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In Cryptid is an Urban Fantasy series by Seanan McGuire, author of the October Daye and Newsflesh series.

The creatures known as cryptids are real, and have shared the earth with mankind since time immemorial. For centuries, a religious order known as The Covenant of St. George has been defending and protecting unknowing humanity by slaying cryptids wherever they encounter them. But a schism occurred in the ranks, and one Covenant agent and his wife left the order, never to return. They and their descendants, now hunted by the Covenant, dedicated their lives to studying cryptids, learning their ecological purpose, and only harming them when no other method of dealing with their presence would work.

The Healy and Price families operate with the knowledge that the Covenant considers them traitors and wants them dead. The cryptid community knows that the families are no longer Covenant -- but they are not uniformly convinced that it isn't a trick. So the family must train to survive both the cryptids who don't trust them, and the Covenant who still think of them as filthy traitors.

The youngest generation of the Price family consists of Alex, zookeeper; Antimony, still studying; and Verity, who wants to forego the family business and be a ballroom dancer, but has to prove to the family she can survive on her own first.


The series so far (in chronological order for the storyline) consists of:

  • Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown, 1928:
    • Short Story: The Flower of Arizona
    • Short Story: One Hell of A Ride
    • Short Story: No Place Like Home
  • Verity Price and Family, 2012 to present:
    • Novel: Discount Armageddon
    • Novel: Midnight Blue-Light Special, coming in 2013
    • Novel: Half-Off Ragnarok, TBA
    • Novel: Pocket Apocalypse, TBA
    • Novel: Professional Gore-eography, TBA

