Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire
Series: Ghost Roads #1
Published by DAW Books on June 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.
It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.
They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.
You can’t kill what’s already dead. (
Sparrow Hill Road is a bit disjointed. Now I’m not sure if that is literary genius because the main character is a ghost and so her life/afterlife IS a little disjointed time-wise or because that is just the nature of this collection of stories.
Rose is dead and she has been for about sixty years now but that doesn’t stop her from hitching a ride now and again and dropping into the living world to have a little bit of a good time or help someone in need. Sometimes she is able to save them, but other times, she is only able to help them after and make sure they don’t get stuck in the in-between of life and death.
Some of these stories could be really sad, depending on how you view death. I tried to just go with this storie’s version of it; it was just a doorway to a new adventure and so it was okay when one of the people Rose tried to help live ended up dead. At least she was there to hold their hand and make sure they ended up where they were supposed to go.
Rose is the main character of a thousand different ghost stories. Some of them more true than others, in some she is the source of death and in others she is the guardian angel looking out for the living in diners, truck stops and on highways.
Overall Rose is really likable and she has a pretty good understanding of her death now. She even has a bit of a calling and a few friends to boot. Still she is always looking over her shoulder, watching out for the man that killed her on Sparrow Hill Road and trying desperately to save more people for becoming another victim to the man in the car that made a deal with the devil.
There are parts in this which made me happy and some made me almost cry. I really loved getting Rose’s story of her death; it was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time. I have mixed feeling about Gary and his choices BUT I reserve judgement because I think later it is going to work out as a really weird type of HEA, if ghosts get those.
The world building of the twilight and midnight was interesting and I liked the glimpses we got into the different kinds of ghosts that can be made and what they might be up to. I also really liked the possibilities this presented for future stories and other things from death lore that popped up like Valkeries (I’m very interested in those creatures). It seems like just about anything could happen and I like jumping into Urban Fantasy that stretches the norms of the genre and takes chances on new ideas you don’t see often, especially as the main focus and a dead girl being the MC is definitely not something I’ve read until now.
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Sometimes its hard to review a book when you’re not sure of the author’s intent. I struggle most with satire b/c I’m never sure if its a straight story with an oddness to the plot or if its satire and meant to be off. I guess trying to portray ghost-ness would do that, too. LOL
I do like that it got to your emotions and had you engaged with Rose’s story.
Yeah I know what you mean.
I like the Seanan McGuire takes some risks with the stuff she writes and is willing to tackle things like death in a different way. It makes her work very imaginative and interesting, but sometimes it is a little weird.
This is another author I want to read. But I think I will start with the October Daye series and maybe the Incryptid ones.
That is really where to start for sure. I started with October Daye and didn’t love the first book. It is darker than I’m used to. But the second book in the series was better and the third book had me totally hooked. Now it is one of my favorite series.
Incryptid is lighter and fun as well. I loved that series from day 1.
I enjoyed this, but it wasn’t one of my favorites by her. I do have book 2 lined up in my queue to read.
Me too. She is an author that I always appreciate some of the risks she takes in her writing but sometimes it misses the mark a little. Still her creativity and willingness to tackle death stories is wonderful.
When I first heard about this series, I was really surprised to learn that the first book consisted of a collection of stories. I like the fact that focus of the stories is a ghost. I will have to keep in mind that this one jumps around in time.
Yeah 60 years as a ghost so some of the book is her life and how she died and then some of it is her as a ghost and how that works and how she helps people cross over or avoid death completely. It is interesting but it definitely isn’t linear.