Seanan McGuire introduces readers to the feisty Verity Price in the clever new series starter Discount Armageddon. As this cryptozoologist and competitive ballroom dancer tries to juggle her family legacy and passion, she stumbles onto a mystery that is bigger than she ever could have imagined — and Verity has a BIG imagination. Will the new man in her life, Dominic de Luca, be an ally in unraveling this mystery or is his interference going to undo all of the good that Verity has done during her stay in New York City?
Morgan: This book has so many great one-liners that I could literally fill up this entire Dish with just quirky sayings that are used.
Whitney: You know Morgan, I was just thinking that author Seanan McGuire is certainly a clever, clever lady!
Morgan: And she does a great job giving her heroine Verity the gift of gab, too.
Whitney: Which is just one of the reasons that I am going to say, whether you are a long time Urban Fantasy fan, have never tried one before or don’t normally read books in this genre, you have to try Discount Armageddon.
Morgan: It kind of reads like paranormal chicklit, or a soft (and mildly romantic) science fiction.
Whitney: And like we mentioned, expect to laugh. Because heroine Verity is a sharp-tongued, sassy cryptozoologist.
“Ahh” I sat up again, grinning at him. “That’s pretty much true. We’re all crazy. But crazy has its benefits.”
“What benefits are those?” he asked warily.
“Crazy gets all the knives.”
Morgan: Well, if my day job took me into the dens of the types of things that go bump in the night, having “all the knives” would be pretty high up on my list of priorities.
Whitney: And it’s not just the creatures that Verity meets on her day job. Two generations ago her family, the Prices, escaped from the Covenant, aka the group that’s been cutting down supernatural creatures — exterminating them or practicing a pretty clear cut form of genocide, depending on who you’re talking to.
Morgan: Which is a shame because these creatures, aka cryptids, are not all bad — or even mostly bad. They are just doing what they are biologically programmed to do, so the boogeymen, Sasquatch or a waheela —
Whitney: The ghouls, bug-a-boos and wendigo —
Morgan: And all the other assorted creatures are just trying to get along and do their thing. For the most part they aren’t hurting anyone (or at least not any more than humans are).
Whitney: And when a cryptid does pull a no-no (aka feasting on a human), a Price is there to take care of it. As Verity puts it:
“You need meat, go to a steakhouse. You need it raw, go for sushi. But if you think your local nightclub is the place to go for an easy meal, you’d better be ready to pay for it.”
Morgan: And while the Price family has the best intentions at keeping track of supernatural creatures without killing them off, this doesn’t leave family members with a whole lot of time to live their own lives. Verity and her siblings, Alex and Antimony, have been trained, literally, since birth to be prepared for whoever and whatever is coming for them.
“Other kids got chores and teddy bears; we got gun safety classes and heavy weaponry.”
Whitney: Which makes sense because something will be coming for them. It’s like a law of nature. But then unfortunate cherry on this bad news cupcake? The Prices can’t bring attention to themselves because voila they’ll be insta-targets! So no fencing team or science awards or anything that the Prices might be too good at.
Morgan: All except for Verity, who has found a loophole. (And that’s why she’s my girl!) With her way with words, Verity talked her parents into agreeing that she could do one thing that she loves, dance. This gal is a world class ballroom dancer.
Whitney: Well, Verity’s into variety, really. If you move and groove and can do it competitively, she’s probably on the dance floor right next to you.
Morgan: And it makes sense because the dance floor is the only place she doesn’t have to think about survival and be on her guard, she just gets to rock a wig and pretend to be Valerie Pryor, Dance Professional!
Whitney: But despite having a secret identity, Verity is pretty satisfied with upholding her family legacy of keeping the paranormal and normal ecosystems in balance. However, there are those that aren’t so keen on the family’s creed of “live and let live unless it’s trying to eat someone” — the Covenant.
Morgan: The upper-ups in this centuries-old organization labeled the Prices as traitors and have issued a standing order to wipe the family off the face of the Earth.
Whitney: Which would make it wise for Verity to stay away from Dominic de Luca, the Covenant’s European representative sent to “cleanse” New York City from crypids.
Morgan: To say that Dominic and Verity start out on the wrong foot would be an understatement. They meet when Dominic literally snares Verity in his monster trap.
Whitney: And for all you clueless crytpid-hunting gentlemen, and on second thought, all you guys in general, please note that snaring a girl so she’s hanging upside down above the streets NYC and then adding insult to injury by splashing holy water on her is definitely not the way into this girl’s heart.
Morgan: Its an unfortunate way for them to meet because when Verity has both feet on the ground it’s clear that Dominic may be working for the Big Bad, but he’s certainly Very Good (goodlooking, that is).
Whitney: He’s easy on the eyes, and Verity doesn’t mind appreciating — even though spending time with him may fall into the moral gray area (and certainly falls under the umbrella of “potentially dangerous” as he is her mortal enemy and all that jazz).
Morgan: And it certainly doesn’t help that the cryptid population of New York City has taken a giant nosedive, with many MIA and Verity thinks that Dominic may be the one taking them out.
Whitney: Which is a pretty good assumption since he is all about towing the party line. When they meet, Dominic tells her that he is “armored with righteousness” which Verity takes grave exception to since the only reason the Covenant picks on cryptids is that they were supposedly not on the Ark when Noah sailed it.
Morgan: Discrimination I tell you!
Whitney: But it becomes a matter of “all for one and one for all” when Dominic realizes that there is actually something going on which he can’t handle on his own.
Morgan: Which means he’ll (reluctantly) be teaming up with Verity. And thankfully, spending time with her is helping him slowly get de-programmed from the propaganda he grew up learning.
Whitney: But when they discover his suspicions become grounded in reality, everyone in the city better hold on tight. The titular Armageddon is on the horizon because the last of the supposedly extinct dragons may or may not be hibernating under New York City — and someone is trying to wake him up.
Interested in finding out what happens when the ancient being that is not suppose to exist is poked with a giant (metaphorical) stick? Then run out to get Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series starter, Discount Armageddon. And while you are online, or at the store, make sure to check out M.J. Rose’s new mystery, The Book of Lost Fragrances, which Morgan and Whitney will be Dishing about next week!