I've wanted to read a book by Seanan McGuire for a while, but her work never ended up on my bookshelf or kindle for no particular reason. So when I found myself in a physical bookstore and saw the title, I couldn't pass it up.
I was pleasantly surprised. Up front, I 8/10 recommend it.
First up, the cover. I didn't love it, but I generally hate the over-sexualization of female characters to sell books. However, it's on trend for the genre, and upon reading the story, the outfit and setting were absolutely relevant. I appreciated the cover for what it advertised and how the book delivered.
Verity Price comes from a long line of cryptozoologists and is an amateur dancer and full-time badass. She polices the cryptid community of New York City with a few simple rules. Keep out of sight, and don't harm humans. It's all good until the creatures start dying brutally. Enter the hot Covenant guy who is against everything Verity stands for. Can they work together to save the cryptids?
Verity is the badass woman she appears to be on the cover. She does it all - dances the tango in between working at a strip club and fighting cryptids who dare step out of line. What she lacks in depth, she makes up for in every fight scene, and there are many. Verity's training as a cryptozoologist and a dancer gives her the flexibility to do stuff that many writers would love their characters to do. Without giving away too much, the fighting scenes are among my favorites. I LOVE writing fight scenes myself, and I learned a couple of things from reading them.
9/10 recommend those scenes.
I didn't get a good sense of who Verity actually was. I'm sure that she's fleshed out in future books in the series, but it was a good introduction to a character that intrigues me. Her arc is flat, which is cool, but my personal preference is more of a hero's journey. She returns to normal, but while the situation changes, she has not. It's not a bad thing, just not my preference. Her antagonist/love interest had a familiar vibe to him, very typical of the genre. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the closest I got was Dresden's Michael as Knight. I hope he comes back because I'm curious about the Covenant.
7/10 recommend the character building
The descriptions of the cryptids were great. They came to life as fully formed creatures with distinct differences between races. My absolute favorite was the mice. They provide an ever-growing list of religious celebrations that must be observed with the occasional approval of Verity. If mice didn't freak me out so much, I'd love to have a set of hers.
7/10 because mice freak me out
I enjoyed the plot. It delivers what every great urban fantasy book does - a kickass heroine, a bit of steaminess that isn't the main storyline, and twists and turns.
9/10 recommend the story
It's a really good book. I enjoy McGuires writing, both structure and story. My issues with it aren't with the structure or the plot itself. They're purely issues of preference. Unfortunately, I read it as a writer as much as a reader, and my brain got caught up in stupid things. The only reason I knocked off two is that I need to read more of this series to get a better sense of the characters. As the first book in the series, I'm pleased with what I got.