Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant is scheduled to be the Principal Speaker at Philcon 2017. So enjoying Urban Fantasy from time to time and never having read Ms. McGuire in either of her guises, I decided to give her a try.
Discount Armageddon, first published in 2012, is the first volume in the InCryptid series. I liked the unusual variety of non-human critters living in the shadows and subterranean depths of New York city. Rather than the typical vampires, werewolves and fae - McGuire gives you bogeymen, bugbears, dragon princesses, ghouls, lesser gorgon, and a horde of other supernatural beings, including the Aeslin Mice. The comic relief provided by the talking, protagonist-worshiping mice is in many ways the highlight of the book.
Protagonist Verity Price hails from a family that spends time studying the Cryptids (as the non-humans are called) and alternately exterminating those Cryptids who indiscriminately prey on humans and protecting the remaining Cryptids from humans who prey on them. The Covenant of St. George believes that the only good Cryptid is a dead Cryptid. Early in Discount Armageddon, Verity meets the Covenant’s newest operative, Dominic De Luca, who has been dispatched to New York to see if the Cryptid population is significant enough to warrant a purge. Not surprisingly, Verity and Dominic become allies as the book progresses.
While the romp through the sewers of New York to figure out why unmated female Cryptids are disappearing is entertaining enough and the actual bedding occurs off-screen, the predictable romance aspects detracted from the overall story. There were other intangibles that I can’t quite articulate that made this an enjoyable 4-star read rather than a mind-blowing 5-star masterpiece.
I liked Discount Armageddon enough that I intend to read at least a few more of Ms. McGuire’s books before her appearance at Philcon next year.