What It Is: The first book in a series of urban fantasy fiction which follows the misadventures of October Daye, a changeling. October "Toby" Daye is a half fae/half human private investigator who, in the course of her additional duties of being knight to one of the fairy courts, ended up transfomed into a fish and lost 14 years to life as a coy. She suddenly finds herself back in the world to find that she has lost her human lover and her daughter to the missing time. Just as she begins putting the pieces of her life back together, a powerful fairy friend called the Winterrose is brutally murdered. The Winterrose's last words are on October's answering machine, a curse binding Toby to find the murderer and exact revenge, or die trying.
You can find out more about the works of Seanan McGuire as well as more about this series here.
Why It Is Awesome: Holy crap, was it fun to write that summary. After reading and watching a series of things that were Quite Serious In Nature and Loaded With Much To Think about, this rapid-paced urban fantasy novel was the perfect thing.
I'm not kidding.
A strong female protag, magic, a blend of magical and consensus reality worlds, PUNCH BOOM SLASH action, with incredibly tight plotting and twists and narrow escapes and... Well, let's just say it is a superfun read.
I love that the fairy world's swear words are, "Root and branch!"
So that's the fun stuff. That's not to say there aren't serious themes that emerge. Some of which are quite hopeful, one of the larger messages being that no matter how alone you think you are in the world, or how badly you think you have failed, there is always someone in your community who cares. Another big one is that it is better to face your problems directly than ignore them. These might seem like obvious life lessons that everyone eventually learns or knows, but sometimes it is good to be reminded.
I would like to add that at the beginning of the story Toby Daye works at a grocery store, which immediately endeared her to me, as my days are also spent in the trenches of food purveyance and I lead this wacky, internal, double life with the writing thing. I suspect most of us have a sort of analogous experience; there is a split between what we do to pay the bills and what we do that is more satisfying to the heart and mind... but I digress...
Now, after heaving read a bunch of Seanan McGuire's blog posts, I FINALLY got to read some of her work, I can see exactly why she landed on so many awards lists this year.
***NOW COMES THE PART OF THE ROUND UP IN WHICH WE HAVE A GUEST REVIEWER****
But first, a few words about our Young Vinyl Enthusiast, Eric Casey.
Eric works with me at the afore-mentioned grocery store and is like this young encyclopedia of musical knowledge. He seems to have a sort of preternatural gift for assessing what another person's musical preferences are and figuring out what that person might like. (Okay, me. Every suggestion he makes, he completely gets right. It's like, magic.)
Because of that I have invited our Young Vinyl Enthusiast to share his thoughts on the musical offerings of
What It Is: Jake Bugg is considered a rising "Indie Folk" artist. He's been around the music scene in Britain since 2011 and finally got noticed by Mercury Records late 2011. His debut album "Jake Bugg" was released October 2012 and spawned two top 40 hits "Two Fingers" and "Lightning Bolt". His album debuted at #1 making him the youngest solo male to debut with a #1 album at age 18.
Why It Is Awesome: In the past year there has been somewhat of a new British wave of artists similar to the one in the 1980's, but not like the 60's. There is also a small folk revolution going on which included popular acts such as The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Phillip Phillips, and Of Monsters and Men to name a few. Jake Bugg may appeal to all sorts of age groups.
The older crowd will dig him because of his retro sound in his lyrics and vocals. The younger crowd can relate to him because of his songs that may represent a want of freedom like in his song "Two Fingers", or heartbreak like in his song "Broken". Although young, he sounds much more mature and seasoned in what he does even though he started playing guitar and singing just a few years ago.
Quite often the mainstream magazines compare him to Bob Dylan but that is completely erroneous. There is nothing to compare between those two fantastic artists other then they both dropped out of school before graduation and started writing songs at a young age. Jake Bugg publicly says he didn't listen to much of Dylan's music, and instead preferred The Everly Brothers, Nick Drake, Johnny Cash, and Donovan.
Jake Bugg's album has finally been released here in America on April 9th and debuted at #75 on the
Billboard 200 Album chart. You may have heard his song "Lightning Bolt" in a recent Gatorade commercial. As of right now his video for that song has near 5 million views, and "Two Fingers" with over 4 million, and "Trouble Town" with over 1 million. Hopefully the US can "catch the Bugg" (that's Bugg with two g's!).
The whole album is fantastic and does not have a polished sound to it like most mainstream artists that use laptops to record their music on without many real instruments. He is not a fan of most of today's music. Who can blame him? He just famously had a twitter war with "One Direction" star Louis Tomlinson after saying this: "Who the f**k is saying they're the closest thing to rock stars we have these days? Oh, I'm pretty sure they have a good laugh. But it's easy to, isn't it? When you don't have to write any songs. People call them the new Beatles because they broke America, but that don't mean a thing. I mean, One Direction must know that they're terrible. They must know. Calling them the new rock stars is a ridiculous statement. And people should stop making it."
Bugg is a pretty laid back guy and if you watch any of his interviews he may appear rude, but that's just him being honestly humble. Although, he isn't shy about smoking and drinking, so maybe he also might be hungover?
Anyway, I predict he will only get better and possibly maintain a large following here in the states like over in England. I give his debut album 9 out of 10 stars.
For more you can follow him on Twitter at @JakeBugg or subscribe to his youtube page at youtube/TheJakeBugg