Read Along: A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire – Week One

A Local Habitation - white

| Week One |

Welcome to the Read Along of A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

Welcome to the first post in the A Local Habitation Read Along! After the success of Rosemary and Rue, the first book in the October Daye series,  I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the second. Luckily for me, Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow (after very little coercing) decided to organise a read along for the second novel! So here we are getting sucked back into the strange world of  October Daye with this first week of questions.

If anyone would like to join in, just head on over to the Goodreads group and sign up. Here’s how the schedule looks:

Week 1 (Saturday 5th March)

Chapters 1-9 – hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Saturday 12th March)

Chapters 10-18 – hosted by Lynn’s Books

Week 3 (Saturday 19th March)

Chapters 19-25 – hosted by Books by Proxy (me!)

Week 4 (Saturday 26th March)

Chapters 26-End – hosted by The Bibliosanctum

There will be spoilers!

| Week One Rating |

| The Questions |

| 1. |

Some familiar faces are back for book 2 (hi Tybalt!), but we don’t waste much time getting to meet some new people, most notably Sylvester Torquill’s niece, January, who is … less than upfront with Toby at first meeting. What do you think of January so far?

Nice kitty. So glad to see Tybalt back in those opening scenes – no doubt he’ll sweep back in to reclaim his jacket at any moment! (Or at least I hope he does because more Tybalt in the storyline can only be a good thing, right?)

January makes an interesting and somewhat conflicted impression. In some ways she seems sweet, a little suspicious of Toby, but just a girl in over her head and swiftly losing control. On the other hand she seems to be making a whole heap of mistakes, is definitely hiding more than she’s revealing, and is acting very strangely to an honest offer of help from her uncle. All is definitely not well in Tamed Lightning! 

| 2. |

Another new face is April, who’s got a rather unique back story according to Alex. What do you make of her so far, and what do you think of the merging of magic and technology that seems set to be the underlying theme in this book?

April is an excellent addition to the storyline! I love the fact they have a Dryad living in a data information tree and it creates so many potential possibilities. However, although April’s story is a sad one, something about a Dryad infiltrating their systems has me more than a little suspicious. Of course she could be completely innocent but right now there are some strange happenings which definitely have me looking sideways at April.

The merging of magic and technology also presents a really interesting crossover when it comes to urban fantasy. In most of the novels I’ve read magic and technology outright refuse to mix so it’s quite refreshing to get a different take on it. The storyline is also completely different to what I was expecting and has definitely opened with a very intriguing and suspicious plot! I can’t wait to see how this modern magical mash-up plays out!

| 3. |

Do any of the rest of the new faces stand out to you here? If so, who and why?

Well hello Elliot. Would you like to come to my house at say 6am each morning and save me a whole heap of time? A bath-spirit would certainly be useful! I love meeting new and interesting fae and the Bannick are no exception! A very amusing and cleanly addition to the storyline and perfect for cleaning up…. (dramatic pause) murders?!!

Alex and Terrie, the brother and sister duo who make the opposite sex practically foam at the mouth, are very interesting! I imagine they’ll make merry hell in the storyline and can’t wait to see how Toby reacts when she discovers that something is not quite right with the pair. Her past experience with men tells me this is one girl who isn’t going to be happy about a magical seduction!

| 4. |

We get some explanation of the political situation where Tamed Lightning is concerned, and by the end of this section we’ve got a body on the ground at ALH Computing… Got any initial thoughts/suspicions/things you still want to know?

Everything and anything is possible at the moment! I absolutely love the crossover with magic and technology and something tells me that this could be the root of all the problems in Tamed Lightning. Beyond there being a Dryad living in the system, I really couldn’t say who I’m most suspicious of – everyone is a suspect! I just can’t wait to keep reading.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 12th March

Read Along: Rosemary and Rue – Week One

Rosemary and Rue Read Along

| Week One |

Welcome to the Read Along of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow.

I’ve been looking for another good urban fantasy series for a while so I jumped at the chance to read it when the Rosemary and Rue Read Along was announced. This is the first book in the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire – nothing like another lengthy series to add to my bookshelves – and I have high hopes for it becoming one of my all time favourite urban fantasies!

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

There will be spoilers!

| Week One Rating |

4 and a half Stars

| The Questions |

| 1. |

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

First things first, I love urban fantasy but I don’t read nearly enough of it. I read eight of The Dresden Files last year (which I love!) so it was about time I diversified and tried something different in the genre. I’d never even heard of the October Daye series before this read along cropped up – but I’m already so glad I decided to join in!

