Weekly Capsule 04.4 & Book Review: Indexing

navy shirt wide leg jeans black booties by 14 shades of grey

My first book review of the year, and it’s one that’s right up my alley – “Indexing” by Seanan McGuire. Part fairytale retelling, part police procedural, it is set in a world where fairy tales can become real and often kill people along the way. A black-haired, pale-skinned person can be in a lot of danger from eating apples, a talented flutist can become the Pied Piper, and a girl falling into a coma can cause those around her to fall asleep as well. It tells the story of Henrietta “Henry” Marchen, an agent of the ATI (Aarne-Thompson Index, the fictional index of fairy tales) Management Bureau, who specializes in preventing fairy tales from becoming reality. While saving the lives of innocent people swept up in the narrative, Henry and her fellow agents also have to fight against their own stories and avoid becoming fairytale characters themselves.

An urban fantasy dealing with fairy tales? I was sold. Partly because I once wrote a TV pilot dealing with the same subject (though my story is more similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just replace vampires with fairy tale characters), and partly because this reminds me of the Thursday Next series, another favorite of mine. However, I was a bit disappointed with “Indexing”. The beginning is kind of slow and repetitive (I later learned that it was first released in episodes on Kindle Serial, which explains the repetition, but doesn’t make it any better), it does pick up once the main villain is introduced, but it becomes episodic and slow again at the end, and the ending just sort of happens. I was expecting something more climactic.

Also, I don’t think Henry is that engaging as the main character – she is a Snow White, and the book does a good job of showing her struggle against the princess archetype, but she is sometimes outshone by her team member, Sloane, who is supposed to be a Wicked Sister/Evil Queen. It’s more fun to read about someone trying not to be evil because some narrative force wants them to be, rather than someone trying to avoid eating apples and falling into a coma.

Still, it’s a clever take on the genre, and there are some interesting twists on the familiar characters – a male Little Mermaid and a transgendered Rose Red, for example – so it’s definitely worth checking out, if you’re a fan of this type of stories.

As for my outfit, it is based on Henry’s off-duty look – “gray stonewashed jeans and a dark blue cotton shirt that had been white when I brought it home” (because she’s a Snow White, so the narrative turns her clothes blue, you see). I don’t have gray jeans, so this is the best I could do to recreate that. And of course, I had to add my “poisoned apple” brooch too.

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wide leg jeans black booties by 14 shades of greynavy shirt apple brooch by 14 shades of grey

Shirt: Mango, Jeans: H&M (hand-me-down), Boots: Betts, Brooch: vintage

7 Comments on “Weekly Capsule 04.4 & Book Review: Indexing”

  1. Aw, my library doesn’t have this book. I would have given it a go even though it wasn’t all that, just because it sounds semi-interesting and I love fairytales. I love the brooch!

  2. Meghan @ Hayes Days says:

    It sounds like something I would enjoy, since I totally hang on every episode of “Once Upon a Time.”

  3. Mrs C says:

    I am a retired TV Producer/Writer back home before I moved abroad to pursue my husband’s career (he’s paid more than me obviously!) so I am really excited to meet another that could relate to ‘pilot’ other than the one that flies aeroplane! I remember being in mostly my t.shirts and jeans or cargo pants those days as I was always in the studio or on location. Even during office days (pre-pro/post production) As for the genre.. I wrote/produced comedy back then (sitcom mainly) so fairy-tale is really not my thing 😉

  4. Your apple brooch is one of my favorite pieces; I just love it every time you wear it.

    And you read the most interesting books! I’m adding this to my to read list!

    Thanks so much for linking up!

  5. Ha! I was reading the description and thinking it sounded like Thursday Next, and then you said it! LOVE the brooch!

  6. […] are now having troubles adjusting to the “normal” world. I’ve read Seanan McGuire before, and I’ve started to recognize a pattern here – her world-building is top-notch and her […]

  7. […] is the second book in the “Indexing” series (read my review of the first book here), and it continues to follow Agent Henrietta “Henry” Marchen and her team as they try […]

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