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Review: Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid #6)

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Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire // VBC GiveawayMagic for Nothing (InCryptid #6)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Mar. 7, 2017 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out book 1, Discount Armageddon.

At the end of the last InCryptid novel, Chaos Choreography, Verity Price killed a giant snake on live television, then proceeded to challenge the Covenant of St. George, the monster hunting secret society from which the Prices defected four generations ago. Since the Covenant had believed they were dead, the family’s been looking over their shoulders for months. In order to find out just how much the Covenant knows and what they are planning, the Prices plan to send someone undercover to spy on the Covenant from within. And the only option is the youngest sibling, Antimony.

I’ve been looking forward to Annie’s book for years, since I read her roller derby story in the Games Creatures Play anthology, but it took me a long time to get into Magic for Nothing. I actually put it down and started another book twice. That’s partly because there’s very little action in the first half of the story. But mostly I think it was just because Annie wasn’t likable. She spends a lot of time bad mouthing her sister Verity, calling her selfish and stupid. In a way, I understand her point of view: not only did Verity’s actions cause her current predicament, but Annie’s always felt like an outsider, isolated within her own family, because of the age difference from her siblings and because she takes after the opposite side of the family both in looks and the fact that she has magical ability. (She hasn’t told her family that though, for fear of being even more isolated.)

But all that Verity bashing puts me an awkward position. I’m a big fan of Verity’s from her starring role in three of the previous books in the series. Not only does Annie seem like a Negative Nelly, it feels like she’s attacking my friend. That’s probably not the best way to endear herself to me.

In the second half of the book, Annie goes on her first Covenant assignment, investigating a series of disappearances at a traveling carnival. From that point, the book was unputdownable. I loved the action of her trapeze act, not to mention her final explosive battle. I loved the carnies she meets, both human and not, though it takes a while for them to warm up to her too. Annie’s reverence for the carnival, its sights, sounds and smells, and its people shows that she can actually love something. She feels at home there, which makes her much more likable.

So while Antimony and I got off to a rocky start in Magic for Nothing, I’m looking forward to the rest of her story. She’s also the main character in book seven, Tricks for Free.

Sexual content: kissing, off-page sex

2 Responses to “Review: Magic for Nothing by Seanan McGuire (InCryptid #6)”

  1. Sue says:

    I have read all of Seanan McGuire’s books (and the others written as Mira Grant). This book, however, did not thrill me. The Verity bashing was too much. I will read the next one in this series in the hope that there will be less focus on Verity’s selfishness in pursing her ballroom dancing dreams. I felt Annie’s disdain was a bit overdone given that roller derby girls and teams have their fandom and audience. It was difficult to lose myself in the story when the heroine was unlikable.

    • Margaret says:

      Exactly! In Alex’s books he spent a lot of time of time talking about Verity as well, but it was more of a WWVD thing. I found that odd, but not offensive like Annie’s Verity bashing. She did get more sympathetic by the end of the book so I’m hoping she’ll be better in the next one.

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