Friday 22 June 2018

#CBR10 Book 46: "Pocket Apocalypse" by Seanan McGuire

Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Alexander Price had an unusual upbringing and has been trained from childhood to deal with all sorts of dangerous situations. Nevertheless, one of the scariest things he ever had to face was a werewolf outbreak. So when his girlfriend Shelby asks him to come to Australia with him to help her and her family stop a werewolf outbreak there, he really really wants to say no - but of course he agrees. If werewolves were to get a proper foothold in Australia, it would be disastrous. Reluctant as he is to face any again, not to mention being nervous about meeting Shelby's family - he's a Price, and knows he has a duty to protect both humans and friendly cryptozoological species.

Shelby's family aren't exactly delighted to meet Alex and they are feeling extra on edge with this additional threat. It quickly becomes apparent that the werewolf infestation may be more severe than they first believed, and as Alex and Shelby, along with Shelby's family and friends investigate, signs seem to suggest that werewolves may be a lot more clever and organised than any cryptozoologist previously suspected. The threat just got a lot more serious.

This is the fourth book in this series, and I'm still not enjoying the books about Alex and Shelby as much as those about Verity and Dominic. Having most of the book set in Australia, with a whole new and different set of beasties was pretty cool. What got old really fast was Shelby's super judgemental and hostile family and the way they would just dismiss and/or distrust Alex constantly, even after he risks his life trying to save them. Although it was clear that Shelby wasn't going to give them up as a lost cause, so I suppose he had to find a way to try to understand them if he wanted to build a future with her.

The werewolves are really rather creepy and added a really tense element to the story. The fact that not only humans, but animals can get infected and become ravening terrifying beasts was a cool touch. The "surprise" twist that the Prices and other cryptozoologists may have underestimated just how much of their humanity the affected victims retained wasn't all that shocking to me, and again made the story more interesting than the "hunt for the basilisk" of the last book.

As always, the Aeslin mice continue to be pretty much the best part of the story. Part of me wants a little colony of my own, but another part would also be driven slowly mad by all their "HAIL!"s and constant devotion.

The next book is about Verity again and it seems that we finally get to spend more time with the mysterious grandma Alice. I can't say I'm too bothered if we get any more books about Alex. He's a bit meh.

Judging a book by its cover: The wolves on the cover look suitably creepy (although I'm not sure why it looks like there is yellow smoke coming out of their glowy eyes). I appreciate that Alex doesn't look romance hero handsome, but just like an ordinary guy. Paranormal fantasy always seems populated with super gorgeous people, a bit like on a CW show and it's nice that this series has some average people in it too.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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