Written by: Seanan McGuire
Paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Series
Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night....
The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity - and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.
When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city....
I used to be obsessive about my book calendar, always making sure that I knew about my favorite authors latest releases. And then my To Be Read pile became out of control. I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t have the space. Or the time really. So sometimes when I head to the bookstore its like Christmas when I discover another book by my fave authors. I felt this way about this book.
Now I love Seanan McGuire. She is nerdy and hilarious and I heart her to pieces as a human being. She’s also a damn good writer and I love her Toby series. A lot. I also love some of her other books. But for some reason I did not know about this series until last year and it finally came into rotation. I also wanted something fluffy as it has been busy and stressful the last couple of weeks around here for E and I.
Now this book and the series as a whole has the potential of being utterly ridiculous. The cover doesn’t help. You have Verity price, a parkour practicing ballroom dancer who works at a strip club full of cryptids. She is snarky. She has lots of one liners. There are talking mice. Yeah, I rolled my eyes too. But I have faith in Seanan and I gave it a try. It actually sounds kind of perfect for my mood of late. It was. Fortunately it doesn’t get ridiculous. It’s just fluffy Aeslin mice sort of fun.
Verity price grew up as a cryptozoologist, but she also wanted to have a somewhat normal life. This meant heading to the opposite side of the country and continuing to follow her other passion: ballroom dancing. Except that life doesn’t want her to have ‘normal’. Enter Dominic DeLuca, member of the Covenant of St George. While Verity tries to help and police, when necessary, the cryptids of New York City, the Covenant wants to wipe them all out. And someone is doing just that. Is it Dominic or someone else? Either way, verity is about to make his life very, very difficult.
Things I liked: This is Seanan lite. I am okay with that though. I am okay with fun. I am okay with funny and fluffy just like the Aeslin mice. And oh my gosh I love the Aeslin mice to little bitty pieces. The Aeslin mice are the best. I love their celebrations and their names for every little small occurrence. I cannot help but smile whenever they were around. Who knew sentient mice liked to party so much or could be so damn adorable. I kind of want my own little colony of adorable mice to sing me praises, make small things momentous, and look adorable in a Barbie Dream House.
I loved the cryptids and I look forward to meeting more of them as the series continues. I want to visit the Madhura bakery. I want to go Lolita wardrobe shopping with Istas, the Waheela. I smile at the gold filled sorority like nest of Candy and the other dragon princesses. It’s a nice change from your usual werewolves, vampires, and fae characters you usually get in today’s urban fantasy.
I like Verity. Snarkfest yay. I like her struggles. It would help if she didn’t like cryptozoology, but she does. She cares about the cryptids. Some of them are family after all. But dancing is her passion as well (Yay for being on a SYTYCD/Dancing with the Stars sort of show). And she is great at both of them. I also like Verity because she isn’t a monster hunter especially when sometimes she needs to save cryptids from horrible human beings. This is why the Price family left the Covenant of St George. Speaking of Verity’s family, I love them. They are supportive and accepting. How refreshing.
Things I didn’t like so much: Verity’s parkour is hard to believe. I don’t know why. And it bugs me that I cannot suspend my disbelief for that. Because it should work. Training in dance, gymnastics, and acting like you are trying to escape District B13 your entire life should be legit. But it doesn’t work. At least not all the time. Maybe it is the way it is written. Maybe it doesn’t feel right with the rest of Verity. It’s a small nitpick really, but it’s still there.
Dominic isn’t necessarily great on the personality front, but he does eventually grow on you. I just wish it was before the end of the book. The info dumping asides can be a little tedious at times, but she is world building. And sure the romance is predictable, but who cares. The overall basic plot is one you have probably read before. But in the end it has its own uniqueness so all of these end up being fairly minor.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. Or at least pick it up from the library and give it a go. Cute. Fluffy. Fun. Just what I needed right about now. And you might too. Kind of a perfect Spring break beach read.
Part of: A series
Midnight Blue Special
Also Recommended: For more Seanan please read the Toby Day series beginning with Rosemary and Rue. For more urban fantasy goodness please try The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, The Matthew Swift series by Kate Griffin, and for more fey loveliness Holly Black’s modern faerie tale series.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks