Review: Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire

Author: Seanan McGuire
Series: InCryptid #9
Publisher: DAW
Released: February 25th, 2020
Received: Own

Imaginary Numbers is the ninth novel (wow, has it really been that many already???) in the InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire, a thrilling series about all of the creatures that go bump in the night. I only recently picked up this series, and I am obsessed, thus I can’t recommend it enough to everyone else out there.

Sarah Zellaby is what is commonly known as a Cuckoo, as well as being a Price by adoption. Being a Cuckoo means that she is a telepathic predator capable of making humans do whatever she wants. Being a Price means she won’t take advantage of her nature.

Sarah has spent the last five years locked up in voluntary isolation, as her mind and heart recover from an injury she gave to herself. Now, she’s hoping that she’s well enough to go out into the world and see the rest of her family again. Especially Artie.

Only, Sarah is a Price through and through, and that means there’s a major complication heading her way. She’s about to get pulled into a war between Cuckoos and humanity, and that means she’s going to have to pick a side.

“There’s no such thing as doing absolutely no harm. Human, cuckoo, it doesn’t matter. Everybody hurts and is hurt, in a grand cycle of being alive. But minimizing the damage… that matters.”

Imaginary Numbers is exactly the sort of adventure I was hoping for, when it came time to read about Sarah’s perspective. It’s quirky and full of math, in a way that only Cuckoos could bring to the table.

I always knew that Sarah’s perspective would be the most unique out of all the Price family members. She’s a Cuckoo after all, but more than that, she’s been through so much. Trauma in her past, as well as what happened five years ago. That will do a number on anybody.

It’s refreshing to see that she wasn’t able to just roll with something so significant, but there’s no way I could have predicted what it would all lead to. Learning more about Cuckoos was absolutely fascinating. Though once again, I did find myself feeling grateful that they don’t exist in the real world. No offense, Sarah. You’re the exception to the rule. Always.

“Being the only human in a cryptid family got Evie interested in cryptid biology and medicine long before I entered the picture.”

Imaginary Numbers is the first novel in the series to go for a perspective that is 100% Cryptid. There’s a huge change of pace because of that, as well as seeing a major change in the way the world (and people) are perceived.

But don’t worry, this book isn’t totally out there. It still features many characters we know and love. My favorite appearances include Annie, Sam, and James, obviously. Oh! And we finally (finally!) get to see Artie, as opposed to just hearing about him.

“Nobody gets to pick where they’re born or who they’re born to, but everybody gets to pick their family. Make good choices with yours.”

For the first time since picking up this series, I find myself grateful for being so far behind. Imaginary Numbers, a brilliant read by all means, does end in a huge cliffhanger. One that I would have found unbearable, if I had to wait a year between books. Thankfully, I was behind, and thus able to happily hop right over to Calculated Risks after finishing.

Follow the Lady

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Follow the Lady is a short story included at the end of Imaginary Numbers, though it actually takes place following That Ain’t Witchcraft. Once again, we’re back to Annie (Antimony) Price’s perspective, and I love it.

Annie and her friends are on their way home, following a battle with the Crossroads. On the way, they run across Grandma Alice, a very unique and terrifying character in her own right. Here an exchanging of information occurs, and we’re once again reminded of all the reasons to never get on Alice’s bad side.

This was a fantastic short. I honestly would love more road trip stories from this crew. Wait, is that a possibility? I haven’t looked through all of the short stories yet, so I’m going to sincerely hope that this is a possibility, because I need more of it in my life.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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