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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire Rating: 4.5(Note: review originally posted at Book Lovers Inc)I have to just get this out first: the Price family makes the Addams family look like the Cleavers.Don’t worry; I’ll explain who the hell the Prices are a bit later. But the above statement is what I kept thinking time and again as I was reading this book. The protagonist of Discount Armageddon, Verity Price, is no exception to the renowned eccentricities of her cryptozoologist (read: monster-studying) family, and she’s a great narrative voice to serve as the vehicle for this story. She’s always got a smart quip, an off-the-cuff observation, a witty retort on hand. Her personality is a bit tough to pin down, though…which makes her so intriguing. She’s got an interesting dichotomy going on that reveals her as both a supreme bad-azz and a very caring, protective individual.The dialogue in general is very snappy, quick, unrelenting. The author’s wry sense of humor really comes across through the cast, starting with Verity and continuing through her other family members, her cute-but-deadly nemesis Dominic, and the many cryptids that populate this version of New York City. I admit that at times it was a task to keep up with the continual banter, but indeed it was always amusing. Like in this moment between Dominic and Verity:His voice dropped even lower, a stunt I wouldn’t have believed possible. “They mustn’t know about the…monsters.”“Wow.”He blinked. “Wow?”“Yeah, wow. I didn’t know people actually paused portentously in common conversation.”As for that explanation that I promised: the Prices are protectors of all cryptids (monsters, for lack of an easier explanation)…unlike the Covenant, a fanatical worldwide group that believes in wholesale extermination of all things unusual. The Prices have a long, storied history of eccentricity, which involves the children learning how to shoot crossbows before the age of five. They thrive on the knowledge of all things bizarre (probably because they are so unsual themselves), and serve as a constant source of comedy and intrigue. One of my favorite aspects of this book, for sure.Truly, this is a head-trip of a book. Though the vast majority of the cryptids featured here come from all sorts of existing cultural mythologies (dragons, gorgons, bug-a-boos, ahools, boogeymen, etc.), they’re weaved into the world with impressive intricacy. Within a couple of chapters it becomes exceedingly clear that the scope of the story, cast, and world-building details will be vast. Like, I’d-better-take-notes vast. There’s a family tree (or family branch, as Verity insists) in the front of the book, and a glossary at the end; two signs that there’s a whole lot to take note of. And yet, the initial world-building never felt overwhelming or disorienting. (The same of which could not be said for Ilona Andrew’s very excellent Kate Daniels series opener…remember that mass of confusion?)The author had once mentioned that the InCryptid series will at some point switch protagonists, as it was originally conceived as a series meant to chronicle the Price family as a whole. Though I’m used to UF series sticking with a particular character, I can’t think of a better way to proceed; this series is unique in so many ways already, and its subsequent installments will most definitely be outstanding and unique in their storytelling choices, as well. Just note that, should you choose to read this book, be prepared for major weirdness. Major. lolAnd now, to celebrate the Feast of Awesome First Books in Off-the-Wall-Crazy New Series! Hail! (Yeah…the book–and the Aeslin mice–rubbed off on me. Don’t ask. Just read. ^_^)