Saturday, 11 August 2018

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire is the first book in the author's InCryptid urban fantasy series. I've previously read many books and stories by Seanan McGuire (and her alter ego Mira Grant) but this is only my second foray into her urban fantasy novels.

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

When I was pressed for time towards the end of Hugo voting season, I decided to make my last few decisions by reading the first couple of chapters of the remaining books, this one among them. After that I had to get back to other (review) books, but when I had the chance, this was the book I wanted to pick up the most. It was the sentient, religious mice that really won me over.

The protagonist of this story is the scion of a family that used to be part of the "exterminate everything supernatural" society (aka the Covenant) until her great-grandparent defected. Now they study and protect the supernatural and stop the more aggressive members of that group from preying on humans. Verity in particular is well trained in fighting and enjoys cryptozoology and ballroom dancing. She's making a go of in New York: dancing, waitressing in a strip club (hence the cover art) and keeping the peace. The main story happens when a chap from the Covenant shows up, intent on a purge, but not responsible for a spate of recent disappearances...

This wasn't a complicated read but it was a fun one. As I said, I really liked the mice and most of the other characters also made for fun reading (basically, except for the bad guys). I felt a bit meh with regards to the romantic storyline, which was simultaneously a bit underdeveloped and predictable — the latter partly because there weren't many other male characters around. (On the other hand, yay for lots of female characters!)

I quite enjoyed this book and found it enough of a fun read that I am definitely interested in continuing with the series. I definitely recommend it to fans of urban fantasy looking for a fun read with a bit of a scientific take on different supernatural creatures. As it happens, I picked up book 2 on sale in paper (urgh) several years ago, so I already have it waiting on my shelf, huzzah. So I will be getting to that just as soon as I can bring myself to read a paper book again.

4 / 5 stars

First published: 2012, Daw
Series: InCryptid book 1 of 7 so far with more on the way
Format read: ePub
Source: Hugo Voter Packet (in this case, from the publisher via NetGalley)

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