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Indexing by Seanan McGuire

Indexing (edition 2014)

by Seanan McGuire

Series: Indexing (1)

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2811840,152 (3.96)30
Authors:Seanan McGuire
Info:47North (2014), Paperback, 418 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:urban fantasy, fairy tale retelling

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Indexing by Seanan McGuire



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In this urban fantasy, fairy tales can kill. A person can get caught up in their story and then the narrative will carry that person to the forgone conclusion. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Sleeping Beauty, a Wicked Stepsister, or a Pied Piper, eventually the story will be too strong for you to ignore and then you will no longer have a choice.

Henrietta (Henry) Marchen runs an indexing team for the ATI Management Bureau. They are tasked with tracking down these narratives that just went active, indexing them (which is figuring out what class of fairy tale and how strong they are), and diffusing them before the story creates a body count. Sometimes the only way to diffuse a narrative is to take out the human at the center of the story, because they are no longer in control of their actions. Henry has to make some tough calls during this tale. Her little team is like family; they all have their hangups and they all care about each other.

In truth, I did find some aspects of this book difficult to keep track of. Once I figured out what was going on with the narrative, it got a little easier. Sometimes the long wordy explanations (which might have been a spoof on actual government procedure documents) was cumbersome and didn’t really help explain anything. Plus, they were a bit boring. Rather, the conversations between characters did the best to explain how a fairy tale can take over a small piece of reality and what, if anything, the ATI folks could do about it.

Other than that, there was some great stuff going on in this book. I liked thinking of modern Sleeping Beautys or Snow Whites trying to make their way working in an office or a daycare center. It often gave me a chuckle. My favorite side character was Sloan Winters. She was awesome! She got to say all sorts of cranky things I wish I could say at the office, and her team understood because that’s how her fairy tale built her. McGuire also pays a nod to the transgender community with a character and I thought that was well done.

There’s also this murder mystery going on. At first, it looks like random narrative attacks and there’s a few bodies piling up. However, the indexing team does love to analyze stuff so pretty soon it looks like there’s some sort of pattern and perhaps someone or something is controlling the narrative outbreaks. The murder mystery part took some time to get going, but once it did, it really added to the story.

Over all, I did enjoy this book, though I find McGuire’s other urban fantasy series, the Toby Daye series, much easier to get into. That series teaches you the rules as you go along, whereas this series tends to have big chunks of convoluted rules dumped on you, sometimes repeatedly. Still, I think it’s worth the time and effort.

I had access to a free copy of this book through the Kindle Unlimited program.

The Narration: Mary Robinette Kowal did a good job, as usual. I really liked her voice for Sloan, who is always snappish. She did a great job shifting from a character’s every day voice to their ‘possessed’ fairy tale voice. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Dec 21, 2016 |
favorite author stikes again! ( )
  mystic506 | Sep 3, 2016 |
This apparently started out as a Kindle serial. Glad that I was able to read it all at once. I do enjoy her writing style. This feels like it could have another book for a series. It stands alone as it is. We have field agents that are dealing with activated fairy tales in the real world. The lead agent is a potential Snow White and one of her co-workers is a Wicked Step-sister. Read this through the library and will have to return and request it again so my husband can read it.
( )
  pnwbookgirl | Feb 7, 2016 |
McGuire tells a very interesting take on what would happen if fairy tales were real. The city is in danger of being over run by the narrative. Even the special agency in charged is not sure what is going on. It is a wonderfully creative idea. ( )
  LacyLK | Nov 21, 2015 |
Where “once upon a time” doesn’t lead to “happily ever after”

Fairy tales are real! And that’s not a good thing. Do we really want whole towns falling asleep for 100 years because a Sleeping Beauty’s story has gone active? In this book fairy tales are like a constantly mutating force of nature that’s trying to manifest in our “real” world, so of course there's a secret government agency, the ATI Management Bureau, whose agents spend their time running between potential story disasters in the struggle to keep us all safe.

Most of the members of the team we follow have had their own lives almost derailed by fairy tales--there’s a Snow White (who’s haunted by the smell of apples and pursued by determined woodland creatures), a cobbler elf (who’s constantly trying to make, fix or organize things), an evil stepsister (who has to suppress her natural urge to kill other team members) and a Pied Piper (who’s new on the job and is having a hard time adjusting to her changed reality.)

The book has an urban fantasy tone that’s light on romance, somewhat dark, often funny, and very imaginative. Seanan McGuire knows a lot about fairy tales, myths, and nursery rhymes, which she uses to great effect. As a bibliophile I can’t resist a good “stories are real!” motif (another example being Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series.) Indexing began its life as a Kindle Serial, with chapters released every few weeks, but I listened to the audio version, narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal, who is fantastic at giving each character a distinctive voice--a great boon since I was “reading” while driving. ( )
1 vote Jaylia3 | Sep 17, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Seanan McGuireprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kowal, Mary RobinetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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