In a nice break from the current situation, I finished Seanan McGuire's Imaginary Numbers, book 9 in her InCryptid series. Here, we're following our favorite Jhorlac, Sarah, who is mostly recovered from wiping the memories of most of New York City 5 years ago. For the most part. We also spend some time with Cousin Artie, the half-Lilu incubus, who's relationship with Sarah borders on soap opera.
So, we start with Sarah traveling from Cleveland to Portland and the family compound. When she lands in Portland, she runs into another Cuckoo, whom she promptly beats the crap out of. That order of business taken care of, Sarah reunites with Antimony and her gang at Roller Derby. She and Artie drive back to the compound, having an accident along the way caused by the Cuckoo from the airport.
Long story short, Sarah gets lured out of the compound by the hive of Cuckoos in Portland, who are trying to make her evolve into a Queen. Sort of. (Jhorlacs are sort of humanoid wasps from another dimension, so there are a few insect metaphors in here that get more complex as the plot begins to resolve. For the sake of keeping this simple, run with this.)
Anyway, this all happens after Sarah and Artie finally admit to their feelings and kiss. Which is when Artie becomes the focus of the narration for a while, as he and the family deal with the fake Sarah in the living room and the great Cuckoo rite they're trying to get Sarah to run.
Eventually, Artie and Sarah start trading chapters as somehow everyone ends up in Iowa and Sarah starts the metamorphosis into her fourth and final instar. We end on kind of a cliffhanger, although based on several mentions of the Aeslin mice in both the main novel and the Follow the Lady novella tucked in at the end, one expects that they might be able to resolve some of the conflict unanswered at the end.
Said novella takes place between the last book and this one, as Antimony, Sam, James, Fern, and Cylia break down near the Healy family hometown in Michigan and meet Grandma Alice. While the main novel is very good, the novella has the gut punch for me, as Antimony finally discusses how she feels like the expendable spare in the family.
Once again, a great entry in one of my favorite series.