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InCryptid #3

Half-Off Ragnarok

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When Alex Price agreed to go to Ohio to oversee a basilisk breeding program and assist in the recovery of his psychic cousin, he didn't expect people to start dropping dead. But bodies are cropping up at the zoo where he works, and his girlfriend—Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist with a fondness for big cats—is starting to get suspicious.

Worse yet, the bodies have all been turned partially to stone...

The third book in the InCryptid series takes us to a new location and a new member of the family, as Alex tries to balance life, work, and the strong desire not to become a piece of garden statuary. Old friends and new are on the scene, and danger lurks around every corner.

Of course, so do the talking mice.

356 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 4, 2014

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About the author

Seanan McGuire

460 books14.9k followers
Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).

I do not check this inbox. Please don't send me messages through Goodreads; they won't be answered. I don't want to have to delete this account. :(

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5 stars
2,181 (28%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 737 reviews
Profile Image for Choko.
1,169 reviews2,568 followers
February 5, 2018
*** 4.55 ***

Another Wednesday, another UF buddy read with the Fae and Weird creature nerds at BB&B!


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Just as good if not better the second time around!!!

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So, I was very, very excited to get started with this book, since in the first two of the series I fell in love with Verity, Dominique, cousin Sarah, and most importantly, the Aeslin Cult of Mice!!! Long live the talking critters!!! And honestly, this whole Price family seems to be genetically designed to be awesome!!! So, imagine my surprise, when instead of Verity, we got the book from a Point of View of her slightly older, much less cool, much more dorky brother, Alex! I was skeptical... After all, he could have chosen to specialize in all manner of cool cpyptids, but chose to go with the ones most closely related to the Lizards!!! They are coldblooded and creepy, people, nothing cuddly about them! And there is always the possibility of one or more of them mistaking the Aeslin mice fro their regular diet of ordinary, non-religious mice... *shudders* The Horror!!!! It is obviously, quite irresponsible of him to have snakes, lizards, Gorgons, and all kind of other slithering creatures who may or may not petrify you when you meat their gaze, in the vicinity of the Colony of sapient mice who happens to think of him as their G-d!

"..."Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived with monsters, and the monsters swore that they would never hurt him, because even monsters dream of living happily ever after.” ..."

Thus, I was skeptical when I discovered the change of POV to Alex Price, cryptozoologist extraordinaire, who has moved in with his grandparents in Ohio in order to assist them with the care and recovery for cousin Sarah and at the same time play matchmaker for two very sleepy basilisks, bent on not waking up to take care of their reproductive legacy... Alex sees that as not a good thing, I say, hey, let them sleep as looooong as they want! I should have never doubted Ms. Seanan McGuire! The woman is a genius when it comes to telling a story balanced in humor, action, lovely characters, a full taxonomy of outlandish creatures, and a completely believable world building with minimum info dumps and just a smidgen of descriptions!!! I love her! Well, not her, exactly, but her work... Although I am sure she is a lovely lady... You guys know what I mean!

"...“Yes, dear, it does seem unwise to stand here and calmly wait to be devoured by the ever- expanding maw of the netherworld. If you have a suggestion as to how better to handle the situation, I’m quite eager to hear it.”..."

This series has been a joy to discover and a whirlwind to read! Alex works at the Ohio State Zoo and there he meats this good looking, straight shooting, tiger taming, big cats biologist, who hails from Australia, the land of my dreams.... "..."Australia. The only continent designed with a difficulty rating of “ha ha fuck you no.”..." .... (If that is true, maybe I should reevaluate my dream destinations.... ). Her name is Dr. Shelby Tanner, and she can't figure out how come Alex keeps on evading all of her more personal questions... One day, a dead body is found and the petrification of his eyes leads Alex to believe that a member of the cryptide community is responsible. Shelby is understandably upset and wants to spend the evening with Alex, which leads to their first date at his house, where of course cousin Sarah and the mice reside... Everything that could go wrong does, and more, which leads to Alex and Shelby to put their cards face up on the table... It becomes a lot of fun, believe me!!!

"..."“I told them you almost certainly were not a serial killer, and that they were being horribly sexist by assuming that of the two of us, only you were capable of committing murder. That may have been a tactical error—it got me rather a lot more questioning that I hadn’t exactly been planning on.” “Well, yes. It’s usually unwise to tell the police you could be a serial killer if you really, really wanted to.” ..."

Also, did I mention that the Aeslin Colony which lives with Alex is a bit more subdued than the one that lives with Verity - I guess they kind of adjust to the personality of the g-d/priestess whom they live with. ANd they help him with his research - how cool is that!!!! Because, lets face it, we are all dreaming of a version of this colony somehow attaching itself to one of us. It will be like living with a always hungry for cake Disney movie!!! “ALL GLORY TO THE SCIENCE RULES OF SCIENCE!”... Ooo, also, there is a really cool Church Griffin - almost as cute as the Rose Griffin, only less needlie:):)

All fans of fun and exciting stories, you have got to check this book out! I think it would be appropriate for any age after .... 12ish... Could be earlier, I am not sure anymore... I just wish more people would read it and let their inner magic come out and dance!!!

Happy Reading to All!!!
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,255 reviews8,650 followers
February 6, 2017
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

3.5 stars

I'm not going to lie, I was initially put off by the POV shift from Verity to her brother Alex. Verity is the quintessential urban fantasy heroine that I've come to know and love, and if it isn't Verity, I'd be much happier if it was Antimony (my favorite roller derby goddess, thank you freebie short stories available on McGuire's website).

But Alex?

Alex like snakes, disparaging his sisters, and not much else as far as I can tell.

Booooooo.

