Author: Seanan McGuire
Title: Discount Armageddon
Series: InCryptid 1
Rating: Four Petals
On the Author's Website:
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...
Discount Armageddon is difficult to describe. It's a study in contrasts. Verity, the main character, is a hardened cryptozoologist who spends her nights prowling the rooftops of New York City looking for magical creatures. She helps those that are in trouble and kills those looking to make trouble. Yet, she's also a professional ballroom dancer. The balance between getting the tango competition right and finding a costume that will allow her to hide a gun just in case was very interesting. The humor in the book was also an interesting balance McGuire managed. Between the constantly celebrating mice, the ridiculous issues Verity kept running into, and the constant jokes scattered through the pages this book should have come across as irreverent, yet somehow the book managed to stay serious enough that when there were difficulties that by necessity were devoid of humor I wasn't totally thrown by the sudden difference. It takes a lot of skill to keep that balance.
Overall I did enjoy the plot of this book. I believed in Verity's cause to keep the magical creatures of the world safe and her fight to keep the dragon from destroying the city was also well formed. I particularly liked the depth to the world building: there were mentions of her family fighting magical creatures in multiple states as well as other magical instances occurring around the world. Every mention outside of Verity's small slice of the world added believably to the sometimes ridiculous things she encountered, which kept the story grounded.
I was less impressed with the romance in the book. Dominic De Luca is essentially a giant cliche. He's a very handsome man, strong, and raised by the bad guys so his brain's a little scrambled. All Verity needs to do is show him the light and suddenly he's her lover. There is some depth to him, but it wasn't really explored in this story. I'm hoping that is something McGuire will be rectifying in a future book in the series.
I do recommend this book. It was funny without going over the top and the plot was interesting. The romance needed a touch more depth to be believable, but overall I enjoyed reading this book.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.