Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review: A Local Habitation, by Seanan McGuire

This will be a quick review. But you know, I hope, that if I'm allowing myself to write a review as a reward for dissertating, that it must be good, right?

First, here's the update on the ebook situation that was so vexing me in my last post. I was still grumpy about the delay, but it occurred to me that I could make an unfortunate situation into a good one by buying the print edition and giving it away to a local women's shelter (and that this was more important than my stupid frustration with Daw Books), and secondly, that if A Local Habitation were a trade paperback for sale at approx $15, the cost of the print and Kindle editions combined, I would have bought it without hesitation.

When I finished it yesterday evening, I was very pleased with myself for making the decision to go ahead and get it. The worldbuilding continues to be great. I think that this is the first time I've read a novel about fairies set in the "real" non-faerie world, and believed it. The concerns and issues are that carefully thought out, as are the mistakes that people make in trying to navigate both spaces.

The characters are great. We see Toby dealing with new situations, quite different from those in Rosemary and Rue, and learn more about her in the process. There are not too many characters, but I almost wish that it were possible to know more about the ones in this novel than I found out. That's meant as a compliment.

The mystery is interesting, and good. I did, admittedly, figure out whodunnit kind of early, because (obligatory ROT13: Vs Tbeqna vf gur bar jub pna svk cubarf fb gung gurl jbex bhgfvqr bs gur Xabjr, gura vg znxrf frafr gung fur jnf gur bar zrffvat jvgu gur cubarf fb gung Wnahnel pbhyqa'g trg guebhtu gb Flyirfgre. Vf guvf nyzbfg gbb boivbhf? Lrf, rkprcg gung tvira Gbol'f ynpx bs grpu-fniil, vg qvq znxr frafr gb zr gung guvf jbhyq gnxr ybatre sbe ure gb tenfc.)

But I wasn't positive until I figured out why, and that took much longer, though the clues were indeed right there in front of me. And that, for me, makes a damn fine novel. I look forward to the next book, and hope we find out more about why the Queen of the Fairies seemed so mentally unstable in Rosemary and Rue.

But in the meantime, I'll happily reread ALH again in a couple of weeks. For me, that means that it's in a class with books by Joan Aiken, Noel Streatfeild, Sarah Monette, and Scott Lynch. Books that make me really, really happy.

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