Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Filed in 4 1/2 Stars , featured , Review , Seanan McGuire , The Needy Lover Posted on April 11, 2012 @ 12:00 pm 18 comments

Format Read: Paperback purchased by reviewer
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: DAW
Series: InCryptid, #1
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, e-book
Purchasing Info:
GoodreadsAuthor’s WebsiteAmazon,  Book Depository, Barnes & Noble

Book Blurb:

Cryptid, noun: Any creature whose exsistence has not yet been proven by science. See also “monster.”

Cryptozoologist, noun: Any person who thinks hunting for cryptids is a good idea. See also “idiot.”

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..

A lifetime of training isn’t enough to prepare Verity for what’s ahead–especially not for Dominic De Luca, the Covenant’s newest operative. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

My Thoughts:

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.”
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. lol

And 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. ^_^)

I give Discount Armageddon 4.5 stars

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Alisha

Alisha, the bespectacled and ever nerdy California girl, simply won't leave home without a book in hand. She loves language learnin' and is working toward becoming a bonafide grammar ninja. On any given day you'll find her haunting local libraries or baking scores of cupcakes and sweet treats.

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Join the Discussion
  • Mel S April 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Oh, I need to pick up my copy of this book soon! I pre-ordered it based on the description but as ever, other books have gotten in the way! Hopefully I can read it soon as it sounds great – really intrigued now! 🙂

    • Alisha April 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      I think you’ll like it, Mel. There’s a lot going on in the story, but it’s so good-hearted and earnest in it’s wackiness that it’d be hard to dislike it. ^_^

  • blodeuedd April 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I so wanna read this one 😀

    • Alisha April 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      It’s definitely a wild ride. ^_^ Hope you enjoy!

  • Alice K. April 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Great review! It really encapsulates the awesome fun. I loved it.

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, Alice! The second book’s gonna be great. Can’t wait for next year’s sequel.

      • Alice K. April 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm

        That makes (more than) two of us!

  • Susan April 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    “I have to just get this out first: the Price family makes the Addams family look like the Cleavers.”

    If I didn’t already own the book, this would have sold it. You keep making me move things up on my TBR list.

    BTW, I think I work with some ahools.

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Rock on. I hope you’ll share your thoughts once you do read it (and I hope you enjoy!).

      But yeah, I kept thinking, “This family is carazzzy…and I love it!” They are weird and say off-the-wall stuff at random moments, but they seem to be deadly badasses, all of them.

  • melliane April 12, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Awesome! I really enjoyed her october series and I was very curious to learn more about this one. I’m glad you enjoed it now I’m even more curious to start it.

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I haven’t read her October Daye series yet. But when I was at a recent book signing event, Seanan McGuire explained that, whereas the Daye universe was set in a specific world-building structure, the InCryptid series is sort-of All Bets Off. That’s kind of exciting, ain’t it? ^_^

  • erinf1 April 12, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for the awesome review! I *luvd* this book. But then I love this author and I would read her grocery list 🙂 And the awesome thing about Seanan is that she cranks them out! and they are all awesome…

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      That woman is a machine. And did you know that she works a full-time job, as well? I can’t imagine where she gets those extra hours. Really can’t.

  • draconismoi April 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    I read Discount Armageddeon after working myself into a righteous feminist rage about that RIDICULOUS cover. I mean, come ON. Mini plaid-skirt? Heels? A halter top? What respectable monster-hunter would go out wearing such a getup?! And where the hell would she stash her gun? Damn publicists think people will only read books about women who are half naked, god forbid the cover represent the charact…..

    Oh. Damn. She really does dress like that. And for a believable reason. Not sure if I believe it is physically possible to parkour in 5 inch heels, but I guess I can overlook that.

    • Alice K. April 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Yeah, the theme of not judging a lady by her clothes is a pretty consistent one through the whole book. After all, Istas will tear your arms off if you touch her frilly parasol, and she’ll do it without so much as a petticoat out of place.

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Yeah, I have to trust that the logistics of her getups are, in fact, physically possible. For a character that spends most of her time in skimpy clothes (either for work at the bar, pro dancing, or low-profile hunting), she’s got a strong sense of self-worth. I dig.

      Yer right, though. That cover does remind one of the movie Sucker Punch. (Which I haven’t seen…but I imagine will always beg the question of why the ladies in that film are dressed like school girls)

  • aurian April 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Great review Alisha! I want to read this!

    • Alisha April 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Ooooh I think you’ll like it. How much, I won’t hazard a guess, but it’ll be a keeper for you, I’d put money on it. ^_^

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