Book Review: “Follow the Lady” by Seanan McGuire

Posted March 11, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Book Review: “Follow the Lady” by Seanan McGuire

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Follow the Lady" by Seanan McGuire
Published by DAW Books on February 25, 2020
Pages: 55
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Chimes at Midnight, Indexing, The Winter Long, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, A Red Rose Chain, Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Indigo, Every Heart a Doorway, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown", Beneath the Sugar Sky, Night and Silence, "Suffer a Sea-change", The Girl in the Green Silk Gown, "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork", Tricks for Free, That Ain't Witchcraft, "The Measure of a Monster", The Unkindest Tide, "Hope is Swift", Come Tumbling Down, Imaginary Numbers, "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met", Across the Green Grass Fields

A short story, 8.25 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series revolving around the mishaps of the extended Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans. The focus is on Antimony, Sam, Cylia, Fern, and James leaving Maine and heading to Portland.

If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the InCryptid books on my website.

My Take

McGuire cracked me up, revealing James’ naiveté on that road trip. Although I am confused about that retro trailer. Is this guy trading his retro trailer for Cylia’s avocado monstrosity? Or did the kids already own a retro trailer?

It’s a fascinating back history on events in That Ain’t Witchcraft, 8, that will have repercussions on every bargain made with the crossroads.

I suspect a foreshadowing of what will be coming in future stories, well, future after Imaginary Numbers, 9. I am so hoping for a positive result on Grandma Alice’s hunt.

It’s all due to McGuire using first person protagonist point-of-view from Annie’s perspective, since she’s the one filling us all in on the family history and what’s been happening since Annie went undercover in the circus through to the battle with the crossroads. A set-up for the future.

I am rather confused when Cynthia says her father was three dozen trees and her mother is a tree growing out back. So how does that make her Huldrafolk? If a Huldrafolk ends up turning to stone?

Hmmm, I’m wondering if Annie’s thoughts about the trees mean those trees are Cynthia’s people??

The Story

A thrown rod strands our travelers in Buckley Township where they meet up with Grandma Alice.

The Characters

Antimony Price, a cryptozoologist who went undercover in the Spenser and Smith Family Carnival to apprehend a murderer and defer the attention of the Covenant. And recently discovered she’s a fire sorcerer. Sam Taylor is Annie’s boyfriend, a fūri trapeze artist who hates shoes, bananas, and spending too much time around humans. Emery Spenser is Sam’s grandmother and the owner of the Spenser and Smith Family Carnival whom we met in Magic For Nothing, 6.

Cylia Mackie is a jink who twists luck, striving for good, balancing the bad. Her husband, Tav, wasn’t so lucky; he died of a massive heart attack. Fern, a sylph, doesn’t drive — her species propensity for shedding density doesn’t make this a good idea. James Smith is an ice sorcerer who had been forced to live in New Gravesend, Maine, as a result of a bad generational bargain. He’s been adopted by the Prices and is now the Stolen God.

Cousin Artie is a half-incubus who lives in his parents’ basement because he’s terrified of being around girls. Jane Price, Kevin’s sister, is his mother. Evie and Kevin Price are Antimony’s parents. Verity, a professional dancer, is one of Annie’s sisters…who had escalated the situation in Chaos Choreography, 5.

Buckley Township is…
…where the Healys and Prices were originally located and where three generations of Healys were murdered by the Covenant. They still have a few houses there: the Healy house is rented out while the Parrish house is kept for Grandma Alice Price-Healy (born in 1938), who is Jane’s and Kevin’s mother who has been hunting throughout time for Grandpa Thomas, a full-fledged member of the Covenant — and fire sorcerer who was tricked into making a bargain with the crossroads. Jane and Kevin were actually raised by Aunt Laura and the Campbell Family Carnival.

The Red Angel is a cryptid bar in Buckley run by Cynthia, a Huldrafolk whose mother built the bar. (Huldrafolk are originally from Finland and will eventually turn to stone.) The tailypo, a.k.a., the American lemur, help protect the Parrish house. Aeslin mice are a sentient race whose purpose in living is the religious worship and recording every move made by the Healy-Price family. Great-great-great-great grandma Beth Evans was a Covenant member who first befriended the Aeslin mice.

Aunt Mary Dunlavy is a crossroads ghost who died in Buckley, as did Aunt Rose, a hitchhiking ghost. Umeko, a Jorōgumo and carnival performer, was a murderer. Therianthropes are shapeshifting cryptids. Gentling, Maine, is home to finfolk (“We Both Go Down Together“, 0.09).

The Covenant of St George is…
…a global organization of monster hunters who loath anything not remotely human. Leonard Cunningham is high up in the organization.

The Title

The title is confusing. Without refreshing my brain, I was thinking it meant the road as per Aunt Rose and the Ghost Roads series. Now I wonder if it meant to follow Grandma Alice? To “Follow the Lady”? I know I want to know if she’ll find Grandpa Thomas…

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