Who's ready for a bit of a break from all of the holiday cheer? Me too, lets talk about a book instead shall we? Let's talk about Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire, the third book in the InCryptid series. Even though I'm still not 100% sure what a Ragnarok is, this was still a pretty cool book. As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
Herpetologist, who when not working at the local zoo, is busy tracking and tagging local cryptid species. He is busy trying to figure out how to introduce the fricken, a feathered frog that is displacing the native frog population, into the mainstream science world. As he is doing this, he is also working on a basilisk breeding program, sneaking in a young local lamia to see her cobra fiancee, and trying to keep his kind of sort of Big Cat keeper girlfriend Shelby from finding out about any of this. All of this is not enough for our friend Alex, he must also solve a spate of murders that are carried out by turning a person to stone. Alex is concerned that somebody in the local Gorgon community may be to blame. Eventually we, and Alex learn that Shelby is not a stranger to cryptids, and adds her own Aussie perspective to the game. She reveals herself after she discovers that Alex's cousin is what is known as a cuckoo, a potentially dangerous and destructive creature that Alex is helping to watch while she recovers from a psychic injury gotten when she helped save Alex's sister Verity. Many cool things and stuff happen, including lives in danger, history revealed, and a lot of various creatures being introduced. In the end a twisted gorgon with mixed parentage is to blame for the deaths, he is caught and neutralized. The gorgon community is shaken, but endures. Alex and Shelby hang out for hopefully another adventure.
This book is pretty cool, I loved the first two InCryptid books, I loved Verity and was very hopeful I would love the series as it moved on to Alex, and I did. In spite of the bare bones synopsis there is a ton of really great stuff in this book. To start with Alex is very much not Verity. You can tell he was raised in the same family, but his personality is all his own. His chosen profession is pretty cool all on its own, but when you add the cryptid element, it just is awesome. Shelby is ok, she is not my favorite character to grace this series, but she is tolerable. I ADORE Alex's grandparents, and the way they deal with life. I also very much enjoyed seeing what happened to their cuckoo cousin Sarah and watching her strange road to recovery. It was cool to see a bit of a community relationship between a sapient cryptid group and the Price family, the tenuousness, the interpersonal and inter species issues, all asked some great questions of society as a whole. I did not completely understand the mistrust that the gorgon community had for Alex as he and his family have done nothing but help them survive and thrive, so that was a bit frustrating. The series continues to explore what is considered mainstream and what is considered "not normal" and the implications when one crosses over to the other. The need for certain species to live in hiding, while others can live in the open, the necessity to hide certain attributes, the difference between animal and sentient is all explored and questioned in these books and I love it. The Aeslin mice keep me entertained as always and I hope they continue to make appearances in every book. I am liking this moving on to the various Price family members and cannot wait until I get to read Antimony's story, 'cause even though we have never officially met, she is my favorite. In case you can't tell I really enjoyed this book and will continue happily reading this series. I give it 8 out of 10 church griffins.
What kind of cryptid do you wish was real? Who gets to choose what is "normal"? Am I getting really lazy with my synopsis's?