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Maddalena

Space & Sorcery

My reading adventures in Science Fiction, Fantasy and other speculative fiction genres

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Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Red Rising
Pierce Brown

Incryptid Short Stories by Seanan McGuire

I've delayed reading these short stories, available for free download from author's Seanan McGuire's site, because I prefer traditional books to short format stories; but I felt like exploring a little bit more of the Incryptid universe and decided to… take the plunge, so to speak.

Well, it was a very pleasant surprise: these short stories, read in sequence, give the effect of a complete novel, and expand on the main story's background in a major way.

 

There are seven of them:

One Hell of a Ride
No Place Like Home
Married in Green
Sweet Poison Wine
The First Fall
Loch and Key
We Both Go Down Together


The main characters are Frances Brown and Jonathan Healy, the great-grandparents of Verity Price - protagonist of the first two books in this series - and the sequence follows their story as they meet, fall in love and proceed to have a family of their own, despite the unusual lifestyle the Healys have chosen for themselves.

In pure McGuire style there is humor finely balanced with drama - in some instances very heavy drama - that drew me right in and kept me reading at a fast pace. The author can draw some wonderful characters and breathe life into them in a special way, and that's true both for humans and cryptids.  

McGuire has a knack for creating these bizarre creatures - be they either drawn from mythology or totally invented - and providing them with some human traits that make them less scary and at the same time totally believable.

No Incryptid review would be complete without a mention of the Aeslin mice: they are, in my opinion, the most brilliant creation in McGuire's universe, both funny and thoughtful and a constant background presence, not much different from a Greek chorus in their observations of unfolding events.  Every time they appear on the scene, I can't refrain from smiling - and cheering of course.

When I read that the next Incryptid novel would focus on different characters from the ones presented until now, I had some doubts, fearing that the story would somehow lose momentum, but after the experience with these short stories there are no more misgivings in my mind.  I know I can trust McGuire to deliver a rich and entertaining tale, no matter the… actors.