Review: Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire (Incryptid #5)


Chaos Choregraphy by Seanan McGuire // VBC ReviewChaos Choreography (Incryptid #5)
Seanan McGuire
Published: Mar. 1, 2016 (DAW)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 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 VBC’s review of book 1, Discount Armageddon.

When we met Verity Price in Discount Armageddon, book one of the Incryptid series, she was living a dual life in New York City, competing in ballroom dance events as Valerie Pryor during the day, and acting as the Price family’s liaison to the city’s cryptid population by night. After a costly victory over the monster-hunting Covenant of St. George, Verity has re-grouped, moved home to the West Coast, and settled in to join the rest of the Price family as a full time cryptozoologist.

Then Dance or Die, the reality show that made Valerie famous, wants her back for an all-star season, and Verity sees an opportunity to give her Valerie persona, hastily abandoned for the battle with the Covenant, a proper send off. But Valerie and Verity’s worlds collide when she realizes the contestants voted off the show aren’t just out of the competition. They’re being ritually sacrificed to summon a snake god.

This is not the first time I’ve seen the “contestants dying on the reality show” plot, but it was still well done. The dance elements are well researched and the performances are exciting. But this also is not the first time I’ve seen several elements of this plot. Verity battled a snake cult in book one as well. And in both cases she allies with dragons for assistance. I wonder if this might have been an alternate version of that first book. I didn’t really feel like I was reading the same book again, it’s just that what I like about this series is its original take on familiar urban fantasy elements, so the repetition is disappointing.

McGuire does introduce several new Cryptids, which is always my favorite thing about the series. Verity’s new allies include a shark shifter, a chupacabra, and her Grandma Alice. Okay, that last one’s not actually a Cryptid, but she’s an unusual character. And I think this is the first time she actually appears in the books, though she’s mentioned frequently. I’d love to see tattooed, dimension-hopping, likes-to-blow-things-up Alice as the main character of a future novel. I have always said I was waiting for the youngest Price sister Amity to take the lead, but when she shows up in the beginning of the book she’s pretty bratty and unlikable.

So while Chaos Choreography is not my favorite in the series, it was still a lot of fun. Fans of reality shows especially will enjoy the behind the scenes look at the dance show, as well as the competition scenes. (Or if you really hate reality shows, you can quietly root for the killers. I won’t tell anyone.)

Sexual content: references to sex

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