Book Review: Midnight Blue Light Special by Seanan McGuire

338 pp.

In Midnight Blue Light Special, Verity is still working part time at a night club, the former Fish and Strips, which has been recently rebranded as a burlesque nightclub called the Freakshow. (The new owner inherited the place from her sleazy uncle and decided some changes needed to be made.) When she isn’t dancing or bussing tables, she’s working as a journeyman cryptozoologists studying and assisting the New York cryptid population.

Verity is also still seeing Dominic De Luca, the sexy and occasionally clueless Covenant monster hunter. Dominic would normally be sworn to destroy the local cryptid population and execute Verity as a Traitor to Humanity but Romance and numerous lectures have caused him to have something of a change of heart. This turns out to be a good thing, since he warns her that the Covenant is going to be sending a team to check up on him. The bad news is that Dominic is extremely conflicted on what side he wants to be on, and one of the Covenant operatives is one of Verity’s distant relatives, a woman determined to clear the family name by wiping out Verity’s branch of it.

There are some interesting moments as it becomes clear that Dominic is hoping for a direction to turn in, and Verity doesn’t really provide it. Verity leaves the decision to turn completely up to Dominic, not because she’s testing him, but because she’s too busy trying to find ways to help the cryptids (which may include having to fight or even kill Dominic). The absence of ultimatums and heartfelt speeches was refreshing because it reduced the relationship drama and instead focused the plot on the issues of trust and potential betrayal.

The plot heads into some fairly grim territory when there is a point of view switch from Verity to Verity’s adopted cousin Sarah who is a telepathic cryptid. Cuckoos are sociopathic by human standards, casually homicidal and have the ability to convince you that they’re your very best friend, a close relative or even a lover. Cuckoos are con artists who infiltrate, use and eventually destroy the lives of their victims.

Sarah is not like that only because she was carefully raised from a very young age to be “good.” Unfortunately, being “good” does not keep Sarah from accidentally convincing someone that she’s their long lost daughter when she’s upset enough. Sarah gets pushed very hard when she’s forced to use her powers in order to rescue Verity.

Except for what happens to poor Sarah, this book has a fairly positive, happy ending. Dominic and Verity end up together with plans on taking some time off to visit the rest of Verity’s family. According to the author’s note at the end, the next two books are going to be from Verity’s brother Alex’s point of view. I am looking forward to seeing more books from this series.

Read the review for the previous book, Discount Armageddon.

Midnight Blue-Light Special on Amazon

Midnight Blue-Light Special on Powell’s Books

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Filed under fantasy, Review: Book, Seanan McGuire, urban

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