Children go missing all the time. Sometimes, there is a fuss. Sometimes, they come home. Sometimes, they’ve been much further than you’d think. Welcome to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Leave your disbelief at the door. Open your heart wide. Bring tissues.
Brilliant science and human idiocy brought on the zombie apocalypse; a generation later, the population still lives behind walls. Intrepid bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are the rare exception – they’ll chase a good story wherever it leads. When they’re invited to join a Presidential campaign, their ratings are guaranteed. But politics can be as merciless as the walking dead…
The third instalment of Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series moves the action to a new location and introduces Alex, Verity Price’s older brother. Smart, quiet and Devoted To Science, he’s as well trained as his little sisters – which is just as well given what’s about to go down in Columbus, Ohio…
I am making up for all that Literary Consideration by jumping into the second volume of the Incryptid series, Midnight Blue-Light Special. I am amused to report that being an urban fantasy potboiler it has no literary merit whatsoever, and I am enjoying it enormously. Double thumbs-up to , given that I don't typically touch urban fantasy with a bargepole (because the accompanying paranormal romance usually gives me hives).
Here Verity Price, would-be ballroom dancer and full-time monster saviour, continues her quest to keep New York City safe from her (entirely human) boyfriend and his intense gang of monster hunters. Can Verity persuade the Incryptid population of New York to hide from the marauding Covenant of St George? Can her boyfriend stop them finding her and cutting her to ribbons as the antagonistic descendant of an unforgotten cult traitor? Will the skirts get shorter? Can the snark get sillier? Yes, obviously, all around. I'll admit to not enjoying this quite as much as the first instalment, but it was still solidly entertaining.
A few minor quibbles:
– the sudden obsession with informing us of monster dress sizes – in Book 1 they were drop-dead gorgeous; in Book 2 we need to know that doesn't mean size 2 – which I can only assume reflects an online spat about the book covers (both of which feature dinky Verity exposing her midriff and/or legs). I love the touch that big is beautiful, but it wasn't subtle, so it felt like a pointed aside rather than an integral part of the narrative.
– the orchestrated snark levels reached a point where most of the conversations stopped feeling real – Istas in particular is awfully scripted, and the effect doesn't really gel with the Gothic Lolita Inuit shapeshifting carnivore.
– the lack of a shift in tone of voice when we briefly acquired a new narrator. Sarah may have been raised by the Bakers, but she's a profoundly different person to Verity. Not that you can tell from her inner voice. She's also fascinating in her own right, but we get a better view of this through Verity's eyes than through her own, which is a bit weird, frankly.
None of these distracted too much though – this is silly fun pulp, and I'm not going to be too exacting about literary prowess – so the overall package was just what I was after.