Before I write this particular review, I have something to confess. It is something of a fluke that I read Discount Armageddon. If I had realized who wrote it, I wouldn’t have done it, but the description looked good, and C.E. Murphy liked it, so I picked it up and started reading. It wasn’t until I was well into the book, and thoroughly enjoying it that I realized this was the same author who wrote the October Day series. I have tried to read Rosemary and Rue multiple times and simply couldn’t enjoy it. The lead, October, just irritated me to no end. Whine whine whine. Get over it, put on your big-girl panties, and get a life! Authors who write weak and whiny characters just don’t do it for me.
So, imagine my surprise when I literally couldn’t put Discount Armageddon down. Verity Price is a cryptozoologist, a cryptozoologist with a jones for dancing and a strong backstory. The research and presentation into cryptids is exceptionally well done. There isn’t ‘magic’ in the development of the crypids, but rather evolutionary pressures which brought about the development of the ‘non pure human’ species. It is a new and creative presentation that immediately pulled me into the story. What kept me there is Verity herself. She is strong without being overdone, has a good head on her shoulders and a good heart. She isn’t ‘Wonder Woman’ but she is cool, collected and willing to do what needs to be done to get the job done. She is willing to put herself out there for what she believes in, and doesn’t pull punches when necessary. Her life is balanced between ballroom dancing, waitressing in a ‘titty-bar’ called Fish and Strip and trying to maintain the delicate balance between humans and cryptids in New York.
There is a bit of romance, but another thing I really liked is that the balance of the relationship was even, and it isn’t ‘boy meets girl, boy saves girl’ – though he is in the group that fights in the end. Dominic comes with his own problems, serious problems, and it will be interesting to follow his growth (or lack of said) should he continue as a character through the second book in the series, Midnight Blue-Light Special.
The back-story of her family and how they interact with the world is brilliant. It takes a historical concept, the inability of humanity to accept anything they consider ‘different’, and their willingness to commit genocide due to their fear of that same difference and pulls it out into the sunshine. As anyone who reads my reviews knows, I am always willing to see deeper levels in author’s writings. Even if sometimes those different levels aren’t really there. I am able, in this novel, to see layers of prejudice, xenophobia, the incapability of humanity to grow and mature, and the strength required for a person, or a small group, to stand up and say ‘this is wrong.’
Overall, this is a wonderful story. One of the things I like most about it is the authors ability to make me laugh. Some author’s take themselves so seriously that I can’t enjoy their books as much as I should. Exceptional books require a level of humour, of taking themselves more lightly at times, in order to give their works that balance that nudges them from mediocre to exceptional. I think that is why I was so surprised with this book. McGuire didn’t show me that in Rosemary and Rue. I simply wanted to shoot October in the head to put her out of my misery. Verity, on the other hand, I would enjoy knowing.
I have some R4R’s to complete in my ‘have a minute to read’ times. But I am absolutely going to start Midnight Blue-Light Special. I actually picked it up from Audible.com, though I wish I hadn’t, as Emily Bauer is narrating and her voice reminds me of a sixth-grader, but we will see if I can get past that. I usually enjoy listening more than straight reading, it lets me have both of my hands available and the voices often pull me so deeply into a novel that I literally lose myself in the book. It will be interesting to see if I can get past Bauer’s voice in order to lose myself in the book, or if I will have to drop back to a Kindle edition in order to be able to enjoy the book.