*snickers*

Meet Alex:

“You really tried to hug a manticore? Alex, I never thought you had it in you.”
“I was six,” I said, trying to recover my dignity as I put the Tim Horton’s bag down on the table. “It looked like a puppy crossed with a scorpion. Of course I wanted to hug it.”

Of course he did . . .

Is Alex as kick-ass as Verity? No. Is he as unapologetically scary as Antimony? No. Is he as big of a stick-in-the-mud science geek as I believed he was . . .?

Well yes, actually, but as it turns out stick-in-the-mud science geeks are kind of fun.

Especially when he's mooning over a pretty Australian girl who is almost as awesome as his sisters.

Less fun is that I pegged the bad guy the second he was introduced. You know how it normally goes: at some point early in a book you meet the Bad Guy in such a way that in hindsight you're all, ooohhh yeahhhhh, that totally makes sense.

Except this time I didn't need hindsight.

Dude was introduced, and I was like, I bet he's a ________! Then a chapter or so later the first Bad Thing happens, and guess what? The thing I guessed dude to be can do the Bad Thing.

Ta-dahhhh. *does not throw confetti in the air* *does not moonwalk* * does not shake booty*

Back on the fun side is this series' version of not-a-cat, Alex's pet some-kind-of-griffin, Crow. Crow is every bit as adorable as October's rose goblin, Spike. Also fun is the Australian version of this animal, allegedly covered in pink stripey fur, the garinna.

I'll take two, please.

SO. Not my favorite installment of INCRYPTID, but not bad either. Sarah is alternately heartbreaking and hilarious as she travels the apparently slow road to recovery, Alex is twitterpated by a visiting zoologist (or is she?), and while I'll never be fond of snakes, I'm down with giant-turtles-as-body-dumps, and flying bird-cats are excellent . . . I'm still kicking myself for waiting so long to get caught up with this series. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
January 3, 2017
HAIL! Welcome to the celebration of the defeat of the petrifying one and the introduction of a future priestess to the Gods of Scales and Silence. Gather round as honorary acolyte Robin of Bridge Four recites the tale.

The God of Scales and Silence was summoned by the Elder Heartless One to Ohio to help heal the Younger Heartless One after she heroically saved the Aboreal Priestess from capture by the Covenant. Luckily there was also a zoo in need of our God’s services and a secret program to mate creatures that can turn you to stone.

It was a time of many nights of Science Rules - “no rejoicing, no dropping what you’re working on to race off and join a spontaneous parade in honor of the Violent Priestess, no asking complex theological questions when you’re supposed to be focusing on your job.”. The Petrifying beast stalked the place of exotic animal cages for his quarry and lo some victims were found and our god was in danger. Hail! That our God was up to the challenge because in the words of the god of Unexpected Situations
“Yes, that’s a brilliant idea. Choose the career path most likely to lead to an early, painful death, and you’re sure to find job satisfaction.”

With the help of the potential Priestess Shelby and the assistant with dangerous hair our God set out to find the beast and slay it.

The potential Priestess did not like the Heartless Ones and thought to save our god. The Elder Heartless one disliked her immediately but the Younger Heartless one liked her and won her over to believing that she would not brainwash her.
“She saved his life, Angie,” said Grandpa gently. “Put the crossbow down.”
“I like her,” said Sarah. “Blonde ladies with guns remind me of Verity. I miss Verity. Will she be back from dance camp soon?”

Much running around was done and there were negotiations with the people of Snake Hair to find the petrifying beast. Not all told the truth and there were some lies. But our God was brave and smart and even though someone tried to turn him to stone, burn him like a candle and take the potential priestess away he persevered until the perpetrator was found.

The rest of the sermon will be delivered after Cheese and Cake and a Disney inspired dance number.

Um so if you didn’t get the Alex and Shelby are dating, someone is turning people around Alex to stone and since he is a Price he has to find them and put a stop to it before the Covenent notices and sends someone to look into it as we are running out of single Prices to throw at them for conversion by relationship. They sleuth around a bit to find the perpetrator and then there is a big showdown.

Very cool things of note in this book were:

The church Griffin Crow – Alex’s pet and a mix between a Cat and Bird.
(Crow got his name from my youngest sister, Antimony. I originally called him “Poe,” as in “Edgar Allen.” Antimony took one look at him and demanded to know how I could be so uncreative as to name a black-feathered griffin “Crow.” It annoyed me enough that I defended my name choice without pausing to consider the fact that it wasn’t my name choice, and it stuck. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that was her intention all along. My baby sister is devious enough to make your average bogeyman seem like an open book.)

Then there is Chandi who looks like an eight year old girl but comes to the zoo to visit her big cobra looking Fiancé (not kidding)

There is also all this time with Sarah as she is recovering that was both hilarious and sad all at the same time. I loved most of the things she said even when some of them seemed like nonsense.
“What are you doing here? This isn’t your room.”
“The moon doesn’t approve of the screaming in the cornfield,” she said. She sounded entirely reasonable, as long as I ignored the fact that she was talking like a book of Mad Libs. “Have you seen the Queen of Hearts today? Does she have the treacle tarts?”

It did take me a minute to get used to Alex as the PoV but then I was totally into the change up in the story and loved it. Plus Shelby is kind of awesome so I’m totally in for the next book in the series. I actually like this series more than October Daye.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,851 followers
January 29, 2023
Re-Read 1/29/23:

Oddly enough, almost none of my opinions on this book have changed since the first time. I still like Alex more than Verity. lol


Original Review:

Am I a bad man for liking Alex Price better than Verity? I hope not. I just like how nerdy and reptilian he is next to his sister who just happens to have a slight and glancing blow in this novel.

We're off and away from NYC and dab in the heart of Ohio, where the basilisks roam and revenant grandfathers give you dour looks. I think I love Alex's dry commentary and the greater exploration of Sarah and the rest of the Price family more than the previous volumes, too.

