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InCryptid is an Urban Fantasy series by Seanan McGuire, author of the October Daye series. She also writes the Newsflesh and Parasitology series as Mira Grant.

The creatures known as cryptids are real, and have shared the earth with mankind since time immemorial. For centuries, a religious order known as The Covenant of St. George has been defending and protecting unknowing humanity by slaying cryptids wherever they encounter them. But a schism occurred in the ranks, and one Covenant agent and his wife left the order, never to return. They and their descendants, now hunted by the Covenant, dedicated their lives to studying cryptids, learning their ecological purpose, and only harming them when no other method of dealing with their presence would work.

The Healy and Price families operate with the knowledge that the Covenant considers them traitors and wants them dead. The worldwide cryptid community is aware that the families are no longer Covenant — but they are not uniformly convinced that it isn't a trick. Consequently, the family must train to survive both the cryptids who don't trust them, and the Covenant who still think of them as filthy traitors.

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The youngest generation of the Price family consists of Alex, zookeeper; Verity, who wanted to forego the family business and be a ballroom dancer; Antimony, still studying; Arthur, reclusive part-incubus geek boy and researcher; Sarah, babysitting Verity; and Elsie, who isn't really a cryptozoologist but is still held to the family code of conduct. Their parents, aunts, uncles, and assorted cousins, both biological and adopted, human and not, operate as support and information network.

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The series so far (in chronological order for the storyline) consists of:

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    Jonathan and Frances 
  • Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown, 1928-1945: (all short stories, mostly readable on the author's webpage and in published anthologies )
    • "The Flower of Arizona"
    • "One Hell of A Ride"
    • "No Place Like Home"
    • "Stingers and Strangers", May 2014 appearing in the anthology Dead Man's Hand
    • "Married in Green"
    • "Sweet Poison Wine"
    • "The First Fall"
    • "Loch and Key"
    • "We Both Go Down Together"
    • "Oh Pretty Bird"
    • "Bury Me in Satin"
    • "Snakes and Ladders"
    • "Broken Paper Hearts"
    • "The Star of New Mexico"
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     Alice and Thomas 
  • Alice Healy and Thomas Price, c. 1954-
    • "The Way Home"
    • "The Lay of the Land"
    • "Target Practice"

     The Price Family 
  • The Price Family, 2012 to present:
    • Novel: Discount Armageddon: Verity must prove to the family she can survive on her own before giving up cryptozoology for ballroom dancing professionally.
    • Novel: Midnight Blue-Light Special: Verity faces the Covenant.
    • Short Story: "Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea", starring a Cryptid teen & the family attempting to help. (appearing in the anthology book Carniepunk)
    • Short Story: "Blocked", starring Antimony, on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Bad Dream Girl", starring Antimony (appearing in the anthology book Glitter and Mayhem)
    • Short Story: "IM", starring Arthur and Sarah, after the events of Midnight Blue-Light Special
    • Novel: Half-Off Ragnarok: Alex pretends to be a reptile expert in Columbus, Ohio, stumbling onto a bigger issue.
    • Short Story: "Jammed", starring Antimony (appearing in the anthology book Games Creatures Play)
    • Short Story: "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Snake in the Glass", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Swamp Bromeliad", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Wake Up in Vegas", on the author's webpage for InCryptid short stories.
    • Short Story: "Survival Horror," starring Antimony and Artie (appearing in the anthology book Press Start to Play)
    • Novel: Pocket Apocalypse: Alex goes to Australia.
    • Novel: Chaos Choreography: Released on March 1, 2016, Verity and Alice Healy-Price. All spoilers from Chaos Choreography are marked.
    • Short Story: Sleepover November 2016. Elsie Harrington. (Appearing in the anthology book Shadowed souls)
    • Novel: Magic For Nothing: March 2017. Antimony gets a really important mission from the family.
    • Novella: "The Recitation of the Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork": immediate sequelette to Magic for Nothing starring the Aeslin Mice named in the title, plus Sam, Aunt Mary, Emery and some members of the Spenser Carnival. Published originally on the author's Patreon, now available in the back of Tricks For Free.
    • Novel: Tricks for Free: March 2018. Antimony Price vs. a cut rate version of your favorite amusement park.
    • Novel: That Ain't Witchcraft: March 2019. Antimony Price and friends take on an eldritch horror.
    • Novella: The Measure of a Monster: now available in the back of That Ain't Witchcraft. Takes place soon after Alex and Shelby have returned from Australia (and the events of Pocket Apocalypse.) A tangential comment by Mary in That Ain't Witchcraft probably relates to this novella. Also, Sarah has recovered sufficiently from the events of Midnight Blue-Light Special to play an especially significant role.
    • Novella: Follow the Lady: available in the back of Imaginary Numbers. Antimony and her friends pass through Buckley, Michigan, the place where Thomas disappeared.
    • Novel: Imaginary Numbers: released February 25, 2020. Sarah Zellaby, a johrlac/"cuckoo" and adoptive cousin of the Prices, is heading home to Oregon after healing from the events of Midnight Blue-Light Special. Unfortunately, other cuckoos have sinister plans for her.
    • Novel: Calculated Risks: February 2021. Focuses on Sarah and her allies immediately after the events at the end of Imaginary Numbers. Includes the novella Singing the Comic-Con Blues.

