Verity Price is a cryptozoologist and a competitive ballroom dancer. Living in a world full of cryptids, or species that aren’t humans or animals as we know them, it’s her job discover those which aren’t harmful and the protect them against the Covenant, a group whose aim is to eliminate as many of them as possible. Her family, the Prices, were formerly members of the Covenant, and as such any Covenant member is not likely to view her favourably. When one of them invades on her territory in New York City, she immediately feels threatened, and launches into action to protect her city and the cryptids from any potential threat. But, as always, it’s not the handsome by-the-book Covenanter who threatens New York; it’s a much greater danger that could place both of them at risk.
A new urban fantasy series by Seanan McGuire? Wild bears couldn’t keep me away. She’s authored one of my two favourites, the October Daye series, and has also written the Newflesh trilogy (my review of Feed) under the name of Mira Grant. I completely trust her talent at this point and I simply can’t resist the prospect of more of her writing. I immediately bought this book on release day, and savoured it once I’d read it. Here once again, McGuire proves her talents by creating a book that is fun, different, and very much worth your time.
Like most urban fantasy series, a kickass heroine lies at the heart of this book in Verity Price. She’s not exactly your average kickass heroine though; her hobby is ballroom dancing, and she competes professionally alongside her job at a waitress at “Fish and Strips”. Her family is absolutely laugh-out-loud ridiculous, trained as they all are to combat standards; as an example, her grandfather disappeared years ago, and her grandma still trawls alternate dimensions with grenades trying to find him. The funniest part for me, though, has to be the Aeslin mice, a sentient breed of mouse that lives with the Price family and concoct festivals for every mundane event that happens in Verity’s life. It did at times feel that McGuire was intent on fitting every humorous line she’d come up with into the book, and not all of them resonate perfectly, but for the most part, I was far too busy laughing to mind.
As the first novel in a series, the world has to be set up, but the way this is done is overall so creative that I barely noticed. There is no learning curve; the book is simply fun and enjoyable from cover to cover. I loved the fact that Verity actually had a family who loved her; that she did something completely different and feminine alongside her fighting skills; and that the romance was subtle and woven into the overall context of the story, rather than the other way around.
Sure, Discount Armageddon is still a little bit shallow in parts, especially regarding the love interest, but I felt like this was a fantastic start to something that is yet again that much different from McGuire. Definitely recommended, and I will most certainly keep reading anything Ms McGuire writes.