Is this a turning point? If so I approve. We're deeper in the heart of the beasties, too, with more and better descriptions and taxonomies. I may be forgiven for mainly wanting to read these for precisely these nerdy features. The story is fine and the characters engaging, but in the heart of hearts, I want a greater knowledge of the more interesting cryptids. And thankfully, I get them here! Woo!

Plus, I get the delightful wish-fulfilment fantasy of a hardcore-geek/monster hunter finding and working to keep, a girl who doesn't run away screaming. Because, after all, isn't that what all geeks dearly dream about? (Insert sweeping repudiations and exceptions, here, and consider me chastised. :)

Seriously, I'm both impressed with Alex under pressure and the rest of the family. If I wasn't hooked with the first two books, I am now.

Great fun!
Profile Image for Steven.
1,048 reviews386 followers
December 16, 2016
Thanks, Seanan, for swapping Price perspectives and giving us a little time with a different family member. Thank you for taking that chance, and completely nailing the execution. I should have believed you knew what you were doing -- you've literally never let me down before, so why didn't I have faith? *I'd make a bad Aeslin mouse.*

Anywho, it was awesome getting to see a different piece of the Incryptid world with a (mostly) new cast of Price/Healy/Baker/Zellaby family members. I really liked Carol in the first book, don't ask me why, she just stood out to me as a fun minor character. Probably because Seanan McGuire is so good at making this weirdness feel like it makes sense in our modern world. I mean, really, taking a gorgon and plopping her into a strip club waitressing gig and talking about needing a wig to cover her snakes? Pure creative genius. Anyways, this digression was a side note to say, MORE GORGONS in this one! I very much enjoyed the character of Dee and her storyline. It was really cool to have another major player in a story be an Incryptid instead of a human, and to play a big role in the story, and to be something other than the cuckoo we've come to love (Sarah!).

Shelby was also a pleasant surprise. Her backstory got more and more interesting, and she reminds me a lot of Frances/Fran from the Incryptid history short stories, which is good, because I adore Fran.

Alex was entertaining as well. As a guy who grew up dorky, I related to him on some level, though he grew up to be a badass cryptozoologist, and my accounting career is just as boring as you'd think it would be. (Don't worry, I'm working on changing that!)

Anyways, McGuire knocked another one out of the park. To close, I have to make side note of my favorite line from the book. Sarah, who is recovering from her misadventures in NYC with Verity, loves math, like all the cuckoos in the series. She's off to bed and she says, "Will you read me a bedtime equation?" <3
Profile Image for Lois Bujold.
Author 154 books37.5k followers
April 19, 2014

I liked this one best of the series so far, in part because I prefer Ohio to New York City, and biology to ballroom dancing, interesting in an alien sort of way as the latter two are. I was also quite charmed by our biologist-hero Alex (because, biology!) Or anyway, magical biology, which was a stitch, pretty much. The primary female lead was a sort of female Steve Irwin (and also biologist!) Her kick-ass approach to life reminded me not a little of some Australian women I have known.

I was looking forward to what the author would do with the setting, my home town, and was rather disappointed. Except for a few place names that might have been pulled off a map, I never felt the book gave much sense of the geography or ambiance generally of central Ohio. How could one describe the Columbus Zoo and never mention the Scioto River? Climbable oak trees, really? Swamps? How could I have lived there for 45 years and missed the famous swamps of central Ohio, I wondered. And so on. I finally decided to take it as an alternate universe which, given the cryptobiology etc., it already is, after all. The closed cryptid community that turns up in the latter part of the book could have been inspired by the central Ohio Amish, I suppose, though McGuire (or the cryptids) seemed to have missed that bet.

I am pretty sure this could be read as a stand-alone, but if the reader is willing I would recommend starting with the prior two volumes, which give background and setup only touched on here. The first volume of the series is Discount Armageddon.
Profile Image for carol..
1,504 reviews7,572 followers
December 28, 2016

Remember that period in college (and in some cases, post-college) when you were convinced Cinnamon Toast Crunch was an acceptable substitute for any meal? You know how you managed that, right? By not thinking about the fact you were basically eating vitamin-enriched pellets, and concentrating on that sugary, cinnamony crunch.

Half-Off Ragnorok is like that.

Half-Off explores the world of Alex, one of the human members of the Price family. Alex is officially working at the Columbus Zoo as a visiting herpetologist with Dee, a member of the gorgon genus. Unofficially, of course, he and his family are working to protect humans from mythological non-humans–and vice versa–and his work as a reptile specialist allows him the chance to research the more unusual species in the area. While in Ohio, he’s staying with Grandma and Grandpa, a ‘cuckoo’ and a Revenant respectively, as well as cousin Sarah, another cuckoo. Work has been complicated by dating Shelby, the visiting big cat specialist from Australia, and they’ve just snuck away for a little tete-a-tete when they discover a partially petrified human. Alex’s personal and professional worlds are about to collide as they follow a trail of petrified disaster.


**********************************

Further comments and comparisons to cereal at:
http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/0...
Profile Image for Trish.
1,851 reviews3,363 followers
January 30, 2023
Well now. Welcome to Ohio. Where we meet a new Price family member: Alex (Verity's older brother).

Alex is a cryptozoologist like the rest of his family but specializing in reptiles. He is therefore working at a local zoo where he has started a basilisk breeding program. During his time off, he helps watch Sarah while she's recovering from what happened at the end of the previous book.
But Alex soon finds more than he was looking for when another researcher on loan turns out to be a hottie from Australia who has no problem handling dangerous animals.
That is, until people start dying all around Alex and he and Shelby become targets themselves. Narrowly escaping losing his eyesight forever, Alex tries to puzzle together pieces that won't quite fit.

