Fantasy · Urban Fantasy

Tricks for Free – Seanan McGuire

5 Stars

Tricks for Free is quite possibly the best installment in the InCryptid series so far, which I am sort of surprised I’m saying. I love Verity and loved the Hollywood aspects of her books, while Antimony, the main character in Tricks for Free, reminds me of my own little sister and I’m just not that into theme parks. But somehow, the combination of Antimony, theme parks and a special kind of Seanan magic, and I was HOOKED.

I couldn’t put the book down.


Cover image courtesy of the publisher


The publisher’s synopsis:

Penance, noun:
1. Punishment for past actions.
2. An attempt to pay for what can’t be bought.
3. See also “exile.”

Antimony Price is on the run. With the Covenant on her tail and her family still in danger, she needs to get far, far away from anyone who might recognize her—including her own mice. For the first time in a long time, a Price is flying without a safety net. Where do you go when you need to disappear into a crowd without worrying about attracting attention? An amusement park, of course.

Some people would call Lowryland the amusement park. It’s one of the largest in Florida, the keystone of the Lowry entertainment empire…but for Annie, it’s a place to hide. She’s just trying to keep her head down long enough to come up with a plan that will get her home without getting anyone killed. No small order when she’s rooming with gorgons and sylphs, trying to placate frustrated ghosts, and rushing to get to work on time.

Then the accidents begin. The discovery of a dead man brings Annie to the attention of the secret cabal of magic users running Lowryland from behind the scenes. They want the fire that sleeps in her fingers. They want her on their side. They want to help her—although their help, like everything else, comes with a price.

No plan. Minimal backup. No way out. Annie’s about to get a crash course in the reality behind the pretty facade. If she’s lucky, she’ll survive the experience.

All of the InCryptid novels are wild, wonderful rides of mystery, magical creatures and mice and Tricks for Free is *almost* an exception. There are almost no Aeslin Mice in this book. If it weren’t for the bonus novella at the end (first available to Seanan’s Patreon supporters and now available to the public for the first time here!) there would have been no mice. (Thankfully, we’re spared THAT horror.) That’s honestly my only complaint. Not enough mice.

Antimony is holding it together, mostly, and just trying to make it from one day to the next. But of course, the universe won’t let Annie fade away. She’s a Price, after all. And Prices are always up to their neck in one thing or another. Tricks for Free is a very strong entry in the InCryptid series and I’m already dyyyyyying for the next book in the series.

Somehow, despite my general ambivalence toward theme parks, McGuire’s description of the day-to-day and behind-the-scenes inner workings of Lowryland makes the setting interesting and engaging. There’s something about seeing below the facade and shine that draws me in. Add in Annie’s struggle to understand and control her magic, keep her identity a secret, and not crack under the loneliness of being completely disconnected from her family and from Sam and you’ve got a complex, layered, rollercoaster of a novel.

Tricks for Free is out in the wild on March 6, 2018. This is one ride you definitely want to be tall enough for.

I received an eARC from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.