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…
When I was in the second and third chapters of this book I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to go for me. I was confused and lost and more than a little irritated. There was a serious dearth of information and it was getting old, fast. So here’s something that I found on Seanan McGuire’s website that I think would have helped me, at least a little. Also, the reassurance that Chapter 4 is the turning point – or at least it was for me.
1. Any creature whose existence has been suggested but not proven scientifically. Term officially coined by cryptozoologist John E. Wall in 1983.
2. That thing that’s getting ready to eat your head.
3. See also: “monster.”
The Covenant of St. George was founded to uphold one simple ideal: anything that was not present on the Ark—anything they deemed “unnatural”—needed to be destroyed. Monsters. Creatures of myth and legend. All of them would be wiped from the Earth in the name of Man’s dominion. Unfortunately for them, not all the monsters agreed with this plan…and neither did all the human beings.
After their rather abrupt departure from the Covenant, Alexander and Enid Healy found themselves alone in the world, but with a simple mission of their own: to protect the cryptids of the world from those who would harm them without just cause. It was a cause that would eventually claim both their lives, leaving their children, and their childrens’ children, to take up the fight. Now in the modern day, their descendants struggle to stay beneath the Covenant’s radar, while defending the cryptids from humanity—and humanity from the cryptids.
I would like to take a moment to argue with the logic of the Covenant – I mean if they believe the Ark is real, then the Flood is real….which means that every living thing on this earth, except what was on the Ark, should have been cleansed. So….how do the cryptics even exist?
Never mind silly stuff like logic for fanatics bent on genocide though.
I’ve been on a really lucky streak with Urban Fantasy books lately – first the Pax Arcana series that I started, and now this. Look, it’s hard to be an Urban Fantasy book on my shelves. With things like Kate Daniels to compare yourselves to….well, most series and books come up somewhat short. I’m so glad that I have new series to get obsessed over – though I’m not sure anything will ever quite compare to Kate Daniels.
But Verity and her world/family could come close. If there’s one thing I got a little sick of reading/hearing about it was the dancing. Let me explain: I absolutely love that Verity has an interest outside of the family business. I love that she is multi-dimensional. I love that it ties into the work that she does with the cryptids, too. But … well, we all know that she’s not really going to end up a ballroom dancer. Or I guess I’d be really surprised if she did. So I just wanted to stop hearing about it. Though the mentions got a lot more on-point after about a quarter of the way into the book. That’s it. That’s my one, very minor, complaint. Otherwise I love Verity. She kicks ass, she’s a sarcastic, smart-ass, and she genuinely cares. Which makes it that much more real when she kicks your ass for hurting someone else.
We didn’t get to see a lot of Verity’s family here, but what we did get makes me incredibly excited that I’ve got a dozen (or more) short stories featuring them waiting for me on my Kindle. And I can’t wait to delve more into their dynamics in the future installments.
I’m still not entirely sure about Dominic, but he’s growing on me. I hate how much he toes the party-line with the Covenant – especially at first – but I love that he doesn’t change his tune, doing a complete 180, just because he meets Verity, too. The change is slow, as it should be if it’s going to be for real. And I can’t wait to see that develop.
But, c’mon. It was the cryptids that stole the show. And even I, being fairly well-versed in supernatural and mythological creatures, had to look a few things up from time to time. I especially loved how Seanan McGuire took some thoughts we thought we knew and expanded them, embraced them, made them her own. It really adds depth and dimension.
Also, if I could just watch Verity do her free running I think I’d love it. I’m picturing something between what Faith does in Mirror’s Edge, and a YouTube video I saw of a random guy jumping around rooftops – except I expect Verity to be doing it much faster and more recklessly….probably enough to freak me out and cover my eyes and hope she’s going to be okay.
Seriously, I finished this book in a rush of reading, unable to stop, anxious to see what happens next. And I finished wanting to pick up the next book immediately, which happens all too infrequently.