I was very happy to hear that Ray Porter was narrating this since I really love his work. Weirdly enough, he turned out not to be a perfect fit for Alex though. :/
I was also quite looking forward to moving on from Verity and her constant sadness over having missed this or that ballroom dancing competition - only to find out that Alex and Shelby were even more annoying in their own ways.

So we weren't off to the best start. However, I REALLY enjoyed the mystery and the deeper look we got at the different types of petrifiers here. Best of all, we got to meet one set of grandparents and they were not only adorably hilarious but competent and loyal - I always like it when supernatural grandmas get out the crossbows. ;)
Oh, and Alex has his own branch of Aslin mice, which was cool (I had been afraid to miss the littel buggers). Though they didn't make much of an appearance.

So far, my least favorite installment in the series but maybe things will get better once Alex gets his libido under control and Shelby stopps being so fucking slow (that scene in the kitchen had me want to strangle her).

We'll see soon because I'll read the next installment right after the short stories.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,196 reviews367 followers
December 23, 2016
I was a little bummed when I realized that I was going to be leaving Verity's point-of-view, which we'd spent the last 2 books being immersed in. And I did miss Verity a bit in this one, but I can easily say that Alex has created a spot in my favorite-character list all his own.

I'm not sure if it was missing Verity, or other issues, but this book gets off to a bit of a slow start.I think it's a little of that, and a little of getting used to the new character. One of the things I appreciate most is when an author has different voices for her characters. They think and act in their own unique way according to their personalities. That is definitely the case here.

Alex is a very different character than Verity. Verity is smart, and she's an active person, always having to be on the move, always thinking quickly. Alex is just as capable of being active, on the move, and definitely thinking quickly, but he's a scientist at heart. He studies, he examines, he learns and then he draws conclusions. Which makes those take-charge moments all the more unexpected and sexy.

Shelby took me a bit to warm up to, as well. I think probably because I'd misjudged her. She's ended up being one of my favorites as well. She's got just the right amount of sarcasm, kick-ass attitude, and acceptance that made me adore her. Plus, she's the perfect match for Alex.

I figured out who the bad-guy was by about the mid-point of the book, but I never understood why. And I appreciated that there was mystery to keep me going and keep me intrigued. Even if, when I did get to the end, the reasons why were pretty lame - I think that's true of most selfish acts, the reasons are mundane and when you line them up, they probably come out as pretty stupid and ridiculous even.

I definitely appreciated the fuller world that we got to experience here, and the additional details about the cryptids - and how the Prices go about studying and gathering information on them. I like that they're a mix between scientists, trying to pull together facts, and supernatural-police, trying to keep the peace and balance. Plus, the quotes at the beginning of the chapters are really some of the best things ever. In this book (unlike in Verity's) the quotes are from the men in the Healy-Price-Baker family.

And then there's Sarah. The reason that we're really in Ohio anyway. I can tell you that my heart broke more than once reading scenes with her. But I remain hopeful.

Time to dive into the next one. I'm behind in the group-buddy-read and I must catch up - can't stop now.

Review also available at The Book Eaters
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
975 reviews231 followers
December 4, 2019
Now Alexander Price’s watch begins.

Half-Off Ragnarok is the third book in the insanely entertaining InCryptid series. After spending time with Verity in New York City during the first two books, we switch to the POV of her older brother, Alex.

This being a story featuring a large cast of characters, I appreciate rotating perspectives. Much like Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, having various individual narratives in the spotlight expands upon the worldbuilding in such an exciting way that I absolutely adore!

“If you find something you truly love, stick with it. There’s nothing else in this world that will make you half as happy. There’s nothing else that will make you half as miserable, either, but you can’t have one without the other.”

Alex is a cryptozoologist, much like his sister Verity, except his focus is on reptiles and swamp life. He has recently moved to Ohio to live with his grandparents and help take care of his cousin Sarah, who is recovering from the events of the previous book. Alex works at the West Columbus Zoo as a researcher under an alias, because the Price family is constantly in danger of being hunted by The Covenant. The real reason he is in Ohio is to work on a basilisk breeding program and to study the local incryptid population, including frickens (feathered frogs!)

Then the first petrification murder happens. Which obviously raises questions.

Assisting Alex in trying to solve the supernatural murder case is Shelby, his mysterious tiger trainer girlfriend from Australia. She has more than a few secrets of her own. Shelby is.. a character that I’m not sure how I feel about just yet. She’s a bit too much of a damsel in distress, but I’m hoping that she will grow on me in the next book!

“If you didn’t think I knew what I know, why are you telling me what you think I didn’t know but might have come here looking to find out?” Shelby paused. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure even I understand what I just said.”

There is plenty of humor, mystery and of course, cryptids! Cockatrice, basilisks, gorgons, lindworms, snakes and even a church griffin (a cross between a raven and a Maine Coon cat) named Crow. And let’s not forget my favorite, the gleeful Aeslin mice!

As with the first two books, McGuire has written a fast-moving, fun, delightfully quirky installment in the Incryptid series. I did find myself missing Verity’s fierce personality at times, but Alex is more than worthy of taking the reins for awhile. More nerdy POV’s, please!

All hail the God of Scales and Silence!
Profile Image for Lana *Lifeinwordsandlyricscom*.
540 reviews119 followers
February 28, 2018
"Meh"is the only word I could use to describe whatever this was. I was bored the whole time and was wondering if this is even the same series. Alex was dull, Dee had no personality whatsoever, Shelby was like a sledgehammer to my brain and the cryptid community wasn't that veried. I guess grandparents were alright but they weren't in it that much so I really couldn't say. I'm kind of upset with this turn of events so I'll switch to something else for now.

