Author: Seanan McGuire
Genre: Urban fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 344
Publisher: Daw Fantasy, March 6, 2012
Opening Lines: "Verity Danced circles around the living room, her amateurish pirouettes and unsteady leaps accompanied by cheers and exultations from the horde of Aeslin mice perched on the back of the couch."
"Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night . . . and that's just the beginning. The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and to protect humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a crytozoologist, 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 send by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. 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."
~ Jacket copy
When this book first hit the shelves, my interest was most definitely piqued. However, for whatever reason (or lack thereof) that possesses me while buying new books, this never made it off of the shelves and into my hands. I kept kicking myself for the longest time, and decided to go on a quest to find it at used bookstores. Unfortunately, everybody loved it! A dear friend of mine, hearing my plight, packaged this (and the second book) up and sent it to me media mail!
Wanting to pursue a career in professional dance—and still completely torn as to whether she should continue in the family business—Verity gets permission to move to Manhattan on a trial run. However, she has strict instructions to keep an eye on the local cryptid population. However, that is easier said than done when a Covenant operative comes into town and local cryptid girls are disappearing.
Realizing that they are better as a team, Verity and Dominic team up to root out the reason behind these disappearances and follow the rumors of the last dragon to their source. However, what the don't expect are the different players involved, the high stakes, and a budding romance.
I loved this book! Granted, I would not classify it as earth-shattering prose or completely life-altering. However, it was a fun and lighthearted read! Honestly, sometimes you cannot go wrong with a light, funny book. ^_^
Verity was a refreshing heroine. Too many books out there have these insipid, dull, stupid, arrogant, and whiny heroines. For me, Verity has none of these qualities. In some ways, she reminds me of younger Anita Blake. That being said, she doesn't have this overwhelming snarky quality to her, which has been overdone to death. And, honestly, she is just plain cute!
As with the October Daye novels, McGuire has a lot of detail in this book and spends a lot of time world building. However, it doesn't bog the reader down as much, and it is extremely successful. With the various cryptid species and different locales in NYC, McGuire had to spend a certain amount of time describing things. She did a good job of balancing these descriptions in the story and making them humorous. Furthermore, since this is the first book in the series, she needs to set a lot of this up in advance.
For the most part, the characters were pretty well-rounded. Dominic wasn't fleshed out nearly as much; however, some of that could be due to his continued character development and evolution. Verity was puerile in a lot of ways, but that gave credence to her age and how green she truly was. And, in a lot of ways, it made for a more enjoyable experience to watch her grow.
McGuire really pulls on a lot of folklore with her creatures, which makes for neat read. However, one thing of note, Verity doesn't come into contact with too many non-sentient cryptids. This might be due to the fact that they wouldn't make as interesting a story. Either way, I didn't feel a lack.
On way or the other, this book was fun! If you're looking for an escape and something outside of the normal urban fantasy genre, give this book a try. You will find yourself roaring with laughter and occasionally snorting.
"'Telepaths have ethics?' Dominic's eyes narrowed, tone and posture united to convey his disbelief.
'My mother and I do,' said Sarah, letting her head settle against the back of the chair. 'We mostly got them from Babylon 5, but they still work.'"
"'What's to stop the populace from decrying you as a witch and rising against you?'
'I don't know. A couple hundred years of social evolution, combined with a general failure to believe in anything that doesn't have Wikipedia entry? Except most cryptids have Wikipedia entries these days, so that's maybe not such a good measuring stick. You know, most of the edits on the Sasquatch entry are actually made by Sasquatch? They think it's hysterical watching the human editors argue about whether or not to let one of their corrections stand.'"
Current Pages: 6051