This series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Truth in Television. This is New York City; a lot of the sewers are really big, and some of the big tunnels are outdated subway tunnels.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: One of the cultist guys ruffles Verity's hair affectionately while monologuing about how helpless she is.
  • All There in the Manual: There's a guide to cryptids known to the families on the author's webpage.
  • Another Dimension: Several.
    • There's the Hell dimension through which Jonathan and Fran's train passes briefly.
    • There's the Netherworld, The Christian Hell, the dimension where a friendly Naga operates as a professor, and some as-yet-unnamed alternate dimension in which Verity's grandfather is lost.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Cryptids secrete and bleed it.
    • Dragon blood
    • Johrlac blood
    • Tooth fairy dust
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Dominic and Verity in the tunnels beneath New York.
  • Badass Family: The Healys and Prices, all of whom are familiar with guns, bombs, poisons, explosives, etc, and specialize in one particular form of mayhem.
  • Beat: It takes a minute for people to realize that the dragon is not only awake but just smushed a person like a bug.
  • Big Applesauce: Verity is in New York studying humanoid cryptids. But other than Central Park the locations are all sort of vague.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Some allies turn up Just in Time to save Verity.
  • Blank White Eyes: Sarah gets them when using her abilities.
  • Bridal Carry: No romance involved, just one therianthrope looking out for another.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sarah and Artie regarding their mutual affection.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Sleestaks, as well as several other cryptids.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The very reputation of Verity and her family name comes with great responsibility to live up to protecting and serving non-hostile cryptids.
  • Cult: Humans who think they'll get power by messing with/sacrificing cryptids.
  • Dance Battler / Kick Chick: Verity Price.
  • Dating Catwoman: Verity and Dominic. And another case from a couple generations earlier is mentioned.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Verity, Dominic, and Sarah all have a rather pleasant conversation with the ancient dragon beneath Manhattan.
  • Door Step Baby: Little Fran was left outside the flap of the main tent of the circus she grows up to perform with.
  • Drop What You Are Doing: Fran drops her knives the first time she encounters an Aeslin mouse.
  • Empty Fridge Empty Life: Verity's fridge is shared with the Aeslin mice, and the mice's shelves are better stocked.
  • Enemy Mine: Verity is freelance, hated by the Covenant. Dominic is Covenant. But they're working together grudgingly.
  • Escape Artist: Part of the Healy and Price family training.
  • Evil Gloating: The cultists, to Verity.
  • Facebook: One of the ways Verity uses to determine how sentient a cryptid is.
  • Famous Last Words: Considered a bad idea by the family in general, too much like Tempting Fate.
  • Flipping the Bird: It's New York. There's a strip bar. It's gonna happen.
  • Hair of Gold:
    • Subverted by dragon princesses. They are indeed beautiful blondes, but they're not innocent and wholesome.
    • Played straight with the majority of the women in the family. They're not exactly innocent, but they are good guys. Enid, Frances, Alice, Evelyn, and Verity fit the trope.
  • Inner Monologue: Verity's narration.
  • Insult of Endearment: Dominic to Verity most often.
  • Jerkass: A lot of the patrons at Dave's.
  • Knife Nut: Frances Brown
    • Verity Price.
  • Knife-Throwing Act:
    • The Fabulous Fran, before meeting Jonathan Healy.
    • Studying with The Incredible Christopher is how Verity got so good at throwing knives.
  • Knowledge Broker: Several:
    • Dave the Bogeyman for "dirt on the street" type stuff.
    • Verity's father for historical data and her Aunt Jane for cybergossip.
  • Le Parkour: More described as free running by Verity, distinct from Parkour.
  • Lolicon: Istas the waitress.
  • Magitek: Technology made just for cryptids, such as darks - the literal opposite of electric lights - for cryptids that don't deal well with light.
  • Male Gaze: Verity's hunting clothes for clubbing. Verity's work uniform at Dave's Fish and Strips. Verity's costumes for her dance competitions. All designed for maximum sex appeal.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • Fran and Jonathan in 1928.
    • Verity and Dominic in 2012.
  • Mind Control: All Cuckoos are capable of it at a nearly unconscious level.
  • Mouse World: The attic of the Healy house, and the closet of Verity's semilegal sublet. Dollhouses and birdhouses make lovely mouse residences.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The name "Price" in universe. Cryptids know of the family's reputation and don't entirely trust it.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Bogeymen can do this as a natural talent.
  • Oh Crap: Paraphrased as the header to one of the chapters by one of Verity's ancestors.
  • Our Monsters Are Different
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: What's the best way to get out of a bloody cult chamber when you have neither clothes nor shoes? Get your buff Love Interest to toss you over his shoulder.
  • Parental Abandonment: Fran ended up with the circus because someone left her outside the tent. She used to hope for her Missing Mom to find her, before giving up.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The family as a whole is financially solvent. Verity, though, is barely making it on a cocktail waitress salary and tips, because she has to pay for rent in New York, plus ammo, plus clothes damaged in her cryptid-related activities.
  • Photographic Memory: The Aeslin mice.
  • Punny Name: Dave's Fish and Strips, a gentleman's club staffed almost exclusively by cryptids.
  • Reality TV: In-verse, "Dance or Die", the reality show Valerie competed on.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Not quite, but Verity's grandmother looks much younger than she really is due to spending time in alternate dimensions with time dilations.
  • Religion of Evil: Snake cult.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Questing Beast ... well, halfway.
    • Played straight with the lindworm and the Sleestaks, subverted with William the Dragon.
  • Revenge: An ongoing concern of the family regarding both cryptids and the Covenant. Betty Smith in particular wants it, and is prepared to turn Verity into a fall guy to get it.
  • Secret Identity: Valerie Pryor, competitive ballroom dancer, is Verity's public identity, making her real identity as Verity the secret one.
    • The same is true for her brother Alex, who goes by Alex Preston.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Verity is thankful that her grandmother took shots at The Boob Fairy[1] resulting in the girls of the family being modestly endowed.
    • Land of the Lost: Verity refers to an unknown creature as a Sleestak until she finds out what it really is.
    • The Bat Boy from National Enquirer fame is an actual cryptid in this 'verse.
    • Verity mentions Carmen Sandiego by way of witty banter.
    • Verity quotes the sages: "you can't always get what you want."
    • Metallica
    • Super Mario Bros: you'll know the scene when you get to it.
    • The Incredibles: Verity specifically calls out the villain for monologuing.
    • An obscure reference to another filker: "Emerald Green" is a Pegasus-winning song. The writer of "Emerald Green" also has a song about a Siren making a living as a singer.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Verity's way of winning an argument with Dominic.
    • Dominic does the same to Verity later in the story, but just to genuinely get her to stop talking.
  • Spy Catsuit: Verity has one for slinking stealthily around the rooftops at night.
  • Squick: Dominic's reaction to seeing Sarah do first aid on him.
    • Verity's hinted-at description of Tooth Fairy feeding habits.
  • Telepathy: Natural talent for the cuckoos.
  • They Fight Crime: She's a ballroom dancer slash strip club waitress! He's a church-trained uptight guy with no clue about the way of the world. They hunt dangerous cryptids!
  • Time Skip: From the prologue of Discount Armageddon to the first chapter.
  • Title In: Each chapter of Discount Armageddon begins with a location and status check for Verity.
  • Virgin Power: Why so many female cryptids are vanishing.
  • Well Intentioned Extremists: The Covenant of St. George.

Notes

  1. a song by Deirdre Flint
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