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This is the second book in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series, about Verity Price, who hunts the "monsters" of the cryptid population of New York City when they step out of line, but otherwise helps to protect them from the real monsters, the hunters of the Covenant of St. George. But what she really wants to do is dance.
In this book, her stint in New York City is nearing its end and Verity will have to choose between her life with the cryptids or dance. But before she can make a decision, she learns from her erstwhile boyfriend Dominic--an agent of the Covenant of St. George--that the Covenant is coming to the city to determine if it needs to be purged of its cryptid population. They think it's grown out of control and that Dominic can't handle the situation alone. Not to mention they may also suspect the presence of Verity Price, whose family they've been searching for ever since they defected from and betrayed the Covenant generations before. Now Dominic's loyalties are being tested, and Verity is fighting to save the cryptids in the city from certain annihilation.
This is a good follow-up to the first book, Discount Armageddon. The plot here was much more focused than the first book, and since the characters were already established, there was a chance to delve more deeply into old friends, such as the cuckoo Sarah. We also get a little more of Dominic, with him torn between helping Verity while at the same time dealing with the members of the Covenant that show up to evaluate the situation. We are introduced to some new characters as well, such as Verity's "uncle." The main problem for all of them is that they can't simply kill the Covenant agents, since that would surely bring the entire nasty society down on New York City like a hammer. At the same time, they can't simply have all of the cryptids in the city leave, especially the dragon essentially trapped beneath the city.
So what is Verity to do? She can warn the cryptids and spread the word of the danger, but many of them either can't leave, or won't. And what should she do about Dominic? Can she trust him, or will he betray her?
These questions keep the book interesting. I felt the set-up for the first half of the book could perhaps have moved along a little faster. After all, the real danger doesn't start until the Covenant actually arrives. But once they reach New York City, the action of the book picks up and the plot gets much more involving. There weren't any major surprises here . . . you can predict how everyone is going to react as well as the final outcome, but the characters are quirky and interesting enough to keep you reading. Overall a satisfying book, better in some respects than the first book (more focused) but also not as compelling. However, this book was firmly about Verity Price, with her deciding what she wants to do with her life. (If you read my review of the first book, I felt it was more Dominic's story than Verity's, since he's the one that has a significant character arc there.) A good read.
Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
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