Dec. 16th, 2012

capfox: (Looks Can Deceive)
I'm not really sure in the end what connection that title has to the book. Maybe I just missed it? It's a good title, though.

Book #43: Discount Armageddon
Author: Seanan McGuire
Provenance: Borrowed from Westmount Library

Seanan McGuire's been an author that I've been meaning to try for a while. I've heard good things about the Toby Daye series, and I do like urban fantasy stuff, so she sounded like a good fit. But I didn't really feel like starting a more established series, and when I heard she was starting another one, I thought I'd jump on that train instead. Particularly when that train, the InCryptid series, has such a nice pun in the series name, and, c'mon, Discount Armageddon, that's a cool name for a book. Eye-catching. Although eye-catching in a worse way (at least, from my perspective) was the cover, featuring a city landscape at night with our lead character in a pink halter and pink plaid skirt, carrying a gun (which, at least, that's sort of an outfit from the story. I know I shouldn't be embarrassed by what I read, but... yeah. I mostly knocked this one off at home.

The whole story here's not an embarrassment at all, really. Our heroine, Verity Price, is a member of the youngest generation of a family of, well, cryptid managers / police, in a sense. They keep an eye on the paranormal populations in their territories, New York in Verity's case, and while most of them just generally go about their own lives quietly, there are some who look to prey on the population at large. And that, of course, is also Verity's job - she keeps them in line, through words or through a well-placed ass-kicking. This job doesn't much pay the bills, though, so she works a cover job as a waitress at a strip club where most of the strippers are local non-humans of one variety or another. But really? Really what she wants? Is to be a real honest-to-God ballroom dancing champ.

So there are a lot of parts here to look at, and the plot is tipped off by the arrival of an agent from the organization that Verity's family used to work with, the Covenant of St. George, who has rather a different idea of what to be doing with those cryptids about, a rather more violently final one. So with a kill-'em-all agent, Dominic de Luca, showing up, Verity has to protect the group, and as she gets to know de Luca more, things get more... complicated.

The plot actually does work pretty well, a fairly driving and enjoyable tale, but in this case, it's the characters that really made the story for me: Verity, our first-person narrator, with a world-weary, tongue-in-cheek, but driven voice, proud of her accomplishments, but not really happy with her life; Sarah, her cryptid cousin, with psychic powers and an interesting biology; Dominic, a holy warrior, yes, but not immune to new ideas; oh, all of them, Verity's family, the super religious cult-of-the-Price-family mice in Verity's apartment, the whole world. It's well thought out and well-realized, and it gives the plot that much more heft. This one, it's a lot of understanding Verity's world and then messing it around, as befits the first book in a series, and it pays off. You get the regular kind of showing how this world differs from the real one, who inhabits it and setting the rules, and then lets things tick off the rails nicely.

All of which is to say, I did quite enjoy this. I'll have to try her other series soon, but this one makes for a nice, fast adventure, with good characters and a nice style. I see what the fuss was about, for sure. And even if I do think I'll try out Toby Daye, I'm looking forward to more about Verity, as well. Definitely a good read here for urban fantasy fans.

Next up: Hmmm. Maybe a Terrible Splendor this time? The Last Policeman? One of those should be good.

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