1. A place where two roads cross.
2. A place where bargains can be made.
3. See also “places to avoid.”
Antimony Price has never done well without a support system. As the youngest of her generation, she has always been able to depend on her parents, siblings, and cousins to help her out when she’s in a pinch—until now. After fleeing from the Covenant of St. George, she’s found herself in debt to the crossroads and running for her life. No family. No mice. No way out.
Lucky for her, she’s always been resourceful, and she’s been gathering allies as she travels: Sam, fūri trapeze artist turned boyfriend; Cylia, jink roller derby captain and designated driver; Fern, sylph friend, confidant, and maker of breakfasts; even Mary, ghost babysitter to the Price family. Annie’s actually starting to feel like they might be able to figure things out—which is probably why things start going wrong again.
New Gravesend, Maine is a nice place to raise a family…or make a binding contract with the crossroads. For James Smith, whose best friend disappeared when she tried to do precisely that, it’s also an excellent place to plot revenge. Now the crossroads want him dead and they want Annie to do the dirty deed. She owes them, after all.
And that’s before Leonard Cunningham, aka, “the next leader of the Covenant,” shows up…
It’s going to take everything Annie has and a little bit more to get out of this one. If she succeeds, she gets to go home. If she fails, she becomes one more cautionary tale about the dangers of bargaining with the crossroads.
But no pressure.
“There was a time when I thought I was the smart one in my family. Now I just think I’m the one who was saving up all her stupidity to use it in one gloriously impressive display of What Not To Do.”
That Ain’t Magic was absolutely everything the previous two books should have been. I was hoping that it would be better than them, and it was, in spades. I never really liked Antimony before now. She was always the annoying little sister in my mind (because that is what she is) and I’m the bigger sister and clashes happened. Yet Antimony has finally caught up to where I liked Verity and I’m so damn happy.
Even if there weren’t any mice.
Everything about That Ain’t Magic worked. It was what I thought I was going to get with Magic for Nothing. We’re dealing with the Covenant, and we’re dealing with the Crossroads. We’re combining problems a bit, but it works. It was so good, so well done. Not much time was taken up by being weird for weird’s sake (though they were still weird by virtue of them being who they are).
And boy did the book not go at all where I expected it to go when we were dealing with the Crossroads. I thought everything was going to be over when Covenant boy showed up. It was a hell of a ride. The Crossroads have been a problem for a while now, perhaps always throughout the series. Until now, we didn’t realise just how much of a problem they have become. I’m super curious about what will happen from now on, even. I’m even more curious when I factor in the Covenant arc from the book, too. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series again!
Antimony is super awesome in this. Something about her has changed since the Tricks for Free. She is so much more fun to read about. And her interactions with Sam are exceedingly cute. She never thought to have a boyfriend, but now she does and she loves it. And I love it even more. They’re cute, and they remind me of good things, even when the situation is falling apart around their ears. They’ve both grown into characters I want to be around, and I’m not just tolerating them anymore because I like Antimony’s older sister.
The side characters are just as good. Cylia and Fern are amazing friends at Antimony’s side. I wish I had friends willing to do what those two have done. And now there is a new character, James. A sorcerer with a problem and with knowledge. And his life really, really sucks. Even more than Antimony’s does right now. They make a great pair together. I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in the future.
That Ain’t Magic is the best installment to the series since Chaos Choreography. I loved reading it, and I couldn’t be happier.
The Measure of a Monster
The Measure of a Monster is a novella at the end of That Ain’t Magic. I believe that the two stories are at least somewhat concurrent, so you can read this without fearing spoilers for the main book if you want to skip to Alex and Shelby.
This was a super cute story. I enjoyed reading it almost as much as I enjoyed reading the main book. This novella was such a better portrait of Alex than either of his two books were. (I actually found his books kind of boring.) And we got to see a lot of Sara, too! She is healing and I’m so happy! And the mice! Gods I missed the mice so much with Antimony’s story right now not having any. They were always my favourite thing.
This was just a short catching up, and I loved it and it was well worth the read.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the InCryptid series page!