Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thou Shalt Not Denude The Airplane's Cheese Selection

First off, Happy Birthday to L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series which has been one of my favorites for years!  Also shout out to Google for their awesome tribute.  Ok on to business.  Today I shall ramble about Pocket Apocalypse the fourth book in the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire.  I was in the mood for a fun book and this one, like the others did not disappoint.  Let's jump right in, as always SPOILERS AHEAD.
I'm gonna try and get back to the shorter synopsis...but we will see how it goes.  Alex Price's life is finally getting back to normal.  His cuckoo cousin Sarah is recovering nicely, his basilisk project is doing well and his girlfriend Shelby Tanner is as hot and feisty as ever.  Of course our friends the Price kids can never just live a normal life, so after an expedition to show his assistant some migrating screaming yams (yes you read that right) he is asked by Shelby to accompany her to her home in Australia to assist with a pesky werewolf problem.  Now this may not seem to be a big deal for our strong yet studious InCryptid Price boy...but in reality it is a nightmare come true.  Turns out that werewolfism is actually a sort of mutated rabies on steroids and once it takes hold in a population becomes incredibly difficult to stop.  Add this to the fact that Australia is a super fragile and enclosed eco-system and BAM potential devastation all the way around.  All of this is made worse by the duo facts of Alex's previous bad run ins with werewolves and the prospect of meeting Shelby's family.  Alex and Shelby hop a plane (along with a splinter colony of Aeslin Mice ((WOOHOO)) and down under they go.  The Tanner family does not like Alex in any way shape or form and do not even pretend to try and hide it.  After a whole bunch of hoop jumping they finally get down to business.  The Thirty-Six (which is the Cryptid protection group of Australia) is vastly different then Alex's family and it takes him a while to earn even their nominal trust.  This is made even worse, when gathering ingredients for a risky partial cure, he and another 36er by the name of Cooper get attacked and bitten by werewolves.  Cooper is killed and Alex is bitten.  After more fighting and arguing and all kinds of stupid ignorance Alex finally gets back on track hunting down the werewolves.  Shelby is continually torn between standing by Alex and being pressured by her family.  An incident involving weresheep (yep you read that right too) finally convinces the Tanner family that somebody is using the werewolves to get them.  More chaos and confusion and it turns out Cooper (who did not really die) had been turned and was turning other people to try and change the way the 36er's dealt with them (up to this point if you turned you were killed).  Alex is save and the 36er's agree to try and deal with the werewolves AND to also try and be friendlier with the more humanoid Cryptids, which up to this point they had mostly ignored.  Shelby declares her intent to marry Alex...which he is totally ok with.  The book ends with Alex and the Tanner on if not friendly terms, at least better then they were before and Alex and Shelby head back to the US to plan the wedding.
Hey that wasn't too long, yay me!  Anyways, as with every book in this series so far I loved it.  Alex is still  no Verity, but he is still an awesomely written character who I enjoy reading about.  Let's see, stuff I liked specific to this book.  I loved the trip to Australia and getting to see how another InCryptid group works, seeing the history, challenges and differences reminds me that no matter what story I read, there is always another perspective.  This story really showed us in the character of Alex how somebody can be capable and trained and still prefer a different lifestyle...what do I mean by that?  Alex grew up in a home where training to stay alive was paramount, and by his own admission, while he was good (even amazing by lay people standards) his sisters where the true pro's.  This was mostly because his interest lay more in the studious scientific side of things.  This however does not make him a weakling, as several episodes in this book show him holding his own, just that violence or physicalness is not his preferred method.  This author is very good at writing characters that show a person can be more then one thing, Shelby can be hot, flirty, take charge, a bit cowed by her family, and have a great sense of humor all at the same time.  Alex can have his nose in his books, prefer to avoid drama, roll his eyes at his girlfriends impulsiveness and still kick major hinney.  The other books in this series have also shown how adept miss McGuire is at these sort of characters which I LOVE!  I was super worried when Alex and Shelby went to Australia 'cause I thought we might have to leave the Aeslin Mice behind, and they are my absolute favorites in all the books.  Happily for me, the Aeslin Mice not only got to come, but they played a pretty significant part in the book.  As with the earlier books, I like how the Cryptids, and in this case Outsiders (non Thirty-Sixers) were used as a bit of a metaphor for prejudice and fear.  In this book we saw how even the subtle "polite ignorance" of a fellow being can lead to very huge consequences...something we all need to remember.  Things I didn't like so much.  I missed the rest of the Price family (though we did get to hear family stories and also had the Price/Healy family quote at the start of each chapter) I absolutely adore their sense of humor which was soley carried by Alex in this book.  I also had a hard time at the sheer meaness and bossiness of the Tanner family, that they thought it was ok to essentially hold Alex as an enemy with useful information and that regardless of their daughters happiness their continual efforts to drive them apart.  I get what was happening, but it got a bit tedious and I wanted either/or Alex and Shelby to put up more of a fuss, or walk away...thought eventually they both kind of do.  While I understood the Thirty-Sixers initial distrust of outsiders, the fact that Alex had a proven track record and had actually successfully dealt with werewolves before made me feel like at least some of the group would have gotten on board with what he was saying, especially after he did some good work in Australia.  Also the next book is about Verity again, which while I am totally excited to see my dancing girl again...I was sort of hoping we could get to know Antimony better...she seems like my type of girl.  Overall I very much enjoyed the book, finishing it in just a few days and looking forward to the next one.  I recommend it to any urban fantasy, sci fi fans, people who like myths and legends that can kill them, or really enjoy a migrating screaming yam.  I give it 7 out of 10 binyips and can't wait for the next one.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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