This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.)
“Verity Price is back on the West Coast and getting back into the swing of the family business: cryptozoology. She’s rescuing cryptids from bad situations, protecting them from monster-hunters, and generally risking life and limb for the greater good, with her ex-Covenant partner/husband, Dominic, by her side. Her ballroom dance career is behind her—or so she thinks. When Verity gets the call from the producers of Dance or Die, the reality show she almost won several years before, she finds the lure impossible to resist, and she and Dominic are off to L.A. for one last shot at the big time.
Of course, nothing is that simple. When two contestants turn up dead, Verity will need every ally she can find with the investigation, without blowing her cover…”
Oh, happy day, my favorite series is back and set on a televised ballroom dancing competition! I fell in love with Verity in the first two books of this series, partly because she’s a ballroom dancer, but partly because she’s so well drawn. McGuire’s prowess at creating characters serves her well here, as Verity’s established character plays well off of the newer ones that show up. We get to meet people that Verity knew in the past, and just as importantly, the people that know her completely independent of her life as a cryptozoologist.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any cryptids in this novel–far from it. There are plenty of new faces to put to the things that go bump in the night, including a very outspoken chupacabra who is a delight to watch. Old favorites return as well, in the form of the Aeslin mice and a family member whom you might not expect.
I really enjoyed the plot, because it put Verity deeply into both parts of her world: there’s a heavy focus on the dancing aspect and how strenuous it is; but equally featured are the part of her life that involve cryptids and making sure that our world and theirs don’t collide. Along with this is a good dose of the family dynamics that make this series work so well. Dominic is integrating into the Price family and learning to deal with its special brand of insanity, and it’s fun to watch.
In fact, if I look at the series overall, the unique thing that makes it so engaging is that it is, as the author puts it, a generational story. Not only do you have the “on screen” characters like Verity and Alex, but all of the past history that shapes who they are. Quotes from family members like Enid Healy and references to the Healy’s history with the Covenant of St. George keep the past alive and flowing through the current generation.
I find myself not only reading this book and enjoying it, but really caring about the characters and what happens to them. And that’s the mark of an excellent author. This is, in my opinion, the best book of the series so far, and if I know McGuire, it’s only going to get better from here.