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I Belong

Review: Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire

Chaos ChoreographyTitle: Chaos Choreography

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: InCryptid (Book #5)

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 075640813X (DAW/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0756408138 (DAW/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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…

Quick & Dirty: Funny, dark, action-packed and with a guest appearance by Verity’s grandma Alice. This book is the best in the series so far!

Opening Sentence: “When we took the stage at the start of the season, twenty dancers stood before you, ready to dazzle you with their talent, strength, and personalities.”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Chaos Choreography is the fifth novel in the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. After being away from Verity for two novels we get back to her for this dance-filled murder mystery. I think the most exciting thing for me with this novel was that Verity gets to team up with her infamous/famous grandma Alice! I’ve been waiting to meet her since the beginning of this series. You could honestly pick up this novel and not have read the previous novels in the series. There is some background information that might be useful for characterization but otherwise it doesn’t spoil any previous books.

A year has passed since Verity and Dominic left New York for Verity’s home in Oregon. She has finally determined that she will follow the family’s cryptozoological mission instead of dancing. As she is settling down into domestic life, she gets an opportunity that she thought she would never get again, to dance. Dance or Die, the reality show that launched her dancing career, wants Verity back on the show to dance against past contestants. Verity agrees only because she along with her family know she will always think ‘what if’ if she doesn’t do it.

Dance or Die ends up being quite literal in its name when Verity discovers past contestants die after being eliminated. It is only by accident that the bodies were discovered otherwise the scheming would have went undetected. Verity’s grandmother Alice is sent to help out Verity once it is discovered that she would need some very powerful backup to help fight. A snake cult is behind the deaths and they are extremely powerful with magic to help them in their quest to bring a mighty snake god into this world.

Verity had already made her decision to follow her family instead of dance but being drawn back into the dancing world she was beginning to wonder if she had made a mistake. What I really liked about this story is how Verity’s emotions are finally resolved on this issue even as it leads to its heartbreaking ending.

I loved finally seeing Alice on the page and how crazy, funny and potentially deadly she is and especially to see some of her secrets.  I really hope I can catch up on some of the short stories that Seanan has written in this series because I’m sure Alice shows up in those more. Alice is a character I hope to read more about and I hope her story ends better than her family thinks it will.

This novel kept me guessing from beginning to the ultimate climax of the story. I never saw that one coming, I figured it was someone else the entire time. I really like that when the author can surprise me with who the bad guy or gal is in the end. This novel kept me in suspense the entire time.

Overall, this novel was my favorite so far in this series. The ending was crazy and I can’t wait to see how these events play out in the overall series because nothing will ever be the same for the Price family from here on out. I am really looking forward to finally getting Antimony’s story in the sixth book.

Notable Scene:

She gripped the bottom of the garage door and hauled upward. I moved to help, and she shot me a grateful look as the door slid up, revealing a garage packed stem to stern with boxes, piles of yard equipment, and old, tangled Christmas lights. A space had been cleared off to one side, the scrapes in the dirt on the floor showing how quickly the job had been done. There was a motorcycle parked there, old and battered but still sturdy-looking, like it had been driven a long way to get here, and was more than ready to drive back.

“There she is,” said Alice. “California has helmet laws, right?”

“Right,” I said uneasily. I’ve never been a big fan of motorcycles. They seem like an even faster route to a horrible death than the usual cars. “I like helmets. They’re like exoskeletons for your skull. Please tell me you have helmets.”

“I have helmets,” said Alice. She reached into the pile of boxes, withdrawing two brown lumps that looked like they came from roughly the same era as the bike itself. Privately, I resolved to walk home. “Don’t make that face. They’re not cute, but they’re street legal, and they’ll protect your head. Not that I’m planning to have an accident. Road rash isn’t my idea of a good time.”

“Grandma, your idea of a good time involves gutting things.”

“True enough,” said Alice, apparently unoffended. “Blood is good for your hair, and internal organs are good for your skin. Put your helmet on, and don’t talk back.”

I rolled my eyes, pulled off my wig, and put the helmet on.

The little ghoul was still playing tea party when the motorcycle came zooming down the driveway, my grandmother leaning forward to reduce our wind drag, me clinging to her for dear life. The little ghoul raised a hand in a wave. To my dismay, Alice returned it. I hugged her tighter, and she laughed, and drove on into the night.

The InCryptids Series:

1. Discount Armageddon

2. Midnight Blue-Light Special

3. Half-Off Ragnarok

4. Pocket Apocalypse

5. Chaos Choreography

6. Magic For Nothing

7. Tricks for Free


FTC Advisory: DAW/Penguin provided me with a copy of Chaos Choreography. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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