Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night...
The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity - and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance. Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.
When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...
“The problem with people who say monsters don't really exist is that they're almost never saying it to the monsters."
McGuire's Discount Armageddon is a fun romp in an urban fantasy setting with a snarky, kick-ass main character and a never-ending collection of fantasy creatures.
This book was a super fun read! The main character and narrator is Verity Price, a member of a family of crytozoologists who have broken off from a larger group and are now considered traitors. This larger group, the Covenant of St. George, is not all too fond of the Price family, but at least they think the family is dead now that they have gone into hiding. Verity is a kick-ass heroine with sarcasm to spare. She is reminiscent of Darynda Jones' Charley Davidson.
"My name is Verity Price. I'm a cryptozoologist. And this is why I can never get a goddamn date on a Saturday night."
Verity is living away from her hidden family in New York while she tries her hand at being a professional ballroom dancer. Yes, you read that right. This badass monster hunter wants to dance. Her family has agreed to give her some leeway, as long as she does her cryptozoology work while she's there. That means making friends with the local cryptid creatures that are sentient and "friendly", and chasing off those that aren't so friendly. The Price family doesn't kill cryptids on sight like the members of the Covenant do. So Verity has to make a judgment call as to whether or not a ghoul, ahool, or Sasquatch is actually dangerous to humans. That's why she carries about a million weapons at all times.
To complicate Verity's life even more than usual, a lone Covenant member shows up in the city. He's new to "field work" and fully indoctrinated in the Covenant's belief that cryptids are unnatural and should all be killed off. Dominic and Verity do not get along when they first meet. Eventually they grudgingly agree to work together temporarily, and most of their first interactions consist of arguing about their different beliefs.
I wish that there would have been more romance between Verity and Dominic. Their few 'romantic interludes' were such a tease! But this book was really more about the UF and the action, and not so much about the romance. Hopefully their relationship will develop further in future books. Their time together was thoroughly entertaining, as they played off of each other and we got some great funny moments. One of my favorites was when Dominic is finally introduced to the tribe of Aeslin mice that hang around Verity's family and celebrate various religious holidays that are both ridiculous and hilarious. "HAIL!"
Discount Armageddon's strength might be considered its weakness by some readers. McGuire is not afraid to write about all the crazy, silly, unbelievable creatures we've all heard about in stories before. She has a knack for not taking her stories so seriously that they fall apart under way too much dramatic tension. She writes these crazy creatures really well and you almost forget that you're reading about a Sasquatch or a creature thats supposed to smell like gingerbread. Some readers might get too caught up in all the cryptids, but I was able to let myself enjoy the world McGuire created and not get hung up on all the silly "monsters".
One thing about the story I did not care for was the repetitiveness. I felt like the story went in circles for a bit in the middle, with Verity going from work, to rooftop 'running', to her apartment, to the sewers, back to work, etc. I was ready for something to happen, and I finally got it - I just wish it had happened a little faster.
This is a great urban fantasy and a fun read. I blew through the story and I'm looking forward to book two!
Recommended for lovers of all things creature-y, snarky heroines, the Charley Davidson series, ballroom dancing, kick-ass heroines, and talking mice who yell "HAIL!".