by Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #4
Publication Date: March 15, 2015
Publisher: DAW Books
Australia is a cryptozoologist’s dream, filled with unique species and unique challenges. Unfortunately, it’s also filled with Shelby’s family, who aren’t delighted by the length of her stay in America. And then there are the werewolves to consider: infected killing machines who would like nothing more than to claim the continent as their own. The continent which currently includes Alex.
Survival is hard enough when you’re on familiar ground. Alex Price is very far from home, but there’s one thing he knows for sure: he’s not going down without a fight.
The second of Alex’s books, and the best of the two by a clear margin. This one takes place in Australia, and the author nails the setting, while taking the mickey about (northern) Australia’s natural population’s inherent desire to kill everyone. Half-off Ragnarok struggled to get this cultural uniqueness right, in my opinion, so it was a relief to see the improvement here. Shelby still remained elusive as an individual, but her family members more than compensated.
Shelby’s family is why I didn’t like this book even more; they’re over-the-top asses to Alex and it teetered on caricature.
The plot was good; while I wasn’t shocked by the turn of events, I didn’t see them coming, either. I love how the author and Alex brought in the wadjets, using this angle to work in the injustice of ‘otherness’, though the Yowie’s (who I loved) circumstances turned what was a subtle but effective highlight on that injustice into something more like a sledgehammer.
The Aeslin mice are here but I did not appreciate the turn of events the author took with them. Maybe she’d argue it was necessary to the story line, but she’d never convince me. Luckily it was a relatively short scene.
With every book of McGuire’s I’ve read, I have both enjoyed them and found them problematic. That I mostly keep coming back (I’ve skipped a few) for more Price family antics suggests she gets it right more often than she doesn’t.