone of the Lowry entertainment empire...but for Annie, it's a place to hide. She's just trying to keep her head down long enough to come up with a plan that will get her home without getting anyone killed. No small order when she's rooming with gorgons and sylphs, trying to placate frustrated ghosts, and rushing to get to work on time.

Then the accidents begin. The discovery of a dead man brings Annie to the attention of the secret cabal of magic users running Lowryland from behind the scenes. They want the fire that sleeps in her fingers. They want her on their side. They want to help her--although their help, like everything else, comes with a price.


I picked up this paperback in the store on the day it was released, but it took me a few days to get around to reading it. I went in knowing that the Aeslin mice really didn’t feature in it (Sam takes them to the airport and they head for home). Would the magic still be there without the mice?

I enjoyed the mouse-less adventure just as much as the previous books. It also helped that there was an adorable novella featuring Mindy & Mork (Annie’s mice) at the end of the book. I’m liking Annie better than I did in the previous novel and will look forward to her further adventures in the next one. The presence of “Aunt” Mary, the ghost, also ties in one of McGuire’s other storylines, combining the two nicely.

Obviously I read this because I love the series and I’m a big fan of Seanan McGuire. But it also filled a space in my PopSugar challenge (a book published in 2018).

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review 2018-03-13 09:38
"Rosemary and Rue - October Daye #1" by Seanan McGuire
Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire,Mary Robinette Kowal

"Rosemary and Rue", the first book of the October Daye series, is an extraordinary piece of Urban Fantasy. It is sombre, complex and well written, a combination I can't resist.


The series was recommended to me as an Urban Fantasy must-read, otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered with a series centred around the Fae. Fae Fantasy seems to bring out a rose-tinted, undisciplined, acid-high hippy mindset that I have no sympathy for or it becomes a vehicle for New Adult eroticism that, even when it's done well, leaves me wanting either to laugh or to wash my hands.


The blurb wasn't encouraging, with references to Ladies and Knights and a reluctant half-blood fae PI. Yawn.


The title intrigued me. It has a Shakespearian feel to it. Rosemary and rue are two of the flowers in Ophelia's bouquet. Rosemary is for remembrance and rue is for repentance. That suggested I wasn't in for a happy-ever-after read, so I bought the audiobook version and settled down to listen.


From the beginning, it was clear that this was not a normal Urban Fantasy story with a kiss-ass heroine whose magical powers and strength of personality allow her to triumph against overwhelming odds and live to fight another day, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

October Daye is not a heroine. She's just someone trying to find a place for herself in the two worlds her half-fae half-human blood straddle. Finding a place is more about survival than ambition. October lives in a world where failure has consequences and success has a price. It is grim, unforgiving and relentless.


At the start of the book, October fails and is made to suffer consequences that would crush most of us. One of the things I admired about the book is that Seanan McGuire doesn't let her characters off the hook. Consequences are to be lived with like wounds and scars.


At first, the book seems to be about October being forced by a curse to solve the murder of a Pure-Blood Fae or die in the attempt. On this level, the book is a little flat. October bounces around the problem like a pinball, never in control and always being thrown against hard surfaces. I thought Seanan McGuire had taken Chandler's advice:

"When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

In line with the actions-have-consequences mindset, October spends as much time recovering from being hurt as she does investigating the death.


As the book progressed, I realised that the real focus of the story was October herself. She is made to re-examine the life she had before a mistake cost her everything. With each bounce of the pinball, we learn more about October's world and she learns more about herself.


What she learns and what she does with it bring us back to the "Rosemary and Rue" of the title: she honours her past, assessing it without nostalgia; she repents her failures without wallowing in regret and she moves on. October knows that while the life you've lived explains the scars you carry, it is your choices about what to do next that makes being alive worthwhile. The choices she makes show an acceptance of "the balance of her blood" rather than a desire to be someone else. It's a good start.


The world.building in "Rosemary and Rue" is skilfull and original. October takes for granted abuse of power and levels of punishment that makes the "magical" world very far away from Disney Princesses and much closer to the Brothers Grimm. To me it seemed to be to Urban Fantasy what Cyberpunk was to Science Fiction - a grimier, more credible version that was less about escapism and more about mirroring how the normal world works.


Seanan McGuireSo now I'm a fan of Seanan McGuire with a lot of good books to look forward to.


I've bought, "A Local Habitation", the next book in the series and "Discount Armaggedon", the first book in the InCryptid series.



Mary Robinette KowalI strongly recommend the audiobook version of "Rosemary and Rue". Mary Robinette Kowal's narration is pretty close to perfect. She amplifies the unusual rhythms of the prose and gives October a unique voice.


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review 2018-03-07 23:31
[Book Review] Tricks for Free
Tricks for Free - Seanan McGuire
Tricks for Free (InCryptid #7) / Seanan McGuire
Previously reviewed
Ok folks, I have some really bad news about this book.

There are no Aeslin mice in it.

 But they have their own novella at the end (and it's kind of adorable).

In Magic for Nothing I was a little harsh on Antimony... and what I said still holds true, she needed to grow up and she did.  So now we get an Annie who has learned in a way she never knew before what exactly it means to be a Price, perhaps still with resentment and issues with Verity, but that is tempered with understanding as well.  I like this Annie.

Hiding out from the Covenant (and her family), Antimony has donned an old identity and getting by as an employee at the Lowryland amusement park while she attempts to get her life back together.  Life, on the other hand, has its own plans for her.  Lowryland turns out to be run by a cabal of magic users who offer to teach her to control the fire insider her, friends from her past are around, and deadly accidents start occurring.

So it's up to one stranded Price, her friends, her boyfriend, and a crossroads ghost to handle a particularly unexpected threat.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of DAW (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.
Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2018/03/book-review-tricks-for-free.html
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text 2018-03-07 14:45
I went to the bookstore after work yesterday!
Tricks for Free - Seanan McGuire
The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman
Rivers of London Volume 4: Detective Stories - Ben Aaronovitch,Lee Sullivan

This is my haul--I kept it small, because, you know, budgets.  I could happily have snagged a couple of cookbooks too, but I made myself put them back.



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text 2018-03-06 19:34
Available Today
Tricks for Free - Seanan McGuire

Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire is available today.  Although this volume is missing the Aeslin Mice, I am still anxious to read it.  I predict a trip to the book store after work.

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