The Crossroads have long played a background role in the InCryptid series. Grandfather Thomas appears to have had a deal with them (or it?), and their Aunt Mary is one of the ghosts that works for the Crossroads though her relationship with the Prices has let her hold on to her humanity. She also always warns her extended Price family to stay away from them, very well aware of how easily the deals can turn against the humans desperate enough to make them.
The Prices have generally followed that advice but Antimony made a deal in an act of desperation in the last novel to save her friends’ lives, giving up her barely understood sorcery powers. After all that, Annie and her group of friends are ready for a break, and end up in a secluded area in Maine, hoping to get some rest. Of course, that’s not how things are going to work out, and it’s not long before someone is breaking into the house they are renting, and Annie finds herself on a case.
James is a sorcerer with ice powers, and he has been doing research on crossroad deals, ever since his best friend was lost to one. Some of the books he needs are in the family library at the house Annie’s living in, and they decide to help him. James shows that his research demonstrates that crossroad deals took an evil turn sometime in the 14th century. Before that, they weren’t always great but after that, there was a lot interpretation of the deals in the worst way possible (this calmed down after a bit since it was obviously driving away customers but it didn’t go back to the pre-14th century level of fairness). Annie also knows that the Crossroads have taken a large interest in her, leading her to wonder if there is a connection between the rarity of sorcerers and this interest.
To add to all these issues, the Covenant is still on Annie’s trail so Annie has to figure out how to help James, escape the Covenant and maybe change the terms of her own deal.
I’m curious to see how the results of this novel play out in the future of the series since it does lead to some fundamental shifts in the rules of this world. Still, I am also glad to be getting a break from Annie after this one; I have just never enjoyed her as much as her siblings (between this and Heroine’s Journey, apparently I just don’t like younger siblings that much), and also never quite enjoyed her love interest as much. Sam is sweet but as much as I like fantasy, I’m just not feeling the furry thing. I liked how much we learned about the Crossroads in this one, and enjoyed the introduction of James, too.