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I Belong

Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Title: Discount Armageddon

Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: InCryptid (Book 1)

Publication Date: March 6, 2012

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0756407133 (DAW/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0756407131 (DAW/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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…

A lifetime of training isn’t enough to prepare Verity for what’s ahead—especially not for Dominic De Luca, the Covenant’s newest operative. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

Quick & Dirty: Snake, shapeshifters and dragons! Oh my! Brilliant and witty world-building to this Urban Fantasy series but long expositions and info dumping may turn off some readers.

Opening Sentence: Verity danced circles around the living room, her amateurish pirouettes and unsteady leaps accompanied by cheers and exultations from the horde of Aeslin mice perched on the back of the couch.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Verity Price comes from a family of monster hunters/sympathizers but all Verity wants to do is dance. She has moved to Manhattan to see if she could juggle her life as a cryptozoologist and a career in dancing. Her day job is a cocktail waitress for a strip club that is run by a bogeyman and she works alongside other cryptids. Verity’s day job and her family name allow her to learn more about the cryptids in her community.

The Price family broke away from the Covenant of St. George many years ago when they deemed that killing all monsters on site was cruel but also detrimental to the environment. The Covenant wants the Price family dead so the Prices have been in hiding ever since. Verity dances under another identity so as to not get caught. So the night when she gets caught in a Covenant trap by the sexy Dominic De Luca and gives away her family name right away made me wonder how smart she really is. Although I’m sure it is because she thought she could take him out before he gave away her identity.

Weeks pass since Verity met Dominic and she learns that cryptids have begun to go missing. Secretly she believes that Dominic is behind the disappearances but when she gets wind of something huge sleeping underneath the city she finds out something far more sinister is behind it. Verity and Dominic try to work together to learn more about the dragon sleeping under the city and who is behind all of the disappearances while figuring out if they can trust each other.

Verity is smart (but that can be questionable at times), funny and sarcastic. Verity would be the fun friend at a party but to hang out with her would be dangerous. Also, Verity lives with a bunch of Aeslin mice which speak English and somewhat clean up after themselves but can that really be sanitary? The mice are hilarious company but they would probably drive me crazy with their many holidays. Dominic De Luca is a little more practical about the events that are going on around him but his Covenant brainwashing still makes him a little boneheaded.

As the first book in a series Discount Armageddon comes off as a long info dump. Verity will go into long expositions about the creatures, what they are, how dangerous or not dangerous they are and if her family has any history with them. There are quite a few cryptids introduced in this book that make it a little hard to keep track of who is what but the Field Guide at the end of the book comes in handy at times. The world is dangerously deceptive but I relished the history and type of creatures that Seanan McGuire used in Discount Armageddon.

Overall, Discount Armageddon is a fascinating take on a whole new Urban Fantasy series. If you don’t like books with quite a bit of info dumping and long expositions then you may not care for this book but if you like sarcastic women, sexy men and interesting creatures then I would say give this book a try. I can’t wait to see what is next for Verity Price and Dominic De Luca.

Notable Scene:

The darkness boiled, and out of it came the servitors. There was no posturing this time; they moved with the speed of striking cobras, coming too fast for me to count. This game was at least as large as the one Dominic and I fought off together, and that had been a close victory. If I couldn’t find an escape route, the best I could hope for would be a swift and reasonably painless death. Piyusha’s body provided a mute, horrifying example of what the worst would be.

I launched myself into a high kick, my toe catching the lead servitor in the chin as I slashed out to either side with my respective weapons. I felt, rather than saw, the machete find a target, hacking deep into scaled flesh. The flensing knife hit nothing but air, but at least it drove back the attacker on that side, giving me a little more space in which to maneuver. None of the servitors went down. That would have been too much to hope for.

My lead foot finished its arc, hitting the floor just in front of the servitor I’d kicked. He looked dazed. I took advantage of the hole in his guard, bringing my other leg up and kneeing him firmly in the groin. Whatever mutagenic process created the servitors, some attributes of their mammalian origins remained intact; as soon as my knee hit his nuts, he doubled over, allowing me to bring my machete down across the back of his neck. He toppled.

I was still wrenching my machete free when a tail snaked out of the darkness behind me and wrapped noose-tight around my neck, jerking me backward. My hand lost its grip on the machete handle, leaving me with nothing but the flensing knife, which I didn’t dare start waving around my own throat. I dropped it instead, frantically clawing at the tail that was in the process of choking me. Air had suddenly become a much more valuable commodity with weaponry.

My fingernails couldn’t find traction on the scales covering the servitor’s flesh. One of my nails caught and tore, the sharp flare of pain barely distracting from the all-encompassing pain in my neck. My vision was starting to blur around the edges as oxygen deprivation set in. I kicked and thrashed, but my feet didn’t make contact with anything. Suffocation is one of those things you just don’t learn how to fight through. Big problem, that.

The InCryptid Series:

1. Discount Armageddon

2. Midnight Blue-Light Special (March 5, 2013)

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

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