Over and out
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,088 followers
March 8, 2014
Spoilers

I enjoyed the first two books in the series, this one not so much. The main issue I had was the extremely tedious main character, there was nothing remotely engaging about him. I really wish the author had stuck with Verity's character, she was a far more endearing narrator.

-The beginning was rather slow, boring, and info-dumpy… Actually most of it was.

-The plot wasn't gripping, it was the run of the mill 'ooh something/someone is killing people and we must find out who/what it is and stop them' — it was utterly predictable and uninspired. I guessed who the bad guy was early on, and it took all the mystery and whatnot out of the story.

-Alex as the MC was nowhere near as entertaining as Verity, she was such fun, and he was plain dull.

-The romance between Alex and Shelby was mostly flat, there was just the odd time or two where they were quite cute around each other, other than that they were passionless and blah.

-The Cryptid world was easy to immerse into, the action was written well, and most of the secondary characters were decent.

-Alex's family were great… they were so close, normal, and supportive. I love it when MC's in UF/PNR books have big, loving families — it makes a change from all the orphans/almost orphans/mummy issues/daddy issues type of MC's.

-Every character seemed to respond to things by blinking. It was annoying.

-I would have much rather read another Verity installment or even a Sarah one, they were both infinitely more interesting than Alex.

All in all, not impressed. Alex was a rubbish protagonist and his story was humdrum and unremarkable.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,385 reviews811 followers
March 16, 2018
This was good! I wasn't sure about this series after the first book, then the second book I enjoyed more and with this one I. Decided I prefer Alex to Verity. Now however I am annoyed because, having decided to buy the next one straight away, I find that the fourth in the series isn't available on kindle in the UK. Why on earth not?!
Oh! And I want a church griffin!
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,871 followers
January 7, 2015
After two very entertaining InCryptid books with Verity Price and her Covenant boyfriend Dominic, we now join her older brother Alex in Ohio. I had my doubts about McGuire’s decision to leave Verity and change narrators in the third book, but Alex proved to be a very entertaining, albeit completely different protagonist.

Alex joined his grandparents in Ohio to help his cousin Sarah and oversee the breeding of two basilisks (that sounds much dirtier than it actually is), but he certainly got more than he bargained for. For one, his chaotic life and his many, many secrets prevent him from being a good boyfriend to the Australian beauty he’s currently dating. Then dead, partially petrified bodies start showing up around Alex and his basilisks, as well as his relationship with Shelby simply have to take a back seat.

As usual, someone is targeting the Healy-Price family and this time, Alex is right in the middle of things. With the help of his grandparents, his cuckoo cousin and his girlfriend, he uses his calm, scientific approach to solve a very odd, frightening case. The fact that said scientific approach sometimes includes autopsies on his grandmother’s kitchen table is just a minor detail that barely even registers with the Price-Healy family.

The lines between Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant are starting to blur, and it’s a very good things. There are some common denominators that are easily recognizable regardless of the name she writes under. She likes short, effective quotes at the beginning of each chapter, she always does an insane amount of research, she tends to rely on science as much as she can, and her worldbuilding is nothing short of extraordinary. A pen name doesn’t mean a personality transplant, which is great for the brilliant and funny McGuire/Grant.

Ray Porter was an excellent choice for narrator and I felt that his voice reflected Alex’s calm, geeky personality perfectly. He had minor issues with female voices, but Seanan’s dry, quirky sense of humor wasn’t lost in his narration, which I appreciated more than I can say. If anything, it was made even stronger.

We’ll be joining Alex once more in the next installment titled Pocket Apocalypse. I am determined to go with the audio format once again, especially if they decide to keep Ray Porter on as narrator.


Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,965 reviews631 followers
April 20, 2018
I have to say I am impressed. Not only did McGuire change locations, taking us from Manhatten to Ohio, she also gave us a new POV, that of Alex Price, Verity's brother. I was worried about the change of POV. It isn't something one traditionally sees in urban fantasy, but damn if she didn't pull it off. I love how fresh this series is, and the paranormal "cryptid" creatures are living amongst humans. 

Alex lives with his (non-related) grandparents, as they take care of his cousin Sarah (again non-related). Both Sarah and his grandmother are cuckoos. Sarah is recovering from events in Manhatten. As for Alex's grandfather, well I will let you discover more about him for yourself. Alex works under an alias and is a researcher at the Ohio Zoo. He secretly studies local cryptids and oversees a basilisk breeding program. Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist who works with the big cats and is currently dating Alex.  Alex struggles to keep his work as a cryptozoologist secret, so the relationship hasn't progressed. However, all that is about to change and oh boy do things get interesting.

Each book/audio in the series deals with a mystery or dangerous situations surrounding the cryptids.  Half-Off Ragnarok shares a suspenseful murder-mystery. Someone or something is petrifying people. If Alex doesn't solve the mystery soon, it might draw the attention of the Covenant of St. George, a group that cleanses the Earth of cryptids,  or worse he and Shelby may end up dead.  McGuire is a masterful storyteller with a never-ending source of imagination, and she presented quite a tale.

From the Aeslin Mice to Alex's unusual pet, and his gorgon assistant I enjoyed listening. There was humor, fleshed out characters, and scary situation. Alex is very different from Verify and has his geek-on. He cares about his family, gets excited by scientific discovery and can be kickass when necessary. Ray Porter narrates, and Emily Bauer has parts throughout. Ray's performance of Alex was delightful. He captured Alex's emotions, personality and enhanced the overall story. This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Reviewer
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,155 reviews280 followers
May 1, 2020
Alex is better than Verity


Ok, I'm not really sure why I went on with this series.
I guess because I normally like the author and I wanted to give Alex a chance as well? Meh, who knows. Maybe.

