Seanan McGuire: Indexing

by Seanan McGuire
narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal
(urban fantasy, fairy tale re-telling)

This is my new favorite book. Let me just get that out there right now. I don’t think it’s a series yet, and I’m not sure if there are plans to make it one or not, but I don’t care. The book is a ton of fun, and has such fun twists on stories we already know and love. The best part is that it doesn’t just re-tell one story; it re-tells MOST of them. And with twists. Lots of twists.

As a basic recap of the very beginning of the book, the premise is that fairy tales happen in our world thanks to the influence of “The Narrative,” which wants the stories to be told. It will twist stories to fit the circumstances at hand. For instance, the “poisoned apple” that Snow White eats might really be a cup of pre-packaged applesauce. Or the “spindle” that Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger on might be a hypodermic needle. And the three bears might just end up in a backyard if that’s where they need to be in order to encounter Goldilocks. However, we don’t know about these incursions of fairy tale into reality because there’s a government agency protecting us from it – and nearly all of the people who work for the Agency belong to one fairy tale or another.

The premise alone is enough to make me happy, but the execution of the novel was superb. Some of the twists were obvious, and others caught me completely off guard. I found no fault with the writing itself (even though I was listening to it and not reading it for myself) and the narration was incredible. Each of the characters had a distinct voice, even to the point of being able to tell when some characters were “more normal” or “more story”.

If you listen to audiobooks, this is definitely one to grab. If you don’t, pick up the book form. And know that I am jealous, because you will be reading it for the first time and I can’t do that again. I can re-read (or re-listen to) this book as many times as I want, but it won’t have the same impact that you will get as a first-time reader.

This is going on my keeper shelf. And I am seriously thinking about picking up a paperback copy also, so that when I re-read it, I can read that copy and see what I get from it that I didn’t get from the audiobook version.


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