Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Discount Armageddon
Seanan McGuire

I’m a big fan of Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye books so I’ve been looking forward to reading Discount Armageddonever since I first heard of it.
 
The Premise: Verity Price comes from a line of cryptozoologists — people who categorize those mythical beings and monsters that humans don’t think really exist. If such a creature (a cryptid) is a danger to people and won’t curtail its harmful nature on its own, her family steps in, but mostly they leave the cryptids alone. They believe in maintaining an ecological equilibrium — not a philosophy that the Covenant of St. George shares. Ever since the Healy/Price family broke off from the Covenant, they’ve been branded as traitors to the human race. After emigrating to America, they’ve kept their heads down to make it harder for the Covenant to find and hunt them down. The exception to the “no publicity” rule is Verity. No one really thinks of dance training as fight training, so she’s allowed to move to New York City where she can monitor the cryptid population there while trying to make it as a dancer. All goes well until a Covenant member is seen in town and members of the cryptid population begin to disappear.
 
My Thoughts: Although they are both classified as urban fantasy, the InCryptid series is very different from the October Daye books. Do not approach this series expecting something like October Daye. I had to do a mind-reset because I found myself comparing them, and it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The biggest difference is that this series is a lot less serious. Verity Price is a younger protagonist with no known baggage and a big dream. She just wants to dance. While she’s respectful of her family business and trained just as hard as her brother Alex and sister Antimony, her indulgence in her real passion, her blonde, blue-eyed look, high energy, and her Smart Aleck demeanor make her by far the least moody urban fantasy heroine I’ve ever met. Verity may not be what a lot of people expect in their urban fantasy, but I don’t think she’s a bad thing. She’s just a UF heroine coming from a different direction.
 
Since Verity is a more light-hearted character, if you guessed that other aspects of Discount Armageddon are light-hearted too, you wouldn’t be wrong. I wouldn’t call it light-hearted to the point of being a farce, because there is some gritty thrown in there (monsters and death and dark, damp, places), but it’s definitely a lot more fun than the UF I’m used to reading. Verity likes to let herself live in the moment with dancing her heart out at a club, free running across rooftops, or dropping into the dark from her kitchen window. She shares her apartment with a colony of talking, religious mice. Mice that worship her family, pepper her apartment with the word “Hail”, and enthusiastically celebrate mundane events as religious holidays.
 
The relationships in this book are blessedly uncomplicated by past drama. When she talks to her family she’s clearly happy and close with them, and they talk about killing monsters and have conversations where basilisks, crossbows, and “I’ll tell them you’re insane but being responsible about it.” are part of the conversation. Verity’s family isn’t in New York with her (with the exception of her cuckoo cousin Sarah), but we hear a lot about them from Verity, and they all seem great and kick butt in their own unique ways.  Verity approaches her romantic relationships without some dark past relationship clouding in her present. What you see is what you get with this girl. There is a blossoming romance in this book and I liked that Verity approached her attraction a straightforward way (although, whether things will work out remains to be seen).
 
The main plot here is the arrival of Dominic De Luca, a young member of the Covenant, to Verity’s turf, and the disappearance of cryptids not long after. Verity has to make a decision about the impressively trained but ill-informed Dominic, and she has to figure out what exactly is behind the missing cryptids. With the help of Sarah, Verity’s nerdy mathematician adopted cousin, who happens to be a Cuckoo (which means she’s got some amazing skills at blending in, including telepathy), the mystery feels relatively straightforward. OK, there are a couple of twists and turns, but I was so much more entertained by Verity’s life that the investigation took a back seat to that for much of the book before coming to the forefront at the end.
 
P.S. The cover – it matches the fun tone of the book, and I like that it’s different from the usual all-black, serious look of other UF covers, but still not in love with the scantily clad in stilettos look. Yes, Verity works as a waitress in a strip joint, and her uniform sounds like what she’s wearing on the cover, but still.
 
Overall: A refreshing urban fantasy that does not take itself too seriously. Discount Armageddon is full of fun and humor, but is balanced with just the right amount of grit. I thoroughly enjoyed Verity’s dynamo presence and her enthusiasm for being in the Now. She’s a kick-ass UF heroine who isn’t angry or angsty, doesn’t have a painful past, and comes with a supportive family. I recommend this one for urban fantasy fans that are looking for something that approaches the genre from a different angle.
 
Buy: Amazon | Powell’s | The Book Depository
 
Other reviews:
Starmetal Oak Book Blog – 6.5
Tynga’s Reviews – positive
Fantasy Cafe – 8.5/10
Fantasy and SciFi Lovin’ News & Reviews – 4.5 out of 5
Lurv a la Mode – 4.5 scoops (out of 5)
Calico Reaction – 9 (Couldn’t put it down) (LJ link, wordpress link)
 
Interesting Links:
The Cryptid Field Guide
 
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10 thoughts on “Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

  1. I was wondering when I was going to see this one reviewed by you! (And now that you’ve posted it I only skimmed it; the plan is to come back and read it entirely after I’ve read the book.) But in general you enjoyed it? That’s good! (And most likely means that I will too!)

    • Hehe. Yes I liked it, but I had to let go of the Toby books because this was so different. Toby series – more mysterious and slow build up of the romantic relationship and undercurrents, this one is just straightforward and fun.

  2. Good to read your take on it! I don’t think I liked it as much as you did, and I have pondered whether it was because I was subconsciously comparing it to the Toby books – but think it was down to the romance subplot being a tad bit too predictable?

    I really liked the world-building though – it came across like a really organic world, as opposed to the “a bit of this, a bit of that” kind of setting that some books have. I’ll definitely get the next book, but I haven’t fallen in love with this series yet.

    Li

    • I think that the romance was predictable for Romance, or Paranormal Romance, but for UF, I was surprised it went where it went so early on, ya know? But yeah, it wasn’t a shocking surprise at all. There was enough lead up to guess where it was going.

      I hear you on not falling in love yet.

      I feel like I liked this one a lot and will keep reading the series, but I don’t feel OBSESSED by it like the Toby books. It gives me a more relaxed vibe when I’m done reading.

  3. I haven’t read any Toby books yet (eep!) but I’m a big fan of McGuire’s Newsflesh series. My copy of Discount Armageddon is on its way, and seeing all the good reviews about it makes me excited. Maybe after this (and after I finish the last book in the Newsflesh trilogy), I’ll start with the Toby books. It’s just that the number of books in that series already makes me feel that I have to commit to seeing the entire series through, haha. :D

    Oh, and I love knowing that Verity Price is a dancer. :D

    • I understand – there’s 5 or 6 Toby books out now.. I really ADORE that series though, so if you are a UF fan, I highly recommend it. :)

      Yes, that’s a different approach for a UF heroine!

  4. Pingback: Discount Armageddon | One More Page

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