Anyway, I'm glad I did, Alex is better than Verity. Let me make something clear, Verity's plot was a lot more interesting, but the characters were annoying and a very big disappointment.
Alex's plot is decent, but the characters are a lot better. So, overall, a better book.

Let's see if it stays that way
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,811 reviews348 followers
April 25, 2016
Hail! Cheese and cake for all!

Half Off Ragnarok is another delightful installment of the Price family series, cryptid investigators and protectors par excellence. This third book follows Alexander Price, Verity’s brother, in his studies of reptiles, both regular and cryptid. I appreciated the accuracy of the reptile information and of Alex’s location at a zoo, an environment that I am familiar with.

The excellent Aeslin mice are still present, although we are obviously dealing with Alex’s branch of the species. Colonies of sapient mice are one of the best inventions in McGuire’s series and they retain their charm in this third novel. They don’t have the same prominence in HOR, but they still provide an important touchstone—the mice need to be fed, consulted, and protected.

We also meet Shelby Tanner, Alex’s love interest and a stereotypical representation of an Australian. Even the cover illustration makes her a strange cross between Barbie and Bindi Irwin. Thankfully, she becomes a more rounded person as the reader gets to know her, since I suspect she will be a regular character in future.

I’m a fan of urban fantasy and this remains one of my favourite series.
Profile Image for Ina.
229 reviews48 followers
December 30, 2017
4 stars

I can honestly tell you I didn't expect there to be different main character in the third book of the series. I usually read books that have one MC throughout the whole series, so the sudden change was kind of unexpected, but surprisingly, it was quite a pleasant surprise. It took me a while to get used to Alex, but it seems like all Price children are easily likable (we haven't met Antimony yet, but let's hope she will be as fun as the other two) and Alex was more mature than Verity, which made me like him even more.

Alex Price (or Alex Preston, as he is known to people outside his family) is a cryptozoologist specializing in reptile cryptids (which mostly consist of really venomous, really life threatening monsters). I have to say I'd rather meet Verity's cryptids, who were mostly almost harmless and almost human. Alex's "friends" consist mostly of venomous snakes, of which I'm not really the biggest fan. The gorgons especially give me nightmares, since having snakes for hair does not seem like fun.

Back to the story. Alex works at the ZOO, where people suddenly start dying in a strange way - they are getting petrified (yes, like Hermione and others got in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was pretty obvious Slytherin's heir messing with people again, but Alex hasn't read HP series, I guess). Alex has to team up with some pretty unexpected allies to discover what's going on and find out how to stop it.

To be honest, I wasn't very fond of romance between Alex and Shelby at first, but she eventually grew on me. I definitely liked their relationship more than the one between Verity and Dominic, that's for sure.

The biggest pro of this book was, however, Alex's family (which includes Aeslin mice and Crow - I need Crow in my life right now). I like his grandparents and I was really glad to see Sarah again (). I really hope Artie will visit at some point or that Sarah will get her own book.

I'm really curious to see who is the main character of the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Katie.
2,628 reviews144 followers
July 9, 2020
3.5

I'm usually okay--or at least okay-is--with the lack of half stars here, but it is very important for you to know that this is not a three star, but I also didn't like it as well as the first two books in the series.

Some of that was probably getting used to a new point of view character and new setting (in terms of location), which also meant a lot of new characters . . . and not sure about the romance. It started off semi-established, but not in a way where I could tell how much feelings were involved???

Well, maybe it'll grow on me more in the second book (that's what happened with Verity's relationship).

Oh, and I did like the side-characters a lot. Dee!
Profile Image for Christal.
936 reviews68 followers
August 3, 2016
See this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!

Seanan McGuire is one of my favorite authors and her InCryptid novels are turning into one of my favorite series. In Half-Off Ragnarok, the narrator of the previous two books, Verity Price, takes a break and her brother Alex takes over the storytelling. While I didn't find Alex and his girlfriend, Shelby, to be quite as interesting as Verity and her boyfriend, Dominic, I did truly enjoy the story and always love learning more about the Baker/Price clan.

Alex Price is a cryptoherpetologist, one who studies cryptid reptiles and reptile-like creatures... aka "not a good way to live a long and healthy life." He is currently working at the Colombus Zoo reptile house while also conducting a study on the local fricken population and trying to breed a pair of basilisks. He lives with his grandmother, a cuckoo, and his grandfather, a revenant. His cousin Sarah, also a cuckoo but mentally unbalanced from overextending her telepathic abilities to save Verity's life in the previous book, is also staying with his grandparents while she is healing. His girlfriend, Shleby, works in the big cat house and turns out to know much more about cryptids than anyone suspected.
"'Great.' I grinned. I couldn't help myself. 'Let's go commit some senseless acts of science.'"

Something is petrifying and murdering people in Half-Off Ragnarok and Alex is determined to find the perpetrator and stop them. The problem is whether it is a what or a who. A what would be a cryptid with little to no higher thinking processes, such as a basilisk or a cockatrice. A who would be a humanoid cryptid with enough brain power to realize what they are doing, such as a gorgon. Alex has his suspects and he knows that a community of gorgons exists in Ohio, but they are a tight-knit group and he would not be a welcomed visitor. Can Alex figure out who/what is doing the killing before he finds himself turned to stone?

I liked Alex pretty well, but I didn't think he had as distinctive a voice as Verity. I liked that he was more scientific and focused on research though. It was interesting to see the... dirtier side of cryptozoology in Half-Off Ragnarok. I enjoyed his dynamic with his grandparents and would like to learn more about how the revenants work. It was nice to see Sarah again, even though she is still struggling with his mental issues. Of course, Alex has his own colony of Aeslin mice and they refer to his as the God of Snakes and Silence. Perhaps not quite as clever as the Arboreal Priestess, but still a funny nod all the same. Shelby was okay for me; I didn't love her but I didn't hate her. She and Alex had an up-and-down relationship, but they were sweet together. I did like Shelby's stories about Australia though; maybe she and Alex will take a research trip there some time!
"Australia. The only continent designed with a difficulty rating of 'ha ha fuck you no.'"

