Half-off Ragnarok (InCryptid, #3)

Half-Off RagnarokHalf-Off Ragnarok
by Seanan McGuire
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9780756408114
Series: InCryptid #3
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Pages: 356
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: DAW Books

 

These books always start off so slow for me, and this one felt especially so.  I suppose the author might have felt as though she needed to do a bit of world building with the change of character.  Whatever the case, Alex’s story dragged in spite of some cryptid action early on in the first half.

Fortunately, I liked Alex, and I was interested enough in Sarah’s recovery after book 2 to keep on.  Which became more important as I failed to find anything interesting or authentic about Shelby, Alex’s romantic interest.  Partly because, living in Australia, I was looking for the “Aussie-ness” of her personality, and it never appeared.  In the acknowledgements, the author thanked someone for keeping her from making Shelby a cliché, which  I can wholly appreciate wanting to avoid, as well as how easily it might be to fall into that trap.  But I think her advisor might have over-compensated (and failed to catch that it’s the Great Ocean Road, not highway).  Most Aussies aren’t Crocodile Dundee, or Steve Irwin, but they do have a unique character, and Shelby didn’t have it.  Though my favorite quote of the book was:

“Pretty sure that ship has sailed,” said Shelby, who was eyeing the nearby foliage with trepidation, as if she expected it to attack at any moment.  Then again, she came from Australia: she probably did expect some sort of vegetable ambush.

(Australia.  The only continent designed with a difficulty rating of  “ha ha fuck you no.”)

After about the first half, the story started to stand on its own legs.  Shelby never really got off the ground for me, but the rest of the story coalesced into something moderately interesting.  The plot was well crafted, but it just didn’t have any oomph, for me.  As always though, the presence of the Aeslin mice, and in this case, Angela Baker, made up for a lot.

I have the second of Alex’s books, and I’ll read it – it takes place in Australia, and it will be interesting to see of the author writes the characters any more authentically on the second try.

I’m using this book for the Monsters square in Halloween Bingo 2020.  It not only had basilisks, gorgons, and cockatrice, oh my, but one of the main secondary characters, Alex’s grandfather, is a revenant.

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