Tricks For Free (An InCryptid Novel book 7) by Seanan McGuire (book review).

April 15, 2018 | By | Reply More

All creators, whether writers, artists or musicians must have visited places that inspired them to produce the next exciting work in their oeuvre. At times, though, that place is hedged round with copyright and the person risks litigation, especially in the United States, if something bad is set in that place. Imagine, for example, a theme park in Florida. Use of such a venue could be seeded with landmines. Seanan McGuire has found an answer to such a problem.

In ‘Tricks For Free’, Antimony Price is in hiding. She is a cryptozoologist and the youngest member of the Price family. Cryptids are beings with special talents. Her boyfriend, Sam, is a fūri, able to transform from human to simian forms at will. In the previous volume, ‘Magic For Nothing’, Antimony’s family, who are on the side of the cryptids, sent her to infiltrate the Covenant of St George. This organisation is dedicated to the eradication of all cryptids on the grounds that some of them are dangerous.

Now she is running from them and she daren’t go home in case she leads the Covenant to the people they regard as renegades and equally deserving of extinction. Antimony knows that her best cover is amongst crowds of people. She ends up working at Lowryland, a massive theme park in Florida.

Make no mistake, this is not Disneyland disguised. That place is a rival and is mentioned frequently as being elsewhere on the peninsula. When she applies for the job, it seems fortuitous that one of her old school friends, who knew her as Melody West (the name she is currently using), works in human resources.

Then she discovers another friends, a cryptid is also working there. Fern plays the part of a princess in the theme park but she is able to alter her mass at will, a useful skill when they used to compete together in a roller derby team. Fern and Antimony share an apartment with Megan, a medical intern who is also a gorgon. The reason for the coincidences is Cylia. She is a jink and explains that luck is real and particulate. Most of us have a mixture of good and bad luck adhering to us but a jink is able to manipulate it.

Antimony has a problem that most people are unaware of. She can generate enough heat in her fingers to set fire to things. The issue is that she is being unable to control this. Then she gets an offer she doesn’t want to refuse. One evening, she and Fern are roller-skating in the grounds after hours and they discover a body. The management takes notice of Antimony and she is offered the chance to learn how to control her fire. Soon afterwards, accidents start to happen when she is nearby. When Sam finds he cannot revert to human form, they realise that something serious is going on. Cylia realises that she is being used as a conduit for siphoning good luck from the visitors.

This is an enjoyable, action-packed novel which allows for the greater development of Antimony as a character. It adds to cryptid lore and explores aspects not previously touched on in the series. Although this is the seventh book in the InCryptid series, it is only the second which has Antimony Price as the focal character.

As a result, it is not necessary to have read all the other volumes, though starting with ‘Magic For Nothing’ would be an advantage to understand all the nuances within ‘Tricks For Free’. Using the idea of the theme park gives the action an exciting setting and allows for a glimpse at another side of the entertainment industry.

Pauline Morgan

April 2018

(pub: DAW. 346 page paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US), $10.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7564-1040-7)

check out website: www.penguin.com/publishers/daw/

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Category: MEDIA

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