Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire book review

Seanan McGuire’s Discount Armageddon is an entertaining, monster-packed ride

Picture the scene: it’s the middle of the night and a blonde cheerleader is about to head down a dark alley. Whose safety are you more afraid for – hers, or the supernatural creature lurking in the shadows?

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer so completely flipped the script on monster stories that it’s just not surprising any more when perky blondes turn out to be experienced fighters. Which is exactly what Discount Armageddon’s Verity Price is.

Part-time cocktail waitress, sometime reality TV star, and full-time cryptozoologist, Verity spends her time maintaining the paranormal ecosystem by monitoring ‘cryptids’ – and killing any that pose a danger to humans. So when something starts killing off young girls, it’s down to her to find out what’s going on. But that’s not going to be easy, especially when there’s a shadowy cryptid-killing society breathing down her neck…

It might take you a few chapters to get past the self-consciousness of McGuire’s prose, but if you get through it, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Though the story runs along familiar lines, the world-building is gleefully imaginative, throwing in every single supernatural creature you’ve ever heard of (plus half a dozen more, for good measure).

Not all of them are as interesting or charming as they’re intended to be, but the sheer variety of monsters on show makes up for that. And while Verity’s relentless snarkiness gets a little wearing at times, her self-confidence and lack of sexual hang-ups make her a refreshing change from the angsty teens the powers-that-be usually choose to fight evil.

It’s a pretty lightweight read, but if you’re still mourning the end of Buffy, this might help fill that gap.