Book Review: Discount Armageddon (InCryptid, Book 1) by Seanan McGuire

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Favourite quotes:
“You are an insolent, irresponsible, immature little bitch!
And you’re an arrogant asshole, and there may be a dragon under this city. Now can we stop the dick waving and start figuring out how we’re going to deal with this? Or do I have to kiss you again?”
 
“Mother Nature is a freaky lady who probably created pot so she could spend all her time smoking it”.
 
“It’s amazing how quickly and completely the natural world can adjust. People forget that pigeons aren’t hatched from cracks on the sidewalk; they’re wild birds that have simply learned to exist in symbiosis with the human race. Their adaptation is proof that it can be done. We should applaud the pigeon as a survivalist totem, not call them “rats with wings” and shoo them off our windowsills”.
 

 

“New York is a city built upon the cannibalized remains of its own past, constantly changing, constantly the same”. Verity Price, however, isn’t looking to bring any change to New York, except to ensure that its cryptids (the bogeymen, the chupacabra, the basilisks, etc.) are safe from humanity, particularly The Covenant. And to win the Regional Argentine tango competition, despite her family insisting that she dedicate her life to cryptozoology, like every other member of the Price clan.

 

Apart from living illegally in an apartment infested with Aeslin Mice, working for a sleazy cryptid bar owner named Dave and having to sacrifice her nights for either work or dancing or cryptozoology, life isn’t going too badly for Verity Price. That is, until she encounters tall, dark and insolent Dominic de Luca from The Covenant – a society of religious fanatics who want to rid the Earth of all cryptids and who are the reason the Price family had to hide for hundreds of years. Is Dominic de Luca the reason cryptid girls are disappearing all over the city? Or is it just an unfortunate coincidence and if yes, who is kidnapping the girls? And how could there be a dragon sleeping underneath New York? Is he eating all the girls? And does Verity have the time to find all that out in addition to her dance competition and her job at the bar?

 

“Discount Armageddon” is classified as urban fantasy and I must say, it’s urban fantasy as its finest – diverse cast of characters, urban setting (you can’t get more urban than New York really), monsters who are characters in their own right, and utter hilarity. Yes, “Discount Armageddon” is a lot of fun. The character of Verity Price is a big reason why – she is clever, she’s witty, she’s been trained to fight to the death from a very young age, and she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Overall, a badass with an attitude and a sharp tongue to match. She reminded me a little of Alexia Tarabotti – a woman who is a unique species in itself and feels at home with all sorts of creatures, except religious fanatics who probably want to murder her. However, the world of “InCryptid” isn’t like Parasol Protectorate’s England – for starters, werewolves etc. don’t present themselves as integral members of society. “InCryptid” isn’t an alternative history novel, it’s an urban fantasy novel – more like “Matthew Swift” than “Parasol Protectorate” in that regard. Verity Price doesn’t have any angels stuck in her (as far as we know!), but her wit can certainly match Swift’s, and like Swift, she has a special relationship with all kinds of creatures. Her family is another story entirely – they have a pretty rich history which I’m looking forward to learning more about in Book 2, and they are quite the characters in themselves – for example “Naga wouldn’t mind being called an uncle under the circumstances, and he was the family go-to guy for anything involving snake cults, largely because he was frequently their target. It was just that explaining why I had an extradimensional professor of demonic studies as an honorary uncle would take too long – especially since the uncle in question was a giant snake from the waist down”.

 

I also loved that Verity is a scientist and a dancer (#girlpower), and she doesn’t want to eradicate anyone who isn’t human. On the contrary – she strives to learn as much as possible about other cultures and to protect them from people like Dominic de Luca. Speaking of – I expected there to be romance between Verity and Dominic from the moment they fought each other for the first time, but I was pleasantly surprised at how their romance didn’t get on my nerves and didn’t distract from the main plot. I generally quite enjoy romances that go something like this – “The intoxicatingly mingled scents of sex and sweat perfumed the bedroom air, making me want to fight an army, dance a tango and take a long nap, not necessarily in that order”. The twists in urban legends used by the author were also quite interesting, especially the dragon twist (no spoilers, sorry!). I look forward to reading book 2 in the InCryptid series – I really want to learn more about Verity’s family and friends, and various monst… sorry, cryptids that populate New York.

 

“Discount Armageddon” is written quite well – there are some lengthy passages that provide intro to certain characters, but the overall tone of the book is quite humorous, so they were as much fun to read as the rest of the book – “Not all sirens are into the whole “sitting on rocky atolls luring sailors to their death” gig. At least one is making a pretty good living as a pop singer. She calls herself “Emerald Green”, pretends her hair is dyed that particular shade of seaweed, and refuses to book gigs in coastal cities unless they’re purely acoustic. Nature isn’t always destiny.”
Epigraphs before each chapter were another part I loved – “A proper lady should be able to smile pretty, wear sequins like she means it, and kick a man’s ass nine ways from Sunday while wearing stilletto heels. If she can’t do that much, she’s not trying hard enough”. Also, the book has a playlist of awesome songs at the end – I love when authors do this. My rating of “Discount Armageddon” is 8.5/10.

 

 
Dreamcast
Verity Price – Kristen Bell
Sarah – Cristin Milioti
Candice – Margot Robbie

 

 
Recommendations
You might like “Discount Armageddon” if you liked:
“The Immortal Empire” series by Kate Locke
“Parasol Protectorate” series by Gail Carriger
“October Daye” series by Seanan McGuire

 

Have you read the “InCryptid” series? What are your favourite Urban Fantasy reads? Gimme a shout in the comments! 🙂
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