Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TBR Challenge: Incryptid Road Trip

Stories I read:
"IM" (Artie & Sarah story)
"Snake in the Grass"
"Swamp Bromeliad"
"Waking Up in Vegas"

For the January TBR Challenge, I read several short stories in Seanan McGuire's Incryptid universe.  The stories fill in and expand the history shown in the novels. Some are released for free as ebooks (mobi, epub, pdf) on McGuire's website, while others appear in published anthologies. I'm trying to catch up with the free ones, before I attempt to track the others through the library.

The stories cover different parts of the Healy-Price timeline, but I'm reading the Verity Price & Dominic De Luca ones set after the events of "Midnight Blue Light Special" and Verity's return in "Chaos Choreography." The stories are in the form of a road trip across America. Having decided to be with Verity, Dominic is getting a crash course in the family history in all its weird glory.  That includes undead aunts, lesser gorgons, Vegas hustlers, and psychotropic man eating plants. All the usual.

My favorite of the four stories I read was "Snake in the Glass", set in a Chicago hotel owned by a family of Lesser Gorgons, partly because I liked cryptid anthropology and meeting Aunt Lea. The arranged marriage subplot was interesting too. With so few families around, they can't be as choosy about offers. But romance shows up in unlikely places.

My least favorite was "IM" but that may be because it was so one-sided on Artie's perspective. I love Sarah in the novels and how her cuckoo nature is at odds with her personality.

The tension with Dominic and Verity's relationship shows up in odd ways. While Verity is showing Dominic her family haunts, he reminds her what he's leaving behind with the Covenant. He clearly wants more from his life than what the Covenant trained him for.

I would not suggest picking up these stories without reading the novels first. The earlier Fran & Jonathan Healy ones work better as standalone stories, but these are tied heavily to the events of "Discount Armaggeddon", "Midnight Blue Light Special" and the others. (I have not read the Alexander Price books yet, but I haven't noticed too many spoilers for the those books within).