Endangered, adjective: Threatened with extinction or immediate harm.
Australia, noun: A good place to become endangered.
Alexander Price has survived gorgons, basilisks, and his own family—no small feat, considering that his family includes two telepaths, a reanimated corpse, and a colony of talking, pantheistic mice. Still, he’s starting to feel like he’s got the hang of things…at least until his girlfriend, Shelby Tanner, shows up asking pointed questions about werewolves and the state of his passport. From there, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Australia, a continent filled with new challenges, new dangers, and yes, rival cryptozoologists who don’t like their “visiting expert” very much.
Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.
Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.
This book continues with Alex as the main narrator again. And I couldn’t have been happier about that! When I found out we’d be going to Australia – the land where regular nature wants to kill you, never mind adding cryptids to the mix, and doubly never mind there being a lycanthropy outbreak in process – I was ecstatic. And scared.
Scared because no matter how much I love shapeshifters in a lot of my fiction, and how much werewolves in fiction have run the gamut from scary to friendly, these werewolves TERRIFIED me. And they just kept getting scarier. Werewolves in this world are infected. It’s a disease. No matter what we know or don’t know about it, it’s a contaminant to the body, and by that nature alone it’s not a good thing.
And it turns out there’s a lot we don’t know. I really appreciated how much we, and Alex (and thus the rest of the Prices) learn throughout this book. The fact that Alex continues to expand his, and his family’s, knowledge is one of the things that I love most about him. He continues to be one of my favorite characters – it’s hard to choose which Price to love more, so I’ll just say I love them the same.
Shelby continues to be a bright spot here, too. I appreciated how she continues to learn and recognize her own prejudices, and apologize for them. She isn’t afraid to acknowledge that she made a mistake, might have been wrong, or treated someone poorly. It’s not always comfortable to admit to those failings, and I love that Shelby does it – as soon as she realizes that it’s a failing she’s had.
Unfortunately, I’m left fumbling between bewilderment, frustration, and outright hatred for the majority of the rest of her family now. And the Thirty-Sixers are right there with them. Their obstinance, ignorance, lack of respect, and outright efforts to block any help Alex may be able to give – endangering many beloved characters and alienating other sapient cryptids – and I’m left with no respect. The entire book they fought against common sense and reason, and that they wouldn’t give an ounce of respect to Alex, who was nothing but respectful and professional with them. He went above and beyond. And they were obstinate assholes the entire freaking time. I hate them. All of them can rot.
Even more unfortunately, they’re a big part of the story as we’re in Australia to help them with the werewolf problem. *sigh* But that doesn’t negatively affect the story – it just makes me hate the Thirty-Sixers more. The story is pretty awesome and intriguing. I like how things that are known can always be expanded on. I like how the Prices are always willing to expand their knowledge and are eager to, in fact.
My frustration and anger comes through fairly strong here, and with good reason, trust me, but there’s also moments of humor that cut through the tension at times, making things a little bit lighter. At least for a few moments. I appreciated those more than I can say, especially now, looking back.
I love this series. It’s one of the best binge series I’ve picked up in quite a long while and I’m incredibly happy that I’m reading it. But I’ll be quite happy to not see Australia, or more accurately: its resident cryptozoologists, for a very long time.