Warning: Cliffhanger (I didn’t know that was possible with Seanan McGuire…)
The ninth book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.
Sarah Zellaby has always been in an interesting position. Adopted into the Price family at a young age, she’s never been able to escape the biological reality of her origins: she’s a cuckoo, a telepathic ambush predator closer akin to a parasitic wasp than a human being. Friend, cousin, mathematician; it’s never been enough to dispel the fear that one day, nature will win out over nurture, and everything will change.
Maybe that time has finally come.
After spending the last several years recuperating in Ohio with her adoptive parents, Sarah is ready to return to the world–and most importantly, to her cousin Artie, with whom she has been head-over-heels in love since childhood. But there are cuckoos everywhere, and when the question of her own survival is weighed against the survival of her family, Sarah’s choices all add up to one inescapable conclusion.
This is war. Cuckoo vs. Price, human vs. cryptid…and not all of them are going to walk away.
Imaginary Numbers comes out February 25th, 2020. Preorder Now!
“Why would we chill, exactly?”
“Because you’re the good guys,” said Mark.
“Anyone who thinks good means chill needs to spend more time with my family,” said Elsie.”
New InCryptid, new perspective! This time it is Sarah Zellaby, and boy did my excitement for this book jump up like 150% when I found that out. This really was great. Maybe even my favourite InCryptid novel.
Sarah is a cuckoo. Or, if you want to be less colloquial, a Johrlac. Cuckoos mimic being human very well, and armed with their powerful telepathy, they are well suited to being immoral and even evil. They use their telepathy to make the people of the world bend to their whims. Their survival mechanism is becoming a “family” with people, using up all the resources that person has, and then bouncing. They even stick their babies with families to raise… as a cuckoo.
Sarah is different, though. She loves her family. She doesn’t want to use them, or anyone else either. She has been brought up to be a good person by the mom and dad who adopted her. Sarah’s family, including her Price cousins, love her. Years ago, Sarah’s telepathy and good morals got her into trouble. In order to save her family, she broke her brain. And she has had a long, hard road to recovery. And she is finally fed up with being sick.
So what does Sarah do? She packs up and flies cross country to see her aunts and cousins again. She loves them, she misses them, and she wants to be home again. She wants to not be broken anymore. But mostly, she wants to see her cousin Artie again. Her cousin Artie who everyone in their family has known that the two of them have been dancing around dating each other for years, believing the other isn’t interested. (Sidenote: LOVE IT!) This is Sarah’s big, personal test: if she makes it cross country on her own, she is cured and no longer a danger to everyone around her.
Only, there is a problem when she gets to Portland. When she lands she finds something that wasn’t there when she left, and shouldn’t be there now: another Johrlac. Which is bad. Really bad. Her race generally aren’t nice people, they’re territorial – and they hate the Price family. But it isn’t just a coincidence that the Johrlac is there. They want something from Sarah.
This is the best story I could have hope for from them. It has expanded on the cuckoo mythology in the series, which has always been really fascinating but totally unknown, entity. Something I have always wanted to know more about. It’s so much richer than “Holy shit, Johrlac! Kill on sight!” that we had before.
I really enjoyed Imaginary Numbers. I almost couldn’t put it down so I could sleep. It was so easy to read and so interesting. Best InCryptid book in a while, which is probably especially true because..I don’t particularly care for Antimony. Sarah was an amazing protagonist with an amazing story to tell.
And an ending that makes sure I’ll read the next book right away.
Follow the Lady
“But your grandfather always liked them, and he encouraged a colony to form around the house,” said Grandma, from her place just inside the front door. “Lord love the man, sometimes he made me look like the one with common sense in this relationship.”
“I just met her, and I know that’s terrifying,” muttered Sam.
Speaking of Antimony, the novella included with the book this time featured her. Seanan really likes writing about return journeys home, since this is the third time I can remember reading about one this series, with possibly more besides. Antimony, her boyfriend, the friends who helped her, and her newly adopted brother are all on their car journey back to Portland from the east coast. They stop in near Buckley Township, again, just like everyone else does on their way home. And what do you know it, but Grandma Alice is in town! Which takes the novella from okay to absolutely amazing because I adore Alice and all their reactions to her. Follow the Lady was a nice addition to Antimony and Alice’s stories, as well as fun. The InCryptid side stories are always good.
I won a Penguin/Random House giveaway for this copy. This did not effect my review.