I love the richly detailed urban setting – worldbuilding is one of my favourite aspects of all fantasy and this doesn’t stop when it crosses over to our world – and, like with Chicago in The Dresden Files, an author can really convey the charm and grit of a city location.. even when it is full of faeries!

The narrative style flows very easily and Toby is a compelling character who it is hard not to like. The world of the fae is definitely an interesting one – I love, love, love the nursery rhyme magic, too awesome! – and there are a myriad of different creatures to discover which already has me very excited! The courts and the hierarchies which apparently abound throughout the world of faerie are another dimension that hit on another of my fantasy favourites – court politics and intrigue! So I’m very excited to discover more about this strange world and its even stranger inhabitants.

And that moves us on to purebloods and changelings – It makes for a far more interesting series when the protagonist has obvious deficiencies when contrasted with the rest of the fae population. This also ties in with the court hierarchy where changelings are a lesser people (faeple?) which leaves me a state of intrigue as to how Toby will interact with this somewhat medieval system.

| 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?

The style of the opening prologue actually didn’t hook me in – it worried me a little! But as soon as the fishcident happened, oh wow, instant love! I was excited by everything that happened, the narrative really gripped me and I fully expect it to continue throughout the rest of the novel.

Toby is a really fascinating and complex character who is at a completely different stage in life than many protagonists we encounter in fantasy. This makes her so much more compelling as a character and ups the intrigue factor tenfold! I love that her life is so complicated, that so much has changed since she found herself in a pond, and that she’s struggling to get through it – giving your characters a hard time makes for excellent reading! – and I definitely feel for her for losing her previous life.  Having to cope in this new existence without her family, and in particular her daughter, makes for very interesting (and a little heartbreaking) reading. There are so many questions raised in this section of the novel – about her choices and what will come next –  that I’m finding it hard not to zoom ahead!

| 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?

So far I’ve loved all the secondary characters, including the brief visit from Toby’s old friend Mitch and the memories it drew up of her other pre-fish friends. And one thing Toby definitely needs at this point in her life is a friend! So far these changelings seem to be the most likely candidates… but we’re only a short way in so who can say!

Tybalt is a very intriguing character! He has a strange sort of relationship with Toby and their interactions are interesting and very amusing. There’s definitely some tension between them… and I’m not entirely certain it’s all of the negative variety. No doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more of him throughout the rest of the novel! Also he’s a cat! Sort of.

The Queen of the Mists seems to me like the atypical faerie queen – beautiful, ruthless and powerful – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! She just seems right for the role. Our brief introduction definitely shows us that Toby won’t be in for an easy ride – especially where the fae courts are concerned! In any case, I can’t wait to find out more about all and more of these secondary characters! Here’s hoping Sylvester is a good’un!

| 4. |

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

It’s been a long time since I got a bit teary in a novel but the murder of Evening did it for me! The fact that she’d showed Toby such compassion post-fishcident, despite it being against her nature, definitely made it a little heartbreaking when Toby retrieved  the answer machine messages.

As for whodunit – I really couldn’t say! It’s very early to be guessing. There are those two nasties from the prologue… however, something tells me that whole affair won’t be as simple as mere spite; there are obviously greater and more dangerous things at work. The Queen of the Mists also had a very strange reaction to the news that her friend was dead – does she just hate Toby that much? Or is there something else at play here? I guess we’ll just have to read on and see!

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this Read Along on 16th January

Sci-Fi Month 2015 Read Along: Week 1 Catch-Up

the long way to a small, angry planet

| Week 1 Catch-Up |

Welcome to the Sci-Fi Month Read Along of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, organised by Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow. I’m joining in several weeks late so I’ll be posting up the first two rounds of questions as I read – hopefully I’ll be up to speed by the time we get to Week 3! Here’s the schedule… assuming I’d joined in on time!:

Week 1 (Friday, November 6th):

“Transit” to “Port Coriol” – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

Week 2 (Friday, November 13th):

“Port Coriol” to “The Last War” – hosted by Chris @ Galleywampus

Week 3 (Friday, November 20th):

“The Last War” to “Heresy” – hosted by Claire Rousseau

Week 4 (Friday, November 27th):

“Heresy” to the end – hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow

| The Questions |

| 1. |

First things first, we get to meet the central cast – the crew of the Wayfarer. What are your first impressions of this crew? Which members, if any, stand out the most to you and why?

