Book Review: “The Measure of a Monster” by Seanan McGuire

Posted April 1, 2019 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 5 Comments

Book Review: “The Measure of a Monster” 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.

"The Measure of a Monster" by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by DAW Books on March 5, 2019
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 Unkindest Tide, "Hope is Swift", Come Tumbling Down, Imaginary Numbers, "Follow the Lady", "The Fixed Stars", "Forbid the Sea", "No Sooner Met", Across the Green Grass Fields

A short story, 8.5 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series and found in the back of That Ain’t Witchcraft, 8, revolving around members of the Price-Healy family of cryptozoologists. The couple focus is on Shelby and Alex Price and set in Columbus, Ohio, just after they’ve returned home from Australia.

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

My Take

It’s a cozy start, even if Shelby is miserable in her allergies, but it quickly tenses up when Alex learns of the mass kidnapping of gorgon children.

There’s an interesting reveal by Sarah that demonstrates how angry she is at Verity with Alex expounding on Verity’s issues. It’s all in first person protagonist point-of-view from Alex’s perspective, so you know you’re getting the dirt on his sister…at least from his POV.

That’s not the only thing that angers Sarah, and it’s perfectly reasonable, especially when you consider what Sarah is suffering to help.

As for the fear that engenders the bigotry of the gorgons against Sarah, it is a reasonable concern, considering. Six of one…half dozen of the other…

The Story

A lazy start to the day quickly escalates when Dee frantically calls Alex about their missing children.

The Characters

Shelby Tanner, a big cat specialist from Australia, and Alex Price, a herpetologist who hates fieldwork, are engaged and living with Martin and Angela Baker, Alex’s maternal grandparents. Sarah Zellaby is a cousin and a Johrlac, a cuckoo, as is Angela. Crow is a Church Griffin and Alex’s familiar. The Bakers had adopted Sarah, Evelyn (Alex’s mom), and Drew, a bogeyman who had been kidnapped and sold when he was a child.

Verity is Alex’s sister who had declared war on the Covenant on national television (Chaos Choreography, 5). Antimony is another sister who is on the run from the Covenant (Magic For Nothing, 6, and Tricks for Free, 7). Artie is yet another cousin — Jane and Ted Harrington‘s son. As Ted is an incubus, Artie is half incubus and without his father’s control.

The gorgon community had been…
…founded by Jonathan Healy, Alex’s great-grandfather and is just outside Columbus. Deanna “Dee” Lynn Taylor de Rodriguez works for Alex at the zoo as his administrative assistant and is married to Frank, the community’s doctor. Megan is their daughter who has been doing her residency at Lowryland Hospital in Florida (Tricks for Free). Hannah, half Pliny’s gorgon and half greater gorgon, is the matriarch of the gorgon community and hates Alex. Lloyd had been her son (Half-Off Ragnarok, 3). Billy and Marigold are some of the kidnapped children.

The fringe is a more permanent part of the gorgon community and where Dee was raised. Walter is their leader and Dee’s brother. The original greater gorgon was Medusa.

The kidnappers include…
Carl and Angie. Why is it that the bad guys always expect mercy when they’re beaten?

The Covenant of St George is…
…a monster-hating and -killing organization from whom the Prices fled a few generations ago.

In general, cuckoos are bad. They telepathically hollow out your mind and take you over. They’re also fascinated by math.

The Title

Various characters are revealed for the horror they are, but this tale takes “The Measure of a Monster” and reveals who those monsters truly are.

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