Review: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Untitled-10Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid #1)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: DAW on March 6, 2012

Source: Purchased

Rating StarRating StarRating Starstar_half

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night….

If you’re the sort of person who’s read any of the big urban fantasy series, then you’ve probably heard Seanan McGuire’s name tossed around a few times. Despite being a self-professed UF junkie, I hadn’t picked up a book by McGuire before this summer. Most people are more familiar with her October Daye series, but I chose to start with Discount Armageddon because I needed something with some good banter and general hilarity. And I was not disappointed!

Verity Price is starting over. She’s moved away from her family home to NYC to pursue a career in ballroom dance.Like any true artist, she’s spinning it for her family as a ‘research trip’ so they don’t disown her. What’s she researching? Why, cryptozoology of course! Cryptozoology is the study of so-called “monsters” or cryptids, a process that involves cataloguing their diverse biology, language, and cultures. While Verity isn’t a science-y type per se, she is very knowledgeable about cryptids; her tangents about the oddities of various species were hilarious and also pretty damn interesting.

Seanan McGuire clearly put a lot of thought into the construction of cryptid species, dividing them into two main categories: sentient and non-sentient cryptids. Most of the book features sentient cryptids, which I was fine with because let’s be real – monster types that can deliver a good zinger are miles above those who just growl. As a member of the infamous Price family, Verity has taken up the mantle of improving cryptid/human interactions.

Verity’s day job is owned and operated by cryptids belonging to any species that can take on human form. There’s Candy, the dragon princess; Istas, the goth-girl Lolita whose Waheela heritage means that she can transform into a massive wolf-bear hybrid; and Ryan, a Tanuki whose cryptid form is a 10 foot tall racoon dog. While Verity works with these people, she’s also supposed to be collecting testimonials from them so that she can add information to the Price family’s cyrptid encyclopaedia. A task made difficult by the fact that several of these species are anti-social and have long-standing grudges against the Price family. Awkward.

So what’s the big hullabaloo with the Price family? They used to be members of the Covenant of St. George, an organization dedicated to eradicating ‘unnatural’ species, which boils down to any animal that wasn’t on Noah’s Ark. Eventually Verity’s grandfather came to the realization that the genocide of multiple species probably wasn’t a good thing, so he defected and began protecting cryptids instead. Now there are cryptids who remember the Price family as hunters and humans who think of them as traitors.

The biggest issue that I had with Discount Armageddon was character related: I thought that Dom was a pretty weak leading male character and didn’t care much about him either way. His personality was comprised of about 85% prejudice and 10% hotness and 5% humour. McGuire spends enough time developing the archaic beliefs of the Covenant to make Dom’s prejudice against cryptids understandable, but I was pretty disappointed by his minimal growth towards a more tolerant outlook. Verity has more personality in her sassily pointed foot than Dom does in his entire body (although to be fair, Verity is all personality!).

If you like your UF fluffy and friggin’ hilarious, you should definitely pick up a copy of Discount Armageddon. It had me smiling and laughing so many times. Don’t let the cover artwork deter you – that’s just the uniform that Verity has to wear at work (it is a strip club, after all!).

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  • I do enjoy a good laugh. Perhaps I would enjoy this one.

    • You might actually! There are a few scenes with Verity and her following of talking mice that’s reminiscent of a Terry Pratchett style of humour (although obviously they aren’t as good as his).

  • Help me make my choice! Like I said, I’ve only read her Mira Grant stuff, but I’m going to check out her UF written under Seanan Mcguire. So…do you think I should tackle this one first or her October Daye series?

    ~Mogsy @ Bibliosanctum

    • Definitely the October Daye series. I just finished Rosemary and Rue (book one) and I think it’s much more your style. There’s still some humour, but it’s black humour, and the overall story is considerably grittier. As much as I liked Discount Armageddon I think the October Daye series is better for sure!

  • Yeah, so I read this book years ago (b/c I LOVE October Daye), and even though I liked it enough to auto-buy the new books as they came out . . . I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. *headdesk* Must do that soon . . . 😉 Glad you liked it, Danya–aanndd even more glad that you read and liked Rosemary and Rue!

    • It feels so strange and backwards reading the InCryptid books before October Daye, but I bought the whole InCryptid series because it was shorter…fail. I can’t wait to gush about Rosemary and Rue. Love Toby, she’s the best. And excuse me…Tybalt?!!?!?!?! *fans self*

  • Wasn’t there some drama about the cover art for this book? I think I vaguely recall something like that anyway. Sounds decent though.. I liked her Mira Grant books, so maybe I should try this one.

    • Hmmm, I didn’t hear about it but I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been drama. It’s a pretty sketchy cover. If you want something clever and fluffy, then this series is perfect!

  • Jon12058

    I love Mira Grant’s books, but I’m not sure if these are for me! Awesome review!
    -Jon from Bookish Antics!

    • Thank you! The InCryptid books are definitely a departure from her work under the name Mira Grant…I can see how her fans from the genres of horror and UF might not cross over.

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