I will admit to a bit of 'new book, new author' nervousness. It takes a lot to get me to try a new author these days, and even though I've read a lot of Seanan McGuire's fiction online, this was the first time I'd held a novel of hers in my hands.
I devoured it. I Could Not Stop. Now, I'm a voracious reader, but usually I'll at least stop to go to the bathroom.
She sucked me in, with a headlong pace, gracefully-inserted worldbuilding, and a cast of clearly-delineated, frequently sympathetic characters.
Now, I've got a worldbuilding kink a mile wide. I'm the one who gets to Sam saying 'Well, I'm back,' and I don't even pause before plunging right into the Appendices for the Nth time. I'll pick up roleplaying games I _know_ I'll never play and read the setting information cover to cover. And so it may strike some folk as odd that I'm now going to thank Seanan for not providing a glossary.
See, I had far more fun putting together the (frequently sparse) clues as to what, say, a particular species of the Fae was. I much preferred meeting the Luidaeg the way we did, rather than skipping to a glossary entry the first time she's mentioned. (I also rather love the Luidaeg, but that's beside the issue...)
Even with the limited glimpses and hints of the Fae world we've gotten so far, I can tell that this world is solid, it's tightly built, it's _real_ in that way that proper worldbuilding gets ya. And I can't wait to find out more.
But the story, you say, the story! Engrossing. Like I said, couldn't put it down. Glad I hadn't had a lot to drink before I started, because it never slows down a whit. I read an early review that noted that if the main character (October 'Toby' Daye) ever met the author on the sidewalk, she'd probably punch her, and I can really see why, now. Seanan doesn't give poor Toby a moment to breathe, but Toby struggles and fumbles and doesn't-think through it all anyway. And without falling into the trap of too-neatly and too-easily resolving everything at the end, either (though without falling into the other trap of 'this is only half the story, and you'll have to wait until the next book for the rest'; the story is nicely self-contained).
When I reached the end, I tried to tell myself that if I'd just paid a little more attention, I'd've been able to figure out who the murderer was, but I admit that I'm wrong in that. In classic murder-mystery style, I _should_ have been able to, but that's not how it worked out; she did it right.
Murder mysteries are rarely my preference -- okay, I don't like 'em a whit -- and I'll admit that that aspect made me hesitate. I just don't like the style, but Seanan has managed to avoid all the usual chuck-it-across-the-room murder mystery cliches. Since it's also an urban fantasy that's not a great surprise, but I was still glad to see it.
It's hard to say more, frankly, without giving things away, but I will say that I kinda want a rose goblin of my own now.
Y'all should probably go get a copy. It's good stuff.