Wednesday 6 March 2019

Review: That Ain't Witchcraft - Seanan McGuire

Now a Hugo-nominated series!

The eighth book in the funny and 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.

Crossroads, noun:

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.

Incryptid Series:
14 Jonathan Healy & Frances Brown Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Alice Healy & Thomas Price Short Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Discount Armageddon
Midnight Blue-Light Special
4 Antimony Price Short Stories (Read some for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
3 Istas and Ryan Short Stories (Read most for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Half-Off Ragnarok
1 Sarah Zellaby and Arthur Harrington Short Story (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
5 Verity Price & Dominic De Luca Stories (Read for free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Pocket Apocalypse
Chaos Choreography
1 Elsie Harrington Short Story (Short Story in the Shadowed Souls anthology)
Magic for Nothing
1 Aeslin Mice Short Story (Purchase though Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)
Tricks for Free
That Ain't Witchcraft

Ghost Roads Series:
(Stories are set in the Incryptid World)
Sparrow Hill Road
Train Yard Blues (Short Story in the Coins of Chaos anthology)
The Ghosts of Bourbon Street (Crossover Short Story with Verity from the Incryptid series free on Seanan McGuire's website)
Last Call at the Last Chance (Short Story available via Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page)
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Annie, Sam, Fern and Cylia may have escaped Lowryland with their lives but it came at a high price considering that Annie now owes an unspecified favour to the Crossroads. It doesn't help that Annie is still running from the Covenant of St. George so she can't even turn to her family for help. All the group can do is try to stay ahead of the game, Cylia's luck magic has been playing a big part in keeping them safe but luck will only get them so far and it's only a matter of time before the Covenant catches up with them and the Crossroads calls in it's debts.

I have to confess that I still don't love Annie as much as her siblings but she has really grown on me as we've got to know her better and That Ain't Witchcraft was definitely my favourite of the stories she has narrated. It's no secret that I didn't love the Lowryland setting of the previous book so I really enjoyed seeing the group out in the real world again never quite knowing what they'll come up against next. We get to find out quite a bit more about Annie's magic in this book which I really enjoyed and she definitely has to keep her wits about her when her two biggest enemies come calling at the same time.

I don't want to say too much about what happens but I loved the plot with the Crossroads, we learn so much about them as an entity and the way their magic works which is something I've always been curious about. We also learn more about a certain Covenant operative and their plans for Annie and her friends but you're just going to have to read the book for yourself if you want the juicy details. This story just seemed to have far more action overall than the previous one and it really moved the overall series story arc forward. I'm already desperate to get my hands on the next book to see where things go from here.

This book also includes an extra short story at the end called The Measure of a Monster which is narrated by Alex and features Shelby, Sarah and the Gorgons. Once again Seanan McGuire proves her skill at writing short stories and this was an excellent addition to this world, it was great to catch up with Alex and Shelby, I loved spending more time with the gorgons and it was brilliant to see how Sarah's health is improving. I believe the next couple of full length books will be narrated by Sarah which just has me even more excited.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
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