Review: Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuire

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Cover for Pocket Apocalypse by Seanan McGuirePocket Apocalypse begins when Alex Price’s girlfriend, Shelby, asks him to come to Australia with her to deal with a werewolf outbreak—and meet her family while he is at it. Alex is not sure which is more terrifying. He has had nightmare memories of an encounter with werewolves during his training, so he knows how important it is to stop them—and how terrifying they are. In addition, Shelby’s family is not happy that she has stayed in America for long enough to have an American boyfriend, and they are heavily armed and well-trained in dealing with enemies. Both families study InCryptids, creatures that most people think do not exist. Some, like Gorgons, have made it into myth. Others, like screaming yams and Church Griffins, are familiar only to those who study them.

Seanan McGuire keeps the humor, tension, and mystery that marks the first three InCryptid books. She also continues to develop the world of the InCryptids, explaining the habits and possible origins of the different creatures Alex comes across; the explanations deepen the world while also furthering the plot, serving as aspects of the unfolding mystery. Alex not only has to figure out how to stop the werewolves, he has to discover where the werewolf plague started and uncover the secrets that Shelby’s family is hiding from him.

Pocket Apocalypse also has a collection of memorable, eccentric characters. The Price family as a whole are an enjoyable group to read about, a mixed-species family that studies their branch with dedication and takes no nonsense. Alex, coming from this background, is practical, strong, and intelligent as well as highly-trained. He expects Shelby to be the same—and she is—which makes them a fine couple to follow. Unfortunately, the rest of his family only shows up briefly in memory, but Shelby has a colorful family of her own, and there are a number of new Australian InCryptids to admire. Also, Alex travels with the Aeslin mice, a group of talking mice who worship the family and who, with their perfect memories, keep the family history, albeit with their own eccentric phrasing and interpretations. They alone are worth the price of admission.

As a side note: I want a Church Griffin now. See if you don’t after you finish!

The book is the fourth in the series, and it does make reference to previous events–which may serve as spoilers for those who like to come in completely unaware–but each book also stands alone; I discovered the InCryptid series with Half Off Ragnarok and then went back to read the first two.

Pocket Apocalypse comes out today from DAW. To order from Amazon, click on the link in the title.

The series as a whole, linked to Amazon (We also suggest checking your local library. Libraries are awesome!)

Discount Armageddon, with Verity as the main character.

Midnight Blue-Light Special again primarily about Verity.

Half-off Ragnarok with Alex as the main character.

Pocket Apocalypse

And an as-yet unnamed fifth book that will switch back to Verity again when it comes out.

In addition, Seanan McGuire has a number of InCryptid short stories on her website.

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