Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #2
Published on: March 5th 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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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 when her work with the cryptid community took her to Manhattan, she thought she would finally be free to pursue competition-level dance in earnest. It didn't quite work out that way...
Midnight Blue-Light Special takes its monster (cryptid) cast seriously. They kind of get the royal treatment what with a colorful field guide attached to the end of the book and illustrations on McGuire’s website. How cute are those Aeslin mice?
As this picture should well confirm, the beasties of this series have real flavor. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the humans, especially the center piece, Verity Price, who, no matter what I say at the end of the day, will have a stylish name. But let me be blunt: Verity can no longer buoy this narrative.
As you can tell from the cover, she has already had to yield serious front cover art real-estate, now sharing the spotlight with her cousin, Sarah. The emphasis on family (family tree provided, yet not quite thorough enough to deserve photo-copying/linking) definitely comes through as the primary theme. Every chapter is headed by a zingy line from Verity’s grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, etc., etc.
With all this emphasis on family, I was expecting the conclusion and climax to make better use of them, but frankly their employment is confusing and nigh worthless. The candy-colored inhabitants of wonderland that are New York’s cryptid population really only get the B-plot treatment, the cold shoulder, which for so long appeared to be heating up.
Now this would have been ok, if the A-plot had not steered into terrifically dark territory, involving the maiming and near disintegration of those involved. It would have worked if the rest of the book had been pointing towards edgy thriller but everything leading up to this, including book one and its cover, had this firmly pinned as campy comic book style urban fantasy.
A few more dishes of that original recipe need be prepared, so as I may forget all about that dark dark place the final third (of this book) took me to. Let’s have some more apparently sarcastic platitudes from the waheela, Istas, a bear-wolf shifter knitted up in the body of a crafty umbrella lace sewing to-all-appearances cute lady. Even another night when the waheela shared a dinner of rats with the Aeslin mice I would accept. Instead *shudder* I have this unnavigable darkness…
|Books in this series:|
|Recommendation:||For the bright and exotic side characters, not the central plot|
|Like this, like that:||October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (a repeat I know but I have heard good things), the Underdead series by Liz Jasper|