Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2021
I will begin by explaining what I'm reviewing here. Seanan McGuire has written a lot of short stories in The Incryptid Series. You can find a couple dozen of the older ones listed on the Incryptid Short Stories page on her web site. (Note, she has also published many stories through her Patreon site. They are not listed on the the Incryptid Short Stories page on her website, although many of them are listed in her bibliography.)

The stories are divided into groups, which can be divided into two supergoups: those that occur before Half-Off Ragnarok, and those that occur after. The first supergroup mostly concerns the early backstory of the Healy/Price family in the USA. The post-Half-Off Ragnarok stories are about the present-day (more or less -- 21st century) Prices and cryptids. It is this second group that I'm reviewing here. BE WARNED: spoilers for Half-Off Ragnarok follow.

These are the stories in question:
Verity Price and Dominic De Luca:
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street, free download from McGuire's web site
Snake in the Glass, free download from McGuire's web site
Swamp Bromeliad, free download from McGuire's web site
Waking Up In Vegas, free download from McGuire's web site

Antimony Price:
Blocked, free download from McGuire's web site
Bad Dream Girl, in the Anthology Glitter & Mayhem
Jammed, in the Anthology Games Creatures Play
Survival Horror, in the Anthology Press Start to Play

Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington
IM, free download from McGuire's web site

Istas and Ryan
Red as Snow, in Anthology Hex in the City
Black as Blood, free download from McGuire's web site
White as a Raven's Wing, free download from McGuire's web site

Eliza
Balance, in Anthology Urban Enemies

The Verity and Dominic stories all take place after Half-Off Ragnarok and reflect the state of things as they were left at the end of that book. Half-Off Ragnarok had two main consequences for the future of the Incryptid world: Dominic De Luca is now irrevocably committed to Verity and severed from the Covenant. In fact, the Covenant believes he is dead, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Sarah, who damaged herself modifying the memories of the participants in Half-Off Ragnarok. So, there are the promised spoilers: Verity and Dominic are now a couple (this will come as a surprise to precisely no one), and Sarah has hurt herself badly.

Verity and Dominic are driving from New York to Portland in a rented U-Haul truck so that Dominic can be introduced to Verity's family. They are driving because Verity has a colony of Aeslin mice to transport -- not easily accomplished by air. Also, Verity is taking the scenic route, to introduce Dominic to various folks. The first story in this series, The Ghosts of Bourbon Street, is a crossover, in that it also belongs to McGuire's Ghost Road series -- you meet Rose Marshall, the main character of those books. Some other old friends show up: the Carmichael hotel in Chicago, and the Swamp Bromeliad in Buckley Township, Michigan. This series of stories ends as intended, with Verity introducing Dominic to her family in Portland.

Most of the Antimony stories have no obvious relation to the events of Half-Off Ragnarok. One may suppose they occur before that. If you have read the first three Incryptid novels you have sort-of been introduced to Antimony, because she features heavily in Verity's recollections of growing up, as the annoying little sister who excelled in such Price family staple skills as extreme survival, setting traps, and demolition. Now, introduced to Antimony in person, we see that she has complementary memories of Verity and Alex as the older siblings who her parents (in Antimony's view) always seemed to value more than her. Antimony becomes a roller-derby skater in these stories. A word about the anthologies: I read only one non-McGuire story. Several reviewers of Glitter & Mayhem, mentioned the story about the dancing princesses, so I read that on, too. It was OK. Jammed appeared in Games Creatures Play, which appears to be out of print. I couldn't easily get a copy, so I listened to the audiobook version. Survival Horror is in the Anthology Press Start to Play -- I read none of the other stories. The Antimony stores were a fun intro to Antimony, whom I now look forward to encountering in the novels. They also introduce her cousin Elsinor Harrington, whose father is an incubus, making Elsie a succubus.

That brings us to Antimony's other cousin, Elsie's brother Arthur (Artie). We have actually heard quite a bit about Artie in the novels because he and Sarah are hopelessly in love, and Verity also tends to phone Artie when she needs geek skills. IM is really all about whether Sarah is going to recover.

Istas is a kind of fun character. We met her in the Verity Price novels, where she works as a cocktail waitress at the place where Verity works, and fights at Verity's side. She's a sort of werewolf/werebear (as is her main squeeze Ryan). But what's fun about her is her very direct, uncomplicated way of thinking and speaking.

The final story, Balance, is about a cuckoo who, as far as I know, appears nowhere else in the Incryptid world. I didn't enjoy this story as much as the rest.

In summary, these stories are a good way to meet the Price/Harrington families. I give them four stars, except for Balance, which rates only three.
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