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Pocket Apocalypse, by Seanan McGuire
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2015
Review Posted: 5/30/2015
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Pocket Apocalypse, by Seanan McGuire

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

This is the fourth book in Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series and the second in the series to focus on Alexander Price.  It was an interesting book because it took us out of the US and to Australia, although I still think Verity Price is the stronger character in this series.
The premise:  Shelby Tanner, Alexander's girlfriend, comes to Alexander to tell him that werewolves have popped up in Australia and her family needs his help, since he's dealt with werewolves before.  Alexander overcomes his fear of the creatures from his previous experience and agrees to travel to Australia to help eradicate the disease, which manifests like rabies and is passed on by fluid contact, usually through bites.  But once he arrives in Australia, he's uncertain about what might take him out first--the werewolves . . . or Shelby's family.
As usual, the writing is fluid and easy to read and the plot fairly light and straightforward.  This series relies more on the characters and the situation to draw the reader in and hold them.  Alexander Price is a fine character, although not as unique as Verity in her previous books.  But unlike the last book, I felt that Alexander was his own character here, rather than just a male version of Verity (as I felt in the last book).  I enjoyed this book more than Alexander's previous one.  More focus was on Shelby's family here, and they were unique in their own ways.  The sisters were far more entertaining than either Alexander or Shelby.
I did have some issues.  One is an issue I have in many of Seanan McGuire's books:  characters running off and doing things for no solid reason.  In this case, Alexander, Shelby, and one of the sisters goes tearing off after another sister . . . and I'm not convinced that it was so urgent that all of them should have gone at that precise moment.  There were more important things going on and at least one of them (Shelby or Alexander) should have stayed behind to deal with that.  Having them all go wasn't quite realistic.  There were a couple of other decisions in the course of the book similar to this that also didn't quite ring true.  This always pushes me out of the enjoyment of the novel.
Another issue here is the Aeslin mice.  I love them, they're fun, but they weren't used effectively here.  At one point, early-ish in the novel, the mice say that they can sniff out the werewolves lair . . . and no one ever uses this fact.  If they're hunting for the werewolves, why wouldn't they send the mice out to find out where they're hiding?  It makes no sense not to use them, when they throw themselves into danger without a thought and do desperate unthinking things all the time.
In any case, the book was still fun.  I wish that more had been done with the Australian cryptids, once that we wouldn't see here in the US, to make the story more unique.  There were a few Australian faces, but did the werewolves really need to be in Australia?  It would have been cool to have an Australian menace as the focus of the book.  But now that we have the connection to Australia established, maybe this will pop up in a later book.  For now, we'll have to wait for the next novel, which I believe is supposed to focus on Verity again.
Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate
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