“My theory of combat is simple: keep it as far away from myself as I can. I am a soft, squishy creature, with lots of moving pieces, and I want to keep all those moving pieces safely contained inside my skin.”
A little background before we begin: Magic for Nothing is the fifth book in Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series and it follows members of the Price family of cryptozoologists, aka a fancy name for monster scientists.
That’s right, my friends, they are a group of people who study monsters. For a living. Some people have all the luck.
Well, okay, maybe not luck luck. Because, not only do they have to help protect and hide the cryptids (monsters) from the human population AND police any cryptids that pose a significant danger to said human population, they ALSO have to remain hidden from an old school organization of monster hunters called the Covenant of St. George that is dedicated to the extermination of all cryptids. And they’d happily murderize the Price family (with extreme prejudice) along the way.
So, uh, yeah. Maybe I should give it a little thought before I jump into a new career of monster science-ing.
If this sounds a little bit like Buffy, well, it is a little bit like Buffy. Especially the first couple of books that focused on Verity, the eldest of the Price siblings, and her exploits in New York, complete with a brooding man-shaped nemesis/boyfriend and her difficulty balancing her night life with her career as a competitive dancer.
Believe you me, that’s not a diss. Being a little like Buffy can only ever be a positive thing. And it definitely is here. As the series has progressed, from Verity to middle brother Alex and now to little sister Antimony, it’s only gotten better. Antimony has the privilege of narrating the story that jumps up and takes the series to the next flipping level.
I’ve gotta say, this is definitely my favorite book in the series, so far. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves Murder! Betrayal! Carnivals! Roller Derby! and, of course, Adorable! Talking! Mice!
Trust me, the exclamation points are totally necessary. And that list only scratches the surface.
This is the novel where all of the consequences for choices made for generations come home to roost and, for better or worse, they fall smack-dab on Antimony’s shoulders. Is it fair? No. Is it just? Not even a little. But sometimes family means sometimes taking one straight to the gut for the team.
More than any of the earlier books, this one takes stock of the emotional weight that comes from living a double or even a triple life–and how, even when you try your hardest, things still go to shit in the end.
I really appreciated Antimony as a narrator. I really appreciated the added weight and depth this book brought to the series as a whole. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens next for Antimony, her family, and their world.
OMG is it next March yet? How about now? No? I still have a WHOLE YEAR to wait? Ugh, next March can’t get here soon enough.