Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid #2) by Seanan McGuire

Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid, #2)Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If this book were worse, I would be using this space to rail about how Seanan McGuire should spend her time focusing on Toby Daye's adventures so we'd have more of those. Alas, Verity's world is just as well-rounded as Toby's, her monsters and men just as interesting, her allies just as amusing. If you forced me to choose between Toby's stories and InCryptid, Toby would win just by virtue of volume. Luckily, I live in a world where both series exist to be read, and continue to come out once a year.

This is the second InCryptid book, the first being Discount Armageddon. There are currently five books sold under contract, but McGuire has said publicly she has more planned. (She did a reddit AMA the other day, and answered an awful lot of questions.)

This continues Verity Price's adventures in New York City. As her time away from home nears an end, her boyfriend tips her off that his fellow Covenant members are headed out to evaluate his work. She doesn't know if she wants to call him her boyfriend, especially considering he may betray her to the organization under which he's lived his whole life.

We get to see the reasons for Verity's paranoia, as we get a taste of just how nasty the Covenant of St. George can be. Stories about their wiping out all living dragons are one thing, but seeing their methods up close and personal really drives it home that the Price family has made a scary enemy.

Other characters get an expanded role. We see a lot more of Istas, the gothic-Lolita-wearing waheela with a taste for violence and very small hats. Her meeting the Aeslin mice is the most memorable scene I've read this year. The mice, themselves, get something to do besides comic relief. There are actually some very touching scenes featuring the mice, though my favorite moment is when they're trying various domains on Dominic. Verity's (and my) favorite is "the God of Absolutely Never Smiling, No, Not Ever."

There's a perspective switch in this book about 2/3rds of the way through, and it pained me to have to stop reading then to go to sleep. The perspective changes to make the reader question Verity's survival, and that question isn't answered satisfyingly until the very last chapter. Meanwhile, Verity's adopted Johrlac cousin, Sarah Zellaby, takes over the story. Her voice is so different from Verity's that it's clear there's something very wrong about the way she's put together, even without all of Verity's information from this book and the last. The terms in which she processes information, her bases for comparison, her priorities, all of it backs up everything Verity has told the reader about Sarah's (and her species') alien nature.

Overall, this book wraps up quickly, though not without a very real sense that someone might not make it to the end. It's neater than I'm accustomed to in the middle of a series, though there's still plenty of room left for more trouble when it's done. It felt like the season one finale of a show that's singlehandedly made me impatient for next fall.

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