Top positive review
Not for arachnidphobics!
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2021
Don't read this book first, if you're new to this series! It takes place following the cliff-hanger ending of Imaginary Numbers.
This book focuses on Sarah Zellaby, the cuckoo adopted by the Price family. Cuckoos are not human. They look human but are descended from telepathic wasps in another dimension. They're apex predators who are obsessed with math. Being adopted by the Prices means that while Sarah has the love for math and the telepathy common to most of her species, she is not a predator at heart. She doesn't invade people's minds without good cause.
The start of the book finds her confronted by her cousins, Antimony and Artie (who is also the love of her life), as she wakes to find herself tied to a chair wearing nothing but a nightgown. It seems that in Imaginary Numbers, others of her species kidnapped her and turned her into a Queen cuckoo with the power to destroy the earth as she mathematically managed to bring the cuckoos from earth to yet another dimension. With the help of her family and friends, Sarah managed not to destroy the earth, but they did find themselves in another dimension, and Sarah had deleted herself from their memories, thinking that would be kinder to them as she fully expected to die.
So she lives and is being threatened by those whom she is closest to. Not a great situation to be in.
Fans of McGuire will really enjoy this. Sarah managed to uproot an entire college campus, students included, and transport it to this other dimension. The cuckoos there have turned into zombies - Sarah needed more brain/processing power to not destroy the earth so she took it from her captor cuckoos. Their bodies survived, but their brains did not. So Sarah and company have to roam the campus and locate all the pockets of hiding students while evading killer cuckoos. And aliens. And giant killer spiders.
Oh yeah - if you get squicked out by spiders, you might want to avoid this.
I loved the new novella at the back as well: in this prequel to Calculated Risks, Antimony, Verity, Sarah, and Art head up to Emerald City Comic Con to hunt a siren who preys on con attendees. It just sang to my geeky little heart. I wished there had been more written about their time at the con aside from doing the job, but it was still a lot of fun for us fans.