Monday, January 31, 2022

Spelunking Through Hell: A Visitor's Guide to the Underworld by Seanan McGuire

This is the book I have been waiting for and it did not disappoint!!!!

I am a HUGe fan of Seanan McGuire’s books - she is one of my favorite authors, hands down, and for good reason -she consistently writes numerous excellent, honest, and fun books every year.  I was thrilled when DAW and NetGalley gave me an eARC of her newest Incryptid novel, Spelunking Through Hell, which is the 11th novel in the series.  This is it! This is Alice’s book! We finally get to travel with her as she roams the multiverse looking for Thomas, her missing husband!

(To recap, the Incryptid series involves a family of cryptozoologists that work to protect the natural diversity of the hidden world. Every few books, the point of view narrator shifts to another member of the same family, which has the added benefit of keeping the series fresh and invigorated.)

In order to get ready for it, I binge read all of the Alice and Thomas short stories on Seanan McGuire’s Patreon page. Are they necessary to enjoy this book? No. Do they make this a much richer and more rewarding novel? Yes, immensely!!

The beginning of the book felt a bit slow to me - which is odd, because it spends a lot of time on action as Alice dimension hops and gets into some big action set pieces, but I can’t really explain it. All of this in the beginning was necessary to set up what follows, so it’s not that big of a deal. 

Should I spoil the best parts of the book for you? No? Well, suffice it to say that if you care about these characters and this series then you will love this book. It was satisfying in all of the right ways. 

One tiny quibble - at one point Alice makes some Star Trek references, but according to the timeline, she left on her dimension hopping journey in the early 1960s before Star Trek premiered. I’m sure she could have caught an episode here or there when she was visiting earth in the past 50 years, but I don’t recall her ever being a big pop culture or sci-fi fan in her earlier appearances. 

My only real complaint is I have to wait a whole other year to find out what happens next!!! This book is a must buy. Thanks to DAW and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.