Format: Paperback, 448 pages
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: Urban Fantasy
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.
"My name is Sarah Zellaby, and my ancestors came from a different dimension."
Imaginary Numbers is the Ninth installment in author Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series. If you have not started reading this series yet, InCrypid is a witty urban fantasy series featuring an eccentric family of cryptozoologists who act as a buffer between the humans and the magical creatures living in secret around us. The main focus is on the Price, Baker, and Nealy families who have vowed to protect peaceful crypid's from humanity and of course the Covenant of St. George who would love nothing better than to wipe the entire family line from the face of the planet. No hyperbole. Just facts.
What you need to know. First, this book opens 20 years ago. The author finally solves the mystery as how Sarah Zellaby came to become a member of the family. Sara is a cuckoo, a species of people who can bend others to their wills. Also called, Johrlacs, which are descended from telepathic wasps.
They are probably the most dangerous apex predators on the planet outside of maybe the dragons. Sarah is the first non-human main character in this series. Angela Baker, her adoptive mother, is a defective cuckoo, her father Martin, is a revenant assembled from 4-6 corpses. Drew, a bogeyman, is her brother, and Evie Price, a cryptid biologist, is her sister.
Sarah is finally back to normal 5 years after she saved Verity and Dominic from the Covenant which shattered her brain. Sarah feels as though she is back to as normal as she can be which means she needs to get in touch with her family in Portland who have been worried sick about her since that fateful day she saved Verity's life. One person in particular she is looking forward to reconnecting to; Arthur Harrington-Price aka Artie, her best friend, computer and computer geek, and Incubus whose pheromones cause everyone to fall in love with him.
The journey from Ohio to Portland is not an easy one. Not when Sarah is ambushed in the airport by another cuckoo. Cuckoos are very territorial. One cuckoo is dangerous, two can be hazardous to ones health. Cuckoo's tend to prey on each other which is exactly what happens with Sarah who defends herself nicely, but can't run away from the consequences she brings to the Price doorstep. Sarah’s return to the family compound brings the attention of unknown cuckoos who want to use her for their own purposes, and don’t care who they have to kill to make it happen.
Other characters you should be aware of: Kevin & Evelyn Price are the Alex, Verity & Antimony's cryptozoologist parents. Martin & Angela Baker are Drew, and Sarah's parents. Antimony Price, who previously had her own adventures, is back home with her parents. So is Sam, her furi boyfriend and James Smith, a sorcerer who we met over the course of Annie's stories. Elsie Baker is Artie's sister as well as a succubus. And, let's not forget Artie who has spent 5 years worried sick and mad at Sarah for not making more of an effort to let him in.
The story ends on what I feel is a cliffhanger ending leaving Sarah, Artie, Annie, James and another cuckoo named Mark in a tenuous situation after having fought an action packed battle against a hive of cuckoos. The book has points of view from both Sarah and Artie which is absolutely necessary. Lastly, if you read past the ending, you will discover a novella called Follow the Lady which takes place between books 8 and 9. It features Annie, Sam, James, Cylia, Fern and Annie's lost grandmother Alice, who has been chasing after her husband Thomas for 50 years. Annie and Alice have a much needed conversation about the things she learned at the crossroads about her grandfather. The author has apparently made it know that we, as readers, will keep seeing Alice for the near future.
Next up? Calculated Risks sometime in 2021.