Series Review: InCryptid, Books 4-6 by Seanan McGuire

Series Review: InCryptid, Books 4-6 by Seanan McGuirePocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #4
Published by DAW on March 3, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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three-stars

Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.
Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.

Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.

Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.

Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.

Despite being set in Australia like I hoped, Pocket Apocalypse is my least favorite InCryptid book so far. It’s not bad, but Alex was already isolated from his family, and he only gets more isolated when he goes to Australia.

Much as I want to love Alex, I don’t. I like him fairly well, but he’s by far the most boring Price. He’s more into science and thinking, where Verity leaps into everything from off of a building. Guess which is most fun?! Shelby’s nice enough, though I’m admittedly not into this ship because Alex pointed out in the narration how much she looks like most of the women in his family. It’s also one of those cases where they were already together when Half-Off Ragnarok began, so I didn’t get to experience their growing feelings.

In Pocket Apocalypse, they fly to Australia to help Shelby’s family deal with an outbreak of werewolves. The werewolf mythos is really cool and terrifying, which I love. However, I’m not especially invested in Alex or Shelby, and I’m even less invested in Shelby’s family. The rest of the Prices basically aren’t in it. Pocket Apocalypse is a great story with all the action McGuire’s so good at, but emotionally I just wasn’t in it.

I really hope there aren’t any more Alex-centric books. He’s the drip of the Price clan, and I really don’t need more of his POV.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 
Me, to Alex

Series Review: InCryptid, Books 4-6 by Seanan McGuireChaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #5
Published by DAW on March 1, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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three-half-stars

Fifth book in Seanan McGuire’s funny and fast-paced urban fantasy InCryptid series featuring ballroom dancer and monster expert Verity Price.

Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She’s rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her—or so she thinks. When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.

Of course, nothing is that simple. When two contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find with the investigation, without blowing her cover…

YAY! VERITY IS BACK! I’m so so happy to have Verity back instead of Alex. Sorry, Alex, but damn. Chaos Choreography moves the series back in a higher stakes direction, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Verity finally arrives in Portland to the family’s house, now married to Dominic, only to immediately leave for California to film an all-stars season of her dance reality show. Unsurprisingly, dead bodies start appearing, and Verity has a cryptid mystery on her hands. I think I’d have liked this one more if it hadn’t been yet another snake cult; been there, done that, have the t-shirt, but admittedly this one’s very different and dramatic. The ending of Chaos Choreography is completely bonkers in the best way.

What I loved best about Chaos Choreography was meeting Verity’s grandma Alice. We’ve been hearing about her since book one, and she really doesn’t disappoint. I want an Alice book, like, a lot. (Meg, you will fucking love Alice whenever you get back into this series.) I called most of the bad guys but not all, and I did enjoy the dance drama quite a bit too. It’s a really solid and fun installment, and it leaves the series poised to go absurdly high stakes again in the next book.

After the doldrums of the Alex books, Chaos Choreography brings back the fast-paced rhythm.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: InCryptid, Books 4-6 by Seanan McGuireMagic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #3
Published by DAW on March 7, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 342
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
four-stars

Improbable, adjective:
1. Not very likely to happen; not probable.
2. Probably not a very good idea anyway.
3. See also “bad plan.”

As the youngest of the three Price children, Antimony is used to people not expecting much from her. She’s been happy playing roller derby and hanging out with her cousins, leaving the globe-trotting to her older siblings while she stays at home and tries to decide what she wants to do with her life. She always knew that one day, things would have to change. She didn’t think they’d change so fast.

Annie’s expectations keep getting shattered. She didn’t expect Verity to declare war on the Covenant of St. George on live television. She didn’t expect the Covenant to take her sister’s threat seriously. And she definitely didn’t expect to be packed off to London to infiltrate the Covenant from the inside…but as the only Price in her generation without a strong resemblance to the rest of the family, she’s the perfect choice to play spy. They need to know what’s coming. Their lives may depend on it.

But Annie has some secrets of her own, like the fact that she’s started setting things on fire when she touches them, and has no idea how to control it. Now she’s headed halfway around the world, into the den of the enemy, where blowing her cover could get her killed. She’s pretty sure things can’t get much worse.

Antimony Price is about to learn just how wrong it’s possible for one cryptozoologist to be.

Ever since book one, I’ve been looking forward to meeting Antimony Price up close and personal. Like, of course, I want the book about the bitchy sister with the tendency to trap her siblings in deadly traps, and I just assume she’ll have the best the ship. With Magic for Nothing, the InCryptid series reaches a level of quality that has been missing since Alex took over in book three.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of the InCryptid series, but, where it starts with a bang and October Daye starts really slow, it hasn’t maintained consistent tension and quality. October Daye builds with intensity book after book, and they become more and more emotional with every single installment, because you get to know the cast better with every book. With the narrator changes every book or two and the traveling those characters are doing, by the time you’re fond of the secondary characters, you move to a new narrator or the original narrator has moved to somewhere else. This allows for a potentially pretty endless series, but it does lower the emotional investment.

Antimony wasn’t what I expected her to be almost across the board, but that’s actually one of my favorite things about her. The way that others see her versus the way she actually is makes for a really fascinating dichotomy, and it’s a reminder of how different people can be from our impressions of them. Antimony’s a badass sure, but she’s not as fierce and borderline sociopathic as her family seems to think. She’s the baby of the family, and she’s desperate to prove herself and to gain some real respect from her family. Courtesy of Verity’s idiotic stunt on live TV (it’s also really interesting to see Verity through Antimony’s eyes), Annie gets her first mission: infiltrating the Covenant of St. George.

This plot is by far the highest stakes one out of the gate since book two. Book five had high stakes but you didn’t realize that until the very end. That said, McGuire didn’t quite deliver the high octane book I was anticipating. This is both good and bad. The time at the Covenant turns out to be brief and anticlimactic, as they quickly assign her to infiltrate a carnival. The stakes raise again at the end when things go bonkers in classic McGuire style, and holy shit that ending hurt me.

My favorite part, true to form, is the chemistry between Antimony and Sam. Big surprise, when she walks into his grandmother’s carnival, he hates her, and they banter grumpily at each other. He’s also a hot, Chinese cryptid who performs on the trapeze, so like HELL TO THE YES. There hasn’t been as much diversity in this series so far, so I’m thrilled there’s finally an interracial main couple (there’s also a lesbian Price cousin in the opening chapters, and I hope she gets some focus at some point). The banter is excellent, and I’d say this is poised to be the best (and most painful) ship of the series.

That ending was cruel and now that I’m caught up, I actually have to wait AGES to read the next book. It’s pretty damn unfair. I NEED MORE SAM POSTHASTE.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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