Friday, May 7, 2010 | |

A Local Habitation by Seanan Mcguire

A Local Habitation is the second October Daye book from Seanan Mcguire. For a review of the first book, Rosemary and Rue, click here.

In a sentence: A Local Habitation builds on the successful points of Rosemary and Rue, while still introducing us to new characters and concepts to the world of Faery.

Setting: I really enjoyed this particular chapter in Toby Daye's life. We got to see how she would work with a sort of "locked room" mystery. I was pleased to see that these books will move around a little bit, rather than just remain within the city of San Francisco. The setting was small, since the majority of the story took place in a single building (granted, a building that kept changing like Hogwarts on crack). I could see myself in the building with the characters, which is probably more important than it sounds. When you've got a story that takes place in a single building, it needs to be real enough that you understand where you're at and what's going on at all times. Mcguire did this very well. Looking back, I want to say that I felt like she was a little light on the description of the building itself, but the fact that it was an office building sort of leads you to that sterile, white room kind of place anyway. My own mind filled in the blanks, which is how a good author writes a setting, so I was satisfied.

Character: Toby is really a fun character. I'm also glad to see that Quentin gets some more screen time. It was good that Mcguire didn't drop him after foreshadowing him as an important character from the first book. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in the characters of Alex and Terrie, but I think that falls under plot a little more clearly than character. Tybalt is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. He's an interesting combination of street smarts and naiveté in that he's very good at being the King of Cats and at understanding how things work in the more dangerous parts of the city, but doesn't spend enough time with the common man to really get a grip on what daily life is like for someone that isn't nobility.

Plot: I'm torn on this book's plot, and I guess I'm just going to say that the mystery was better than the first book, but in other ways it didn't work as well. With the locked room mystery, it gets progressively easier to figure out the "whodunnit" simply because people keep on dying, increasing the odds of making a correct guess. In my first read through the book, I was disappointed because I thought I had figured out the mystery at about the 1/3 mark. In reality, I had only figured out half the mystery, but managed to get the whole thing by about the 2/3 mark. This still leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, since I wasn't really sure who had committed the crime in the first book until nearer the big reveal. This could have simply been me reading more for enjoyment in the first book, though, since in theory it presented less characters, and therefore, an easier mystery.

Now, before you get the feeling that I didn't like this book, I want to point out that there were lots of things that I really LOVED about this book. I thought that we got some really good looks at Toby getting kicked while she was down a few times, and really got to see the woman under the mask of toughness and confidence, which was a great add-in to the story, and I also really liked the development of Quentin. I'm looking for to hearing and seeing more of Toby's relationship with her mom, and I'm assuming at some point the dam is going to burst as far as romance is concerned, and we'll see a full-blown love interest of some sort, and all the pain and difficulty associated with that.

Overall, A Local Habitation (8.75/10) is a fine sequel. In many ways, it builds on what was already there, and there are really no major drawbacks to the book. It's nice to see an author that's consistent, as so many seem to have that second book slump, where it just doesn't measure up to their first brilliant idea. I am definitely looking forward to An Artificial Light, coming in September.


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