Yay for fun summer junk reading on this the first day of actual summer! And it’s book 1 of a series! Discount Armageddon is in many ways a traditional urban fantasy on the lighter side: Verity Price comes from a family of cryptid studiers (not a real word I know but they are not strictly observers, nor strictly hunters, nor purely helpers), but what she really wants to do with her life is become a professional ballroom dancer in New York City. She balances both family business, her pursuit of dance, and her job as a waitress at a strip club, and in all 3 areas she has to balance the normal humans and the cryptids around her. Her life is disrupted by a couple of almost simultaneous events: cryptid girls are disappearing, there might be a snake cult trying to wake up a dragon, but dragons are supposed to be extinct (or the males at least), and then there’s Dominic the newly minted Covenant operative who just so happens to be pretty good looking. The Covenant is a long-time nemesis of the Price family and Dominic is in NYC to determine how big of a cryptid purge the Covenant should do; Verity wants to protect the mostly innocent cryptids which leads to professional tension which naturally develops into …you can guess where this goes, and you’re exactly right. You can also probably guess a lot of what happens next including personal and professional issues of various sorts, team ups and betrayals, and the eventual discovery of how most of the problems were actually related and solving one means fixing the rest, more or less.
Part of the fun is that many of the cryptids have personality, some of which is not entirely predictable. For example, Carol the gorgon would love to figure out how to make her snakes stop biting her and let her wear a wig at work. Sarah is Johrlac, a telepathic human looking cryptid that you need to read the novel to get a better idea of, but she appears to be studying to be a mathematician. Sometimes the cryptid is about as bad and standard as you might expect: Dave the boogeyman owns the strip club Verity works at, and he’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect; he spends a good deal of the novel trying to convince Verity to dance at the club, and often tries to lure her into his office in the dark. The neat thing is that a lot of the cryptids aren’t necessarily the most common types of things you’d think of; the boogeyman and a gorgon might be but most everyone else is a little more interesting. Even how the dragons (all female) work is on the one hand expected (they really like gold) but on the other a little more interesting, such as drinking the blood of a dragon (or maybe it’s just the males?) is supposed to turn you into a lizard man type of creature called a servitor.
Overall just a fun story, and it’s both interesting and a little predictable too, which makes pretty much perfect for junky summer reading. I’ve also gotta say I’m kind of impressed that the author can do such different styles well this vs horror tinged fairy tale fanfic vs etc…; that’s not very common.