When last we left Toby Daye, the heroine of Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue, something monstrous had gotten into her car and announced itself as she sped over the Bay Bridge.
Instead of allowing fear or anger to misguide her actions, Toby fights for calm and takes the redcap in her backseat on a terrifying riding going 90 the wrong way on one way streets and around sharp turns. Suddenly, she stops, slamming him into the seat so hard it buys her enough time to escape the car and run. But she can’t outrun the iron bullet he sends after her. The bullet passes through her left shoulder, threatening her with blood loss and iron poisoning. Barely in time, she swings onto a bus before the redcap shoots her again. She gets off unintentionally at Golden Gate Park, and using the last of her magic, sneaks in. At least there she can die peacefully.
Reader Comments: Part of me hoped that Tybalt would find her, just because it could be interesting to see his reaction to her bleeding to death, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Writer Comments: This moment occurs about halfway through the novel. However, since Toby is the hero and, more importantly, the story is told from her 1st person POV, we know she’s not really going to die. The tension comes in when wondering how close she’ll get and how she’ll escape and to what cost. This is one disadvantage of 1st person POV. You can’t believably kill off the POV character, especially in the middle of the book. McGuire builds up this scene well despite this, but it’s something to consider when choosing POV.
Toby wakes in Lily the undine’s fiefdom. Someone found her and carried her to Lily. Since Toby’s blood entered the water, Lily can keep her alive, but healing requires special permission that Evening’s curse will not allow Toby to refuse giving despite her stubbornness. However, iron in Toby’s body prevents Lily from healing her fully, which leaves Toby alive, somewhat functional, but with a much harder job ahead of her.
Reader Comments: I bet it was Tybalt who carried Toby to Lily. In the first paragraph, Toby says the voice she hears when she’s lifted out of the water almost sounds like him. This plays so nicely into my hopes of a tempestuous romance between these two.
Writer Comments: Contrasts are good in fiction. The previous chapter was all about speed, action, intensity, and the nearness of death. This chapter is quiet, calming, and filled with water, flowers, and a friend. A story too full of slowness, quiet, or peacefulness would hold no one’s interest. A story filled with nothing but action and intense moments would be exhausting. That’s why alternating and finding a good balance is so important.