There are many advantages for writers when offering free samples of their fiction on a website: the most obvious one is that a potential reader can get a clear idea about style, genre and writing quality from those short glimpses into an author’s craft – and of course that same reader can discover new books or a new genre he/she never approached before. On top of that, the writer can expand on an already-established world, shedding more light on situations, or characters, that did not get enough exposure in previous books.
What Seanan McGuire does, besides all that, is open a door for new characters that might find their way into existing series, or start new ones: this is exactly what happens in this short story, set into the Incryptid universe and introducing Rose Marshall, the protagonist of her upcoming book Sparrow Hill Road.
Verity Price, the heroine of the first two Incryptid books, is on a long, roundabout journey toward her family’s home where she’s taking her fiancé Dominic to meet her parents. Since Dominic used to be a Covenant operative – which means he hunted the cryptids that Verity’s family tries to protect – she wants to make matters easier by having Dominic meet other relatives first. And who better than her aunt Rose, ghostly hitchhiker?
Threaded by the tongue-in-cheek humor that is this series’ trademark, The Ghosts of Bourbon Street takes us to New Orleans on Mardi Gras, on a journey through a city that’s only visible to those who walk with ghosts, a parallel world with its own rules, laws and – of course – dangers. Rose immediately appealed to me: tough, street-smart, sharp-tongued, she’s a perfect addition to McGuire’s parade of strong female characters, one I look forward to knowing better when her book will be available.
As for Verity and Dominic, it was fun to meet them again – I confess I missed them both in Book 3, where Verity’s brother took center stage – and the quick cameo from the Aeslin mice was a very welcome surprise. The interplay between matter-of-fact Verity and straightjacket-stiff Dominic made for a few humorous moments, as did the renewed impression that the poor man will need all his inner strength to keep his sanity with the Price family. Hopefully McGuire will show us more along the way.
Also… more mice, Ms. McGuire? Prettyplease?
My Rating: 7,5/10