Magic for Nothing, by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire's Magic For Nothing is my favorite installment in the InCryptid series to date... and that's saying something, because I've liked all of these books. But this book gives me something I didn't realize I was missing: a plausibly screwed-up heroine, despite her distinctly implausible circumstances.

When her older sister Verity declares war on the Covenant of St. George on live television, Antimony Price's worst fears are realized: her long-hidden family will be dragged out of the shadows to join Verity's fight. As the only sibling who doesn't fit the physical family mould, Antimony is packed off to infiltrate the Covenant. Her first job as a double agent lands her in a traveling carnival—a task that will strain Antimony's acting skills (and knife-throwing-from-a-trapeze skills) to their utmost.

Magic For Nothing has all the humor and action of the earlier books, with several additional strengths. For one thing, the female protagonist doesn't end up naked and in need of rescue. And while I didn't dislike either of the previous romantic partners in this series, they are nowhere near as memorable as Antimony's love interest. But my favorite thing about this book is the way McGuire handles Antimony's anger towards her sister, whose extremely visible dancing career has placed the entire family (and therefore the supernatural population of North America) in danger. Anger isn't Antimony's defining trait, but it adds a much-needed humanizing element to a character who comes from a nearly superhuman family. I've liked all of McGuire's creations, but Antimony, with all her crankiness, petulance, and self-righteousness, is the first one who feels real.
Posted by: Julianka


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