Because most of the cryptids Alex studies are not highly developed thinking wise, it was nice to have his assistant Dee and the other gorgons there to give us the cryptid-human interaction. I'm still wishy-washy on Dee herself because of some events that happen later in the book, but I think she has a good heart and does see Alex as trustworthy. I also liked the introduction of the wadjets - the females look like ordinary humans, but the males are 17-foot ling snakes resembling king cobras. They reminded me of the dragons and dragon princesses from the first two books, but were a little smaller in size to make them more practical for a zoo setting. My favorite cryptid introduced in Half-Off Ragnarok is an easy call though. I loved Alex's pet Crow, a church griffin. It was like a cat with wings! Church griffins are described as a cross between a raven and a Maine Coon cat and Crow definitely had the attitude of both. I would definitely choose a church griffin for myself.
"The world could end, and anything morphologically feline would find a way to take a nap."

All in all, Half-Off Ragnarok was an enjoyable return to the InCryptid world. It might not reach the awesomeness of Verity and Midnight Blue-Light Special, but I think that Alex has a story worthy of being told and it should help shed more light on the family and their history as cryptozoologists. Seanan McGuire fans will enjoy this one, but I wouldn't recommend new readers picking up the series here - start at the beginning to get the best enjoyment out of the series. Verity does have a tiny cameo in this novel, but those jonesing for a true Verity fix should check out the free story on Seanan's website, "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street." Wait until after you've read Half-Off Ragnarok though, as the story does have some spoilers for the book and you don't want to ruin all the fun!
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,323 reviews1,013 followers
January 12, 2017
Half-Off Ragnarok steps away from Verity and gives her older brother Alex a chance to shine. I would have been nervous about the change in narrator for the next few books but after reading a lot of the free short stories on Seanan McGuire's website I've really enjoyed getting to know lots of different members of the Price family so I was looking forward to the switch up.

Alex is very different to his sister, where she's confident and outgoing Alex is more of a nerd, he has friends but his circle isn't as large as Verity's and he prefers to stay out of the limelight. Alex has moved back in with his grandparents to help them take care of Sarah after the injury she received rescuing Verity in the previous book so we get to see a whole other side to her from his point of view. Technically Alex works at Columbus Zoo as a researcher who is in charge of the reptile house but he's really there trying to start a basilisk breeding program and monitoring the local incryptid populations.

Things start to get complicated when his colleagues at the zoo start dying and when Alex realises the bodies are being partially turned to stone he knows he is the only one qualified to track down the murderer. Alex is trying to balance hunting a killer and all his other cryptozoologist duties with spending time with his girlfriend Shelby, a colleague at the zoo who is a big cat trainer. Shelby is getting more and more suspicious about the weird goings on and Alex is having trouble keeping everything hidden from her.

I really enjoyed the change of pace this novel offers us, the more rural setting allows us to see a lot of the incryptids in their natural habitat and Seanan McGuire excels at adding interesting creatures to her world. Alex's pet Crow was a particular favourite of mine, he's a church griffin which is basically a cross between a raven and a main coon cat and he's utterly adorable, but you'll also meet a variety of snake like creatures from basilisks to gorgons and some cute sounding feathered frogs known as frickens.

Half-Off Ragnarok was a fun instalment to the series and I'm looking forward to reading more of Alex's story.
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
June 24, 2014
I really expected to love this one, and am a bit baffled as well as disappointed that I didn't. Part - or, really, a lot - of it was down to Shelby, Alex's sort-of, maybe-he's-blown-it, can-he-have-a-girlfriend? girlfriend. I got to the point where her repeated "I had venomous snakes as teething toys in Australia was just super-irritating, and it didn't say much for the relationship that she kept telling Alex about it. I also found it incredibly convenient that she just happened to be who she was, in such an unlikely and out-of-the-way spot, where Alex also just happened to be. Incredibly convenient. Finally, there was something off about the way Alex kept thinking of her as "my girlfriend". As in, "I have to go rescue my girlfriend", and "there's no other way I can save my girlfriend" and on and on... Maybe it was supposed to indicate how poor Alex felt about the actual possibility of having a real relationship, but still, when the situation is a big old disaster, wouldn't you just think of her as Alex.

I did love seeing Sarah in her recuperative stage, as the cuckoos as "family" is such a great concept and so well handled here. Best thing in the whole book, and it was a really good best thing. Pity the rest didn't come near to matching it for me.
Profile Image for Negine.
62 reviews48 followers
March 15, 2014
Behold the next InCryptid cover! In which we meet and follow in the adventures of Alex Price and his group of Aeslin mice, Hail! :)
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,839 reviews389 followers
March 8, 2022
Turn to stone. . .
Gorgons, basilisks, and cockatrices, oh my!

Alex is doing field work in Ohio and staying with grandma, grandpa, and cousin Sarah. Sarah’s recovering from a family issue.

“The moon doesn’t approve of the screaming in the cornfield,” she said. She sounded entirely reasonable, as long as I ignored the fact that she was talking like a book of Mad Libs. “Have you seen the Queen of Hearts today? Does she have the treacle tarts?”


Alex is a kind grandson and cousin.
My dreams were full of algebraic equations and the sewers of New York, where alligator men danced with ladies made entirely of numbers, and carnival music played on an unseen hurdy-gurdy.


