WOTN Review: Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire

Calculated Risks: An Out of This World Experience (Literally)

It’s time to hop back into the world of Cryptids and the supernatural in Calculated Risks. This is the tenth novel in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series. And the second novel follows Sarah Zellaby, one of the younger Price members.

Sarah is a Cuckoo by birth and a Price by adoption. Her nature makes her a telepathic predator with a predilection towards math. While her upbringing makes her a cryptozoologist and a person who knows the difference between right and wrong.

Last we saw (Imaginary Numbers), Sarah had to make an impossible decision, knowing there would be a cost no matter what she did. Well, it feels unlikely that she predicted the situation she’d end up in next. Now she’s stuck in another dimension, with only some of her family. None of whom remember who she is.


Calculated Risks is another whirlwind addition to this series, undoubtedly the most unique novel to date. When we’re talking about a series full of sorcerers, bogeymen, dragons, and cults, that’s an impressive feat.

At least so far, Sarah’s perspective is the only non-human perspective of the whole series. That automatically makes for a unique read. As does the setting of this book. This is the only book that isn’t set in our dimension – quite a twist, I know.

Throw in the complications revolving around how they got here, and suddenly there’s quite a lot going on. And even more for Sarah to work through. That being said, it was a delight to learn more about her and the secondary characters.

Calculated Risks went a long way in explaining Cuckoo biology and history in ways that I would never have expected. The temporary view into another dimension was another fascinating addition, leaving me hopeful that we’ll see more in the future.


Calculated Risks had its ups and downs regarding pacing, which is a relief. Sarah’s story is not conducive to all action and fighting. She’s a math nerd. She likes doing math and taking the time to sit and think by herself.

All of that translated into the writing, as there were things that she needed to work out by herself. Likewise, there’s plenty of room for the conversation to be found. That’s a positive thing here, as some interesting characters are worth poking.

Sarah’s character grew up a lot throughout this book. As a telepath, she was never quite what I would call naive – that wouldn’t be possible. But she was alarming close, all things considered. This novel removed that naivety and replaced it with self-confidence.


Calculated Risks is worth picking up, especially for all those InCryptid fans. It’s fun and unique in a well-known series for being both. Though it does leave me with the question: what will the next novel be about, and who will be the main perspective? It feels like time for another switch, don’t you think?

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

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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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