Series: InCryptid (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: DAW (March 4, 2014)
Cryptid, noun: Any creature whose existence has not yet been proven by science.
Cryptozoologist, noun: Any person who thinks hunting for cryptids is a good idea. See also “idiot.”
HALF-OFF RAGNAROK is the third book in the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire. This book introduces a new protagonist from the Price family, Alex Price. Alex, older brother to Verity, the protagonist of the previous two InCryptid novels, DISCOUNT ARMEGEDDON and MIDNIGHT BLUE-LIGHT SPECIAL, is a Price through and through. Specializing in rural and reptilian cryptids, Alex is at home knee deep in mud as he explores the flora and fauna in the wilds of Ohio. His current (secret) projects include the study of frickins in the area as well as getting a pair off hibernating basilisks to breed.
The main theme of this novel is Family. The importance of family, the duty of family, the sacrifices made for family. This isn’t just with the Price family—who are in constant danger from the Covenant of Saint George—it’s with the family structure, breeding, and culture of Aeslin mice, gorgons, basilisks, frickins, wadjets, and lindworms. McGuire highlights the needs and pain of family again and again without actually saying “Families can be hard but are usually worth it.” This comes through loud and clear.
Joining Alex is Shelby, an Aussie big cat specialist visiting the zoo that Alex is temporarily working at as a reptile specialist. As much as I love Alex, I adore Shelby—despite her obvious flaws. Shelby was a surprise on a number of levels and I won’t spoil any of them for you. Just know that she’s more than a match for the eldest Price boy. Together, they’re a ton of fun and just as much trouble.
The novel’s mystery—someone’s been turning people to stone in and around the zoo both Shelby and Alex work for. When the original suspect, a wild basilisk, shows up at the Price family home, Alex realizes there’s more to this crime than meets the eye. It’s a fun mystery with some clear clues for the careful reader.
HALF-OFF RAGNAROK is my favorite book in the InCryptid series thus far. I thought Verity was interesting but I’m half in love with Alex. The whole Price family is a hoot and Shelby is an interesting wild card in the mix. If urban fantasy, intriguing animals, and fast-paced adventure is your thing, you’re going to love HALF-OFF RAGNAROK. Highly recommended.
(Reviewer note: DAW sent me this book for a review.)