Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Discount Armageddon

Not sure what is more surprising here, I'm actually posting or that I'm posting my first book review. This just goes to prove that miracles do happen.

So, I am a fan of Seanan McGuire's works, particularly the October Daye series. I have only been able to buy two books in the last few months, both were hers. One Salt Sea, the most recent October Daye novel, and Discount Armageddon, the first in her new InCryptid series. 

A couple of months ago I discovered that McGuire blogs pretty regularly though her LiveJournal. I regularly, I mean practically everyday and they are actual blogs about stuff, not just giveaways and links, but actual content. For example, preceding the release of Discount Armageddon she had a daily series of the InCryptid Alphabet. A lot of it was confusing since we were getting words and names of people that we had no true connection to, but when I began reading and was able to say, "Ah, that's so and so, they they're connected to this by that," which would have been more difficult without the extra primer, but I like to digress.

McGuire is not one to hold your hand when she starts a new work. You get dropped into a fantastical world and you better hope you're ready for it. The introduction for DA is Verity, our heroine, at a club looking for a monster, specifically a ghoul.

Most people don't know what a ghoul is. I'll give you a hint, Romero never used the word zombie.

So now you know that she was hunting a humanoid creature that likes to eat people. Her ghouls are much better at moving though since they can apparently dance. The only way Verity can spot it is by look at it's teeth, since eating human flesh is terrible for your dental work.

Meanwhile her 'cousin' the telepath is nearby. At this point you think that maybe some people are just telepaths, except they aren't. If you read InCryptid A to Z you'd know that her cousin is a cryptid. That isn't mentioned for another hundred pages in the book.

Is this good or bad? Well, she's trying to avoid an info dump and since she writes fantasy, info dumps are very possible. It really goes to the heart of the matter, do we need to know that the cousin is a cryptid at that moment? Not really. Later on when we start to meet more interesting 'people' it starts to get a little more fuzzy. She'll use a complex word to describe someone and you aren't going to know exactly what they are. Having a computer handy isn't going to help since her version isn't going to be the same as what shows up. Using the ghoul example you'd get a picture of a D&D 3rd Ed ghoul which looks more like Romero's work and is nothing like McGuire's or you might read up on Jim Butcher's ghouls in the Dresdenverse, which are giant human shaped cockroaches.

I've gotten over that though. You have to trust that she'll remember to tell you when it becomes important.

The end result is a fun book. It's not as intriguing as the October Daye series and considering she uses this as a lighthearted break makes perfect sense. The concept is 'a monster hunter wishes she was a ballroom dancer', I think she got it from the Script Frenzy plot machine. Anyway it's completely worth your while to read and to get a taste of McGuire's writing style without dealing with the complexities of fairies.

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