Welcome to our second to last segment of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. When last we left Toby, our cursed changeling heroine, she had just realized that her friend and lover, Devin, was the one trying to kill her.
To catch up or review this commentary and summary, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, and Part 12.
Armed with the realization that Devin is the one trying to kill her and who ordered Evening’s death, Toby uses her cats to help her find the Court of Cats and Tybalt, their king. She succeeds and, with little effort, gets Tybalt to give her the shirt he wore when he killed the assassin that almost killed Toby. The blood on it is dry, but she hopes she can still coax the blood memories from it and confirm, one way or another, whether Devin really is the man she has to take down for Evening.
Reader Comments: Julie also attacks Toby in this chapter because Julie blames Toby for killing her lover while they tried to defend Toby from that assassin. Hmm, do I see a subplot in the making?
Writer Comments: Toby’s cats make periodic appearances throughout the book, but until now, they only played the part of humor, doing exactly what cats do and commanding Toby’s life as much as they could. McGuire could have left them as just a cute, amusing element, but she’s smarter than that. The cats play an important role in the plot and take Toby to Tybalt’s hidden court, a place that only cats and Cait Sidhe can find. It strengthens a story to give even those minor things significance.
When Toby finds the blood on the shirt too dry to use, she takes it to Lily, the undine who healed her earlier. Lily warns Toby not to attempt to use blood magic again at the risk of her life and sanity. However, Toby has no choice. Either the magic kills her or Evening’s curse does. At least with the magic, she stands a slight chance. Reluctantly, Lily revives the life in the blood, allowing Toby to drink it and see the memories of the man that tried to kill her, memories of Devin hiring him and alluding to his involvement in Evening’s death as well. But the curse drags Toby under anyway and nearly kills her. Only because Lily dumps the iron bullets from Toby’s gun on her chest, thus yanking Toby free, is Toby saved.
Reader Comments: Oo, nice about the trick of using the iron bullets to save Toby from the curse and the blood magic memories killing her. Very creative, but poor Toby. She’s had to deal with so much iron in this book.
Writer Comments: Lily is pure heroism wrapped up in a quiet, serene package. She is nothing but admirable. I don’t know how well of a starring heroine she would make, but as a supporting character, her sacrifices and goodness make her quite appealing. This is also coupled with the deep sadness that seems to linger with her, for she’s the closest one to Toby that endured a great suffering while Toby spent fourteen years as a fish. As a result, she’s sympathetic as well as likable. Admirable secondary characters can give heroes and heroines a good boost, and they’re often quite memorable.