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review 2018-07-09 13:36
"Discount Armageddon - InCryptid #1" by Seanan McGuire
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

I've joined this party a little late. I didn't know about Seanan McGuire until I read the serious and pain-filled "Rosemary and Rue"a few months ago.

 

"Discount Armageddon" is almost the mirror image of "Rosemary and Rue". It's fast, light and witty in a superficial denying-the-danger kind of way. It reaches for sassy, willfully unconventional and effortlessly lethal and makes it most of the time.

It has a great opening line:

"I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, dear. You don't know where its been."

It's sprinkled with clever descriptions that made me smile. Here are a couple of examples:

 

Verity Price on her unconventional childhood

"Other kids got chores and teddy bears; we got gun safety classes and heavy weaponry. Normal’s what you make it."

Verity on first encountering the straight-laced but soon to be undone Covenant new-crusader-in-town who has snared her on a rooftop:

"Straightening, he puffed out his chest and said, “I am armored with righteousness.” 'Does righteousness protect you from small-caliber bullets?'"

I loved the premise of a family leaving the God-Wants-Us-To-Kill-The-Monsters cult and becoming cryptozoologists working with the Cryptids/monsters to create a stable ecosystem - how on message is that. The plot was clever without being too demanding. The originality and variety of cryptids encountered were fun. The mice were cute. The ballroom dancing was... exotic.

 

At times, I thought the pace lagged a little. The sex was eye-rolling but I'm almost sure that was intentional.

 

In the end, much depended on whether you liked Verity Price and cared what happened to her. I decided that I did and that I want to know more - in small doses - so I'm signing on for the next book in the series.

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review 2018-07-08 12:34
Discount Armageddon
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

So, I finally finished. I really liked Verity, and, while other reviews thought her ballroom dancing hobby interfered with the story, I strongly disagree. After all her conditioning from her 'hobby' is what helped her through her ordeals. While this series jumps between her and her siblings, if I get a chance to read anymore, I'll cherry pick Verity's episodes. 

Having a huge backlog of books with new ones all the time, and my own writing, will make it hard to find time to pick up another one though. Today my daughter and grandkids arrive for a week's stay then I'm meeting them for ten days in Europe before they return home to Bahrain, so I'll sort of be busy and, I already have two books (Circe and The Little Paris Bookshop) set aside for that trip. As it is I'll have to pass on reading The Inner Life of Cats in July. Just too much. I'll still read it in the future but I don't want to just skim it. I'm no scientist but thanks to a lifetime with cats, especially Io and Iris, the two teenage girls I have now, I know them pretty well.  

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review 2018-07-06 13:18
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

I first read Discount Armageddon a couple of years ago, when I was in a bit of an urban fantasy phase and started a bunch of series - I carried on with a couple of series, at least for a while, but this wasn't one of them. Not because I didn't enjoy it, since I gave it 4 stars at the time, but for no particular reason at all, so in some ways I'm glad that the series being nominated for the Hugo has made me pick it up again (with some assistance from Netgalley). 

 

The basic premise, like much urban fantasy, is that all of those monsters etc. are real and they live alongside humanity, though in the case of this series since we're mostly working from the perspective of someone who's trying to understand them (rather than kill them), the term 'cryptid' is most used. Our protagonist in this book and the next in the series is Verity Price, part of a family who parted ways a couple of centuries earlier with an organisation called the Covenant who think that the only good cryptid is a dead cryptid.

 

Alongside a shitty job working as a waitress in a mostly-cryptid strip joint, Verity is also a wannabe dancer and takes part in competitions (and a reality TV show) under an assumed name. In hindsight, I think it was this aspect of the character that I didn't care for as much this time around. When a representative of the Covenant who just happens to be tall, dark and handsome turns up in New York, Verity unsurprisingly ends up having sex with him while also dealing with a plot to wake a dragon buried under the city's streets. 

 

All in all, Discount Armageddon does what it needs to do - a lot of world-building for following books in the series, introductions of the main characters and cryptid types, and it can't be faulted for that. On a re-read, I found Verity a little more annoying than previously and the insta-romance a bit obvious, not that this has stopped me moving on to the next book in the series (Midnight Blue-Light Special) since I have it to hand...

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review 2018-07-06 12:28
What if mythological creatures existed?
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

What if the snarky scientists studied them?   Well, then you'd have this.   It's actually a lot more complicated: Seanan McGuire creates a nice blend of monsters that you know, and her own species.   The boogeymen are a known quantity to us, but what McGuire does with them is place them in a known framework and then make them sympathetic; she does not tow the line when it comes to cryptozoological species.   She makes them her own, makes us sympathize with most of them, and then places them in a very real New York City that has a for the most part unseen side filled with boogeymen, dragon princesses, medusa, Aeslin mice, and the list goes on and on.   

 

She also creates the Covenant of St. George, which is determined to see the extinction of everything that isn't human.   Except that cryptozoological creatures have a place in the ecosystem, giving some reason to keep them alive and thriving.   Which is where Verity Price's family comes in: they've left the Covenant a couple generations ago, and are considered traitors to be executed.   Or they would be if the Covenant didn't believe that they were all dead.   

 

So Verity is a cryptozoologist who needs to to keep these distinct species alive, without attracting the attention of the world which isn't ready to accept them yet while dodging the unwanted attention of the Covenant.   (She's also working as a waitress at a strip joint that employees the species she studies, and is trying to launch a ballroom dancing career.)

 

Very is clever, snarky, and just made this novel for me.   I really just love her as a character.   I also love the Aeslin mice and Istas.   But on top of the fantastic world building and amazing characters, McGuire brings a kick-ass plot.   Literally most of the time.   

 

With Covenant agent Dominic DeLuca in town getting ready for a purge - like it sounds, it purges cryptozoological creatures from a city, Very has to try to stop Dom from killing her friends and investigate the disappearances of cryptozoological creatures - and then maybe she can think about the purge. 

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review 2018-07-05 22:09
Review: Discount Armageddon
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire

This is a fun ride with a great protagonist and a ton of fantastic characters. Religious mice, ballroom dancing, ass kicking, and nerding out in a blender on a bar in a strip club called Dave's Fish and Strips. This series has a lot of potential, and I look forward to reading more in it.

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