Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hail The Lack Of Shooting, Stabbing And Flame

Hey guess what I got in the mail the other day?!?  My newest Incryptid book  Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire!!!!!  This is one of those series that no matter what I'm currently reading I promptly ditch it in favor of devouring the latest series installment and this book was no exception.  Was it worth interrupting my reading cycle?  Let's find out shall we?  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First off, if you haven't read the first four books this is gonna be confusing as I'm not gonna recap them...so either go read these excellent books or go read my ramblings...go on...ok you all caught up...good.  After a couple of books with Alexander Price we are back with our girl Verity.  While we were away she has married her ex-Covenant boy Dominic in a shot gun Vegas wedding and headed back to the family home in Oregon.  Verity gets a phone call from the producers of a dance show that she was on in her alternate persona of Valerie Pryor.  They are doing a reunion show and want her back.  Surprisingly her family supports her decision to give her ball room dancing shot at normalcy one last go so off she and Dominic go to California.  Verity is reunited with some of her fellow contestants and friends from previous seasons and gets right into the swing of things as Valerie on the dance show Dance or Die which is a very very very thinly disguised homage to the show So You Think You Can Dance (Which on a side note I adore!).  We learn that Brenna is actually a dragon princess and she has a favor to ask Verity.  Brenna's nest of dragon princesses is desperate for a male and wants Verity to help broker a deal with the New York dragons to obtain one.  Verity agrees to help and recruit's a disguised Dominic to help.  More rehearsal, competing and dancing ensue.  The night after the third elimination a very disturbing discovery is made by a couple of Verity's cryptid friends/fellow competitors.  It seems that the eliminated contestants were brutally and ritualistically murdered for some reason.  Verity discovers some very sketchy runes and sends them to her family for some help and they in turn send her, her grandmother Alice Price-Healy...who due to travelling through various dimensions appears to be the same age as her granddaughter Verity.  The rough and tumble Alice, Verity and Dominic along with the various friendly (and not so friendly) cryptids proceed to investigate the murders.  After every elimination, the eliminated pair gets murdered in an ever increasing complicated ritual.  The team discover that the rituals once completed will culminate in s giant snake god/demon/being coming through from another dimension for reasons that are definitely not good.  Most of the rest of the book is a combination of Verity as Valerie attempting to be a normal contestant and Verity with her team trying to save everybody.  We get to the big showdown and find out that Verity as Valerie's partner Ander's is actually the producers son and he along with one of the judges are the the "masterminds" that assembled the snake cult.  The snake comes through the inter dimensional portal after one last brutal murder and blood and chaos ensue.  There is an epic fight...all caught on camera and now Verity is exposed to the Covenant and all the other cryptids who happen to be watching...can't wait for the next book!
World Building - The setting is urban fantasy mostly placed in and around the set of Dance or Die.  The world is built through out the series and continues to build in this installation.  The author does a great job really getting us into the thick of the new setting that we plop our people in.  What I really like about this author is how she gives us plenty of touch stones and frame work through out the series while still managing to give us new and interesting places in each book that are fully realized. The cryptid world is fairly consistent, varied and well thought out.  Love it.

Story - The story was well done.  It combines the ongoing story of the Price family, with the "story of the book" which while being ANOTHER snake cult, was still well done and made sense in the context of this book and the overall series.  We finally got to see Grandma Alice which gave us some glimpses into the overall family story which is at the heart of this series.  Good solid story.

Character - I feel that the characters are the biggest strength in this series and this boo.k does is not any exception.  Verity and Dominic were awesome as always.  I loved Pax and Malena and the weird dichotomy of them being completely "normal" dancing contestants and really weird mythical
creatures.  It is this two sided coin of characterization that makes this book tick.  Alice was just pretty much the awesomest thing ever!  Having her show up and really show us where the Price psychosis comes from was great...also her dedication to her husband is pretty great too.  Yeah pretty much I love every character in the book and how they all have motivation, depth and a sassy sense of humor to boot. The only objection I have is that I want so much more Antimony!  Seriously where is her book?!?

Editing - This series is in the dreaded first person, in this case we see it through Verity's eyes.  For the most part this isn't as bad as a lot of first person but even as awesome as she is...we still get stuck in her head on occasion.  Other then the occasional angst and introspection from Verity, the overall story flows.  The book is consistent with the rest of the series and I didn't need to flip back and forth to figure out where I was in the story.  The pacing was great and the ratio of dancing and the cryptid stuff was pretty spot on.  Good job.

Dance or Die - I can tell that the author loves the show So You Think You Can Dance and this book is seriously a direct homage to the production.  Since I also love the show, this book made me happy happy happy.  I liked how much music and dance that was in the book.  Since I have a theatre background which includes dance, all the nuances and details really made this book pop for me.  Verity realizes that both of her loves, dance and the family business are mutually exclusive.  To be a professional dancer would take up so much of her time that it would be the only real thing she could do.  On the flip side, the family business takes up just as much time and dedication.  It was nice to see her get into her dance and for us to see her love for it.  It was also good to contrast her current position with other dancers who have no other concerns and how that affects her decision.  Anyways this book really appealed to many parts of my own self so YAY!

Aslien Mice - I love the mice!!!!  There quotes, rituals, and record keeping make these little dudes essential to each book.  In this book they get to travel with Verity to California and the little guys make the most of it.  One of the things I most look forward to in these books is finding the best quote for the post title.  They also provide a way to catch us readers up on various Price family history.  There is also the most perfect timing of humor with my rodent friends.

Marriage - I like how marriage is treated in this book.  Getting married to Dominic did not in any way shape or form reduce Verity, her strength or her personality.  Dominic also did not completely lose him self to the dominating Price family either.  We see Grandma Alice spend most of her life
traversing the various dimensions to find her husband who was lost.  Verity's parents are both smart, strong and in love with each other.  It's really nice to see an author who does not discount love and marriage as a giving up, or a diminishing, but rather a vibrant part of life.  I truly believe if you find the right person, marriage turns into an adventuring partenership with some really awesome benefits and this book seems to share my views.

Overall Impression - As with the previous books, I devoured this one in a couple of days.  It kept up the energy, the spunk, the adventure and the humor that I have loved so far.  I am ready for an Antimony book, but I still love any book set in this series.  I recommend it for anybody who needs a great read, strong characters and likes a bit of urban fantasy.  I give this book 8 out of 10 barley there fringed dresses and can't wait for the next book.
Happy Reading Everybody!

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