I had an ARC of this in my TBR pile–so I must have gotten it from the publisher back when I was reviewing for RT although I know I didn’t review it for that publication (I do recall being sad about sending it off to someone else because I enjoy McGuire’s Toby Daye series a lot).
Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armageddon is so much FUN.
Verity Price is a cryptozoologist who studies–naturally–cryptids. In their natural habitats which, in this case, is New York City. Verity is also competitive ballroom dancer and very much undercover–so much so that she’s working at a strip bar as a cocktail waitress (hence the outfit on the cover–it pretty much matches her working uniform as described in the book–although I can’t figure out where the bottom half of her left leg is).
Her entire family studies cryptids, in fact–they left the Covenant of St. George several generations ago in the wake of a philosophical dispute: the Covenant wanted to exterminate them all, the Prices felt that as long as the cryptids weren’t eating or hurting humans (much) they deserved to be left alone.
The worldbuilding is nicely detailed and all the bits and pieces fit together nicely. There’s a fantastic diversity of characters and I really enjoyed the variety of different cryptids and the way McGuire made them fit into the world.
There’s a lot of action and climbing around on rooftops as well as mucking about in sewers. Verity is definitely more intelligent than your run of the mill urban fantasy protagonist and I am very pleased to say that all sexy times in this book are 100% consensual between all parties and there’s no weird fated mate crap going on. In fact, the romance in this book is complicated by the fact that Dominic is a member of the Covenant and takes some convincing (I will say that his abrupt turnaround is a weakness of the book). The conflict of the book centers on disappearing cryptid women and the possibility of a snake cult and the last dragon in the world.
Verity’s family is great and I want to see more of them, especially her cousin Sarah and her sister Antimony and the Aeslin mice are, seriously, the best thing ever and I love them so. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and fun urban fantasy that manages to avoid nearly all the pitfalls of the genre (no leather pants! and a plot-relevant reason for the high heels!), Discount Armageddon just might fit the bill.