Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire @seananmcguire ‏@dawbooks @penguinrandom @SnyderBridge4

Posted March 4, 2024 by Robin in Book Review / 5 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire @seananmcguire ‏@dawbooks @penguinrandom @SnyderBridge4Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire
Series: Incryptid #13
Published by DAW Books on March 5, 2024
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Mary Dunlavy didn't intend to become a professional babysitter. Of course, she didn't intend to die, either, or to become a crossroads ghost. As a babysitting ghost, she's been caring for the Price family for four generations, and she's planning to keep doing the job for the better part of forever.

With her first charge finally back from her decades-long cross-dimensional field trip, with a long-lost husband and adopted daughter in tow, it's time for Mary to oversee the world's most chaotic family reunion. And that's before the Covenant of St. George launches a full scale strike against the cryptids of Manhattan, followed quickly by an attack on the Campbell Family Carnival.

Aftermarket Afterlife is the thirteenth book in the Incryptid series and I’d like to say it was lucky number thirteen but I struggled to finish it.  I will say I have read so many of Seanan McGuire’s books and short stories (somewhere in the realm of 60ish stories) and usually they are a great read for me.  They are normally full of cool creatures and concepts and imagination that I wrap myself up in them and don’t come out until I’m to the other side.  But Aftermarket Afterlife is a lot darker and gloomier than most of the books of this series and as such I felt weighed down and depressed most of the story and started looking for reasons not to get back to reading.  I just wasn’t in a good place in my life to enjoy the type of story this turned out to be.  I seem to be very alone in my assessment of this story, almost every other review sings this books praises, so take this all with a grain of salt – it could just be me.  This cannot be read as a stand-alone, the entire series should be read in order.

Mary Dunlavy has haunted the Price family for generations as a babysitter or caretaker ghost.  She died on a crossroads and she made a deal.   Mary would broker deals for the crossroads IF she could still be there for any of her family when they needed her and her family would always come first.  It had originally just been her father that she meant to be there for but when they placed little toddler Alice in her arms, something happened and she became attached to the Price/Healy families as a babysitter ghost.

Now the crossroads are gone and Mary only has her duties as babysitter to the Price/Healy families.  When they call she hears and she can pop into where ever her charge is.  It doesn’t matter it they are grown up now, they will always be her kids.  She is just preparing to help them through a reunion that seems to have a lot of charged emotional baggage associated to it with Alice and her long, lost in another dimension, husband Thomas when everything changes and the Covenant of St. George brings the attack fully to the Americas to flush out the cryptozoologist family that has helped hide or protect the “monsters” living here.

Mary will be instrumental in helping the family as distance really doesn’t matter to a ghost.  If one of the family calls her she can be there.  Sarah too will play a big role since spacetime are currently just playthings to her and she is one of the only members of the family who will be able to travel to where ever she is needed to assist.  We will get to see almost every main member of the family who has had a place in the series as they fight off the Covenant and figure out a way to make the cost too high to focus on them.

My issues with this book is it was far more depressing than others I’ve read from Seanan McGuire.  Maybe after the ‘events’ the racked the Price/Healy families when The Covenant attacked various friends and family members I was supposed to feel rage and just want revenge.  But, there are causalities in this book that hit so close to home and some brutal fallout, that the story got lost in the grief I was feeling.  There was so much fallout and grief that it was so hard to climb out of to even start to focus on the story and continue.  I guess in one way it is great the McGuire made me feel so much for these characters and the mice after twelve other books and numerous short stories, but also bad that I couldn’t let any of that feeling go throughout the rest of the story.  After feeling like the last book was a kind of happy ending in this one we see how not all of our characters are doing okay and then we lose some of them making it even worse.

Let me state that I have loved almost every book in this series.  The writing for Aftermarket Afterlife could have been edited a little better as Mary talks about her bond to her charges and how they will always be her kids so many times.  I get it, she is tied to all of the family and sees the family tree branches in her mind.  She discussed how some of the family is blood, some marries in and some is adopted in.  Mary goes through so many times why Sarah who is adopted in shows up to her as family.  Same with other members, it was really repetitive and could have been streamlined a bit better.

Mary is the a lynchpin to the family.  She tried to protect them from the crossroads, themselves and the covenant of St. George.  Now she will help to join the fight to make coming for her family cost too much to the Covenant and get revenge for what they have done.

Overall I have loved this series and this is one book that just didn’t work for me.  I still highly recommend the entire series though as it is completely interesting, unique and full of wonderful moments.

About Seanan McGuire

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 (, 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).

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Posted March 4, 2024 by Robin in Book Review / 5 Comments

5 responses to “Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire

  1. 13 books is incredible and the fact that you’ve kept up! I love that. It’s a little disappointing that it didn’t quite live up to the rest of the series but I also understand your perspective. Tone changes can be very difficult when reading a series. I hope if there are books that they’ll be better than this installment.

    Enn @ Her Weathered Pages recently posted: Bride by Ali Hazelwood
    • I think Authors sometimes have to think about series exit. Sure you can go on forever but should you.

      I really have liked a lot of series that had a clear end to one arc and if they pick back up again it might be years later and it feels like we are starting a new story.

  2. Anne

    I haven’t really enjoyed the last few books by McGuire. While it’s nice to focus on the supporting characters, it’s probably better done in a short story. This book didn’t do much for me except reminded me of how many characters I’d lost track of/didn’t remember.