I love this crew! And I love the writing style. This is definitely one of those books that completely absorbs you into the lives of the protagonists and gives you an automatic connection to them. Everyone aboard ship is relevant for the job, all are unique in some way and all are, without a doubt, fascinating. Here is a run through of my impressions so far:

Rosemary – Rosemary is a pleasant character who seems a little lost and is still finding her feet aboard the Wayfarer. The not-veiled-at-all references to her mysterious past, which she seems determined to keep secret, are incredibly intriguing. I can’t wait to find out more!

Sissix – Sissix is definitely one of my favourite characters so far and the descriptions of her species, both physically and culturally, are fascinating. Despite her ongoing conflict with Corbin, she is instantly likeable and seems to have a genuine rapport with most of the crew.

Corbin – Corbin is clearly the antagonist of the crew and, aside from his introductory tour with Rosemary, hasn’t featured much so far. He seems to rub everyone up the wrong way, frequently puts his foot in it and makes no attempt to disguise his contempt for others. But at least he has a meaningful relationship with his algae.

Ashby – Ahh, the cap’n o’ the ship! Ashby is an excellent combination of firm and in control – a man who runs a tight ship and doesn’t baulk at giving orders – yet friendly, getting on well with the rest of the crew. The references to his family back home and his forbidden relationship with the Aeluon, Pei, are very intriguing hints.

Kizzy – The Wayfarer’s resident oddball lights up every scene with her wit and personality. She’s the mech tech aboard ship and brings as much flare to the science descriptions as she does to her wardrobe. Fun, interesting and crazy all rolled into one.

Jenks – Jenks clearly makes a pair with Kizzy and these two together spells trouble! The references to body modifications and genetweaks are interesting and I can’t wait to see how things play out with his romantic interest, Lovelace.

Lovelace – Lovelace is the Wayfarer’s AI. Moulded by her life aboard ship, she seems human… almost. I love Rosemary’s initial reaction to her – treating her as she would a human so as not to offend her – and I love her conversation with Jenks where she weighs up the pros and cons of having a body, if it were legal.

Dr Chef – Dr Chef is another instant favourite and is definitely the mother-hen aboard ship, tending the Hydroponic gardens, cooking all the meals and working in the med-bay. He is also one of the most delightfully depicted characters on board the Wayfarer – I’d love to learn more about his species!

Ohan – Ohan is a Sianat Pair, the Navigator aboard ship and is definitely an interesting species. The neurovirus – the Whisperer – which gives them their ‘abilities’ is a fascinating addition and gives another wonderful alien dimension to the crew.

| 2. |

Rosemary gets a rather entertaining physics lesson regarding space tunnelling from Kizzy, upon her first full day as a crew member. What are your thoughts on the science part of the fiction?

I love the science! I already love this book! Kizzy’s lesson involving the porridge was a perfect way to explain the physics to both Rosemary and the reader, and it was pretty damn funny too. The science definitely adds to the story and keeps the momentum going; there are no information dumps, no zone out moments, the explanations are just effortlessly woven into the plot and the dialogue. 

| 3. |

We go into the story aware that Rosemary is hiding something from the rest of the crew, and that she’s gone to great lengths to do so. Any ideas/suspicions/speculation you’d like to share on what her secret might be?

I love the intrigue surrounding Rosemary’s past but I’m unsure what it could be! It seems like she comes from a privileged background at home on Mars, and that something has occurred in her past – some sort of disaster or mess – which both worries and embarrasses her. Rosemary’s worried that the crew will find out about whatever she’s hiding and think differently of her but I for one can’t wait to uncover her secrets! 

| 4. |

Ashby scores a huge job – and a huge potential payout – for the Wayfarer, but it means possibly having to get mixed up in a violent civil war. What do you make of what we know so far about the Toremi?

The Toremi seem like a warlike race and there’s obviously something other than just empty territory that they’re contesting, though they remain a relative mystery. Their proximity to the galactic core, which no one else has been able to venture near due to the conflict, and their activity around it prior to the civil war, is highly suspicious. The deal Ashby has made with the GC Transportation Board is probably too good to be true and will likely involve a great deal of danger, a high risk of death and, of course, a very long way to a small angry planet.