He is also a dedicated field cryptozoologist. This episode involves swamp muck which is probably better than sewer muck, but still mucky. Also, eyeball issues, eyeball petrification and just icky eyeball things.

Another fast paced read. Action-oriented with a side of romance.
Profile Image for Christina.
173 reviews33 followers
January 31, 2021
I had a lot of fun with this book. I love the world Seanan McGuire has built in the InCryptid books. While most of her books usually have some sort of sense of humor, I find these to be more laugh out loud than most of her other books, especially with how she describes some of the cryptids and their personalities. I also love the fact that this series changes the main character from time to time. They all come from the same family, but I feel like with a series that has so many books, this helps keep the perspective fresh. Plus, it is just fun to think about other types of creatures that may be inhabiting the world right under our noses and we are just clueless.
Profile Image for Beth.
857 reviews94 followers
March 11, 2016
This third book in the InCryptid series has a new point of view character, Verity's brother Alex. He's in Columbus, Ohio, staying with his grandparents (and Sarah, who is recovering from events in the previous book) and fronting as a reptile researcher at the West Columbus Zoo, his primary goal being to research basilisk breeding levels in the area. He's got an indefinite relationship going with Dr. Shelby Tanner, a researcher from Australia who is working with the zoo's big cats.

Of course, this peaceful, science-minded existence can't last long, and Alex is caught up in a mystery where a number of people have been petrified to death by a cockatrice. Cockatrices aren't sentient, so when all of these petrification incidents occur close to Alex, he can't help but conclude that the cockatrice is a weapon pointed in his direction, or Shelby's.

I disliked Alex when I first started reading this book shortly after it came out. All of McGuire's protagonists that I've read are in a similar mold: loyal to friends and family, but also brusque, dismissive and overbearing toward them in times of stress. A woman, like Verity, acting that way has a very different feel than a man, like Alex. Especially when said man is riding roughshod over his lover, who has every claim to competence that he has. I got fed up and stopped reading. Anyhow, two years later, absence may not have made the heart grow fonder of ol' bossy Alex, but it did make it more tolerant.

Alex has the same ludicrous array of weaponry tucked into his clothes as Verity had, but instead of dancing and parkour, he has science as his life interest. That interest serves him well as he performs an investigative autopsy or two and tries to figure out who the cockatrice's handler is. Along the way, we learn about various creatures and humanoids that can petrify you, and meet some other cryptids, both sentient and not. The mystery's pretty basic--there are very few potential culprits, here--and at the end has a twist to it. And it also opens up the same question:

Although I haven't read all that many urban fantasies, I've come to prefer ones like this that are highly imaginative and don't take themselves too seriously. An adorable cryptid sidekick or two doesn't hurt, either.

I'm looking forward to the next book, which takes Alex and Shelby to Australia.
Profile Image for Roslyn.
335 reviews16 followers
August 28, 2014
When I started writing down my thoughts about this novel, it reminded me again of the problems I have with star ratings. I'm aware that I'm somewhat inconsistent in the way I rate books. Sometimes they reflect my objective assessment of a book while at other times, it's more a reflection of my subjective reading experience. I've given books I really enjoyed and thought objectively brilliant only 4 stars in the past and I have no idea why, really. This one should perhaps be 3 stars because of a couple of irritations that came up for me, but I really did enjoy reading very much it just the same.

I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the previous two in the series, though. This was partly due to Shelby, the Australian girlfriend of Alex Price. Some of the things she kept saying about herself as an Aussie didn't ring true to me (being an Aussie myself), although I do think that most of the time McGuire got the Aussie rhythm of speech pretty right. But there was something a little 'try hard' about her portrayal, and about the portrayal of her relationship with Alex as well.

I very much enjoyed the gorgon lore in the novel. It did occur to me to wonder why gorgons would choose names for themselves like 'Dee', 'Frank', 'Lloyd' etc, however. Certainly, they're more or less new immigrants to America, and immigrants often choose names that fit in with the surrounding culture, but at the same time gorgons are portrayed as emphatically non-human and it seemed odd that they'd be so American in many ways, even in their hidden, almost entirely secret, community deep in the countryside.

I'm going to give this 3 and a half stars, rounding if off to 4, but I don't feel entirely happy with it. It would help if we had an extra star to use, but it still wouldn't resolve the issues surrounding ratings. Ideally, they shouldn't be rated this way at all, but in an ideal world we'd all have plenty of time to write the kind of in-depth, nuanced reviews which would make ratings redundant. But I certainly don't, and so this rating, like so many others I've given, is an unsatisfactory compromise.
Profile Image for Wendi Lee.
Author 1 book467 followers
February 6, 2018
Half-Off Ragnarok is the third book in the InCryptid series. The first two books follow Verity Price as she protects Manhattan from the Convenant. This one features her older brother, Alex, who works at the Columbus Zoo while carrying on with his own cryptid research. At first I was resistant to the idea of new characters in a new location, but I immediately warmed up to Alex, his unique grandparents, and his love interest, Shelby. Oh, and cousin Sarah is here too, a recurring character from the first two books.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,228 reviews195 followers
March 6, 2020
McGuire’s InCryptid series is fun and that’s all you need to know. 

In the third installment, we get a new protagonist, cryptozoologist Alexander Price. He’s passionate about studying Ohio’s swamp wildlife. His work was supposed to be easy - finding and describing feathered frogs called “frickens”. Easy doesn’t happen to Prices, though.  

After petrification-based murders happen in the area (a stray basilisk? a rogue gorgon? a cockatrice?) he tries to solve the case, stay alive, and, if times permits, sort things out between him and his Australian girlfriend. 

As previous installments, Half-Off Ragnarok is an entertaining page-turner filled with likable characters that lack depth but have plenty of charm. It’s fun, addictive, and bingeable.
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