Monday, March 4, 2024

#Review - Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire #Fantasy #Contemporary

 InCryptid (#13)
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Release Date: March 5, 2024
Publisher: DAW
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy / Contemporary

Seanan McGuire's New York Times-bestselling and Hugo Award-nominated urban fantasy InCryptid series continues with the thirteenth book following the Price family, cryptozoologists who study and protect the creatures living in secret all around us

Mary Dunlavy didn't intend to become a professional babysitter.  Of course, she didn't intend to die, either, or to become a crossroads ghost. As a babysitting ghost, she's been caring for the Price family for four generations, and she's planning to keep doing the job for the better part of forever.

With her first charge finally back from her decades-long cross-dimensional field trip, with a long-lost husband and adopted daughter in tow, it's time for Mary to oversee the world's most chaotic family reunion. And that's before the Covenant of St. George launches a full-scale strike against the cryptids of Manhattan, followed quickly by an attack on the Campbell Family Carnival.   

It's going to take every advantage and every ally they have for the Prices to survive what's coming—and for Mary, to avoid finding out the answer to a question she's never wanted to know: what happens to a babysitting ghost if she loses the people she's promised to protect?

Aftermarket Afterlife, by Seanan McGuire, is the 13th installment in the author's InCryptid series. The InCryptid series is set in a world where parallel evolution and dimensional rifts have resulted in humans sharing the planet with multiple species of cryptids capable of passing for human, among many other differences and divergences. 84 years ago, 16-year-old Mary Grace Dunlavy had an unfortunate accident that would send her to becoming a crossroads ghost. A ghost who would speak for the people with the Crossroads bargains with. 

As a babysitting ghost, she's been caring for the Price family for four generations, and she's planning to keep doing the job for the better part of forever. Mary has been a babysitter for everyone from Alice Price to Verity's daughter Olivia. The Aeslin Mice even gave her an honorary name as The Phantom Priestess. If you haven't started reading this series yet, get to hopping! Mary is the only person who knows the entire family history. Now that Crossroads is gone thanks to Annie, no spoilers, she can now answer any question the family asks of her. 

Mary's position in the Price family means that her novel is uniquely wide-ranging and intimate. Over her 84 years as a caretaker, she has only lost 4 people. So, be forewarned that things are going to get dangerous really quickly and, if you've read this series from the beginning, you may get really sad. While the family is waiting for Alice and Thomas to finally come home after years of Alice trying to find Thomas, the Price family enemies, the Covenant of St. George attack the Campbell Family Circus, and the Dragon lair under Manhattan looking for William. 

Ever since Verity publicly 'outed' the family on national television, the family and the Cryptid community as a whole have been holding their collective breaths, and waiting the the Covenant to strike. The Covenant has decided that now is the time to sterilize North America of ungodly abominations and race traitors like the Price family, and while they are at it, why not take a chance at capturing Antimony who is being stalked by Leonard Cunningham even though she's come into her powers as an elemental sorcerer like her grandfather. 

The stakes couldn't feel any higher this time, and as I said, people will die. People you have known since the first book in this series. Because of this attack, Mary does what all good caretakers do. She makes a plan. She asks for help from a variety of characters. And, she puts her own existence on the line to stop the war between her family, and the Covenant. I guarantee that you will meet every single member of the family, and the extended family, including Alexander, Shelby Tanner, and Rose Marshall. 

Most of the books in this series feature characters like Verity Price (3), Grandmother Alice (2), Sarah Zellaby (2), Antimony Price (3), and Alexander Price (2). After you have taken a breath, take a moment and read the novella at the end of the book called Dreaming of You in Freefall. I can only tell you that it's told from Verity's point of view and it is highly emotional. I can also say that you should not under any circumstances read the novella before the rest of the book.

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