     The Cryptids 
  • The Cryptids, Present Day: Short stories, so far:
    • "Red as Snow", starring Istas and Ryan (appears in the anthology Fiction River: Hex and the City)
    • "Black as Blood", starring Istas and Ryan, on the author's webpage for In Cryptid short stories.
    • "White as a Raven's Wing", starring Istas and Ryan, on the author's webpage for In Cryptid short stories.
    • "Balance" starring Eliza , a johrlac/"cuckoo" (appears in the anthology Urban Enemies).

Provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Truth in Television. In modern day New York City; a lot of the sewers are really big, and some of the big tunnels are outdated subway tunnels.
    • The bogeyman population has constructed what look like sewers and drainage tunnels, but are clean and not filthy to facilitate their nocturnal, agoraphobic, and subterranean lifestyle.
  • Accidental Engagement: Alex jokingly asks Shelby to marry him halfway through book three. She says yes... in the fourth book, which takes place a year later. By the end of the book, he's perfectly willing to go along with it.
  • Adoring the Pests: The whole Price family loves cryptids and tries to protect them against people who would harm them, but Grandma Alice takes it even further by letting tailypo (imagine a smarter raccoon with a really long tail) live in and around her house in Buckley. The whole family also lives with the Aeslin mice, though they can talk and follow orders from their "gods" (the family), so they're hardly "pests".
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: One of the cultist guys ruffles Verity's hair affectionately while monologuing about how helpless she is.
  • After Action Patch Up: Commonplace in all the novels and some of the short stories. Cryptozoology is not a safe science.
  • Alien Autopsy: When a dead Johrlac falls into the family's hands, they dissect her For Science!, since she would have killed them, and they may never get another chance to examine the insides of one.
  • Alien Sky: At the end of Imaginary Numbers, Sarah looks out the window and sees a bright orange sky, with a giant centipede undulating through it.
  • All There in the Manual: There's a guide to cryptids known to the families on the author's webpage.
  • All Myths Are True: Played straight, played with and subverted on several occasions.
    • Naga are not actually snake gods who can bestow power on people who sacrifice humans to them.
    • Although she's a succubus, Elsie is a lesbian.
    • The Seal of Solomon binds demons and certain dead things but succubi and incubi are not actually demons. The D&D manuals get it wrong, possibly due to cryptids in their editing and publishing departments.
  • Always a Child to Parent: In "That Ain't Witchcraft", James's father mixes this with a fair amount of resentment, so doesn't bat an eye when his adult son is having cookies and milk over textbooks with a girl his own age, like they were 11 year olds.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Cuckoos. It is possible to build a Cuckoo who isn't, but it takes stripping all of the prenatal psychic imprinting out of them and starting more or less from scratch (as Angela did to Sarah at a young age). The only known Cuckoo who wasn't programmed from before birth to be this was Angela Baker, who can only project telepathically, not receive. Word of God says that this is because the Johrlac's original home dimension dumped their sociopaths in a dimension next to this dimension, and, well, see "prenatal psychic programming".note 
    • They're not technically, but cryptids have to treat the Covenant of St. George this way if they want to survive. The Covenant firmly believes that anything sapient that's not human is a demon, and therefore ACE, even though they're (with the exception of the Cuckoos) not. The Cuckoos are so dangerous that Alexander Healy broke his radio silence with the Covenant to warn them that Cuckoos existed.
  • AM/FM Characterization: An appendix to each book lists a number of songs inspiring the adventures of its lead character. Verity during a major fight scene in Discount Armageddon brings her own soundtrack to a fight with Dragon blood-infused lizard-men.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: In Calculated Risks, after Sarah accidentally deletes Antimony, Artie, James, and Mark's memories of her, Antimony and Artie, her cousins, struggle to reconcile their childhood memories that now make no sense without her.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude:
    • Crow, the church griffin, is smarter than the average bird-cat mashup, and griffins in general are smarter than the creatures that are parts of them.
    • Wadjet males look exactly like cobras, but are as intelligent as humans. Give them an iPad et voila: on the internet no one knows you're a cobra with human intelligence.
  • Another Dimension: Several.
    • There's the Hell dimension through which Jonathan and Fran's train passes briefly.
    • There's the Netherworld, the Christian Hell, the dimension where a friendly Naga operates as a professor, and some as-yet-unnamed alternate dimension in which Verity's grandfather is lost.
    • Imaginary Numbers introduces us to Johrlar, the ancestral dimension of the cuckoos.
    • The dimension Sarah, Annie, Artie, James, and Mark are transported to at the end of Imaginary Numbers, which has Big Creepy-Crawlies and 3 suns.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The Johrlac, especially Ingrid, want to use Sarah to tear a hole in this dimension, sending the Johrlac to a new one and destroying Earth in the process.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Cryptids secrete and bleed it. Some cause it.
    • Dragon blood is mutative and transforms humans that it comes into contact with into the reptile like "Servitors".
    • Johrlac blood
    • Tooth fairy dust
    • Unicorn water.
    • Wagyl venom.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Some cryptid species arrange marriages for their children, particularly the endangered ones. This is to ensure that their species is able to survive and continue.
    • The Covenant arranges marriages as part of a breeding program; Dominic is the result of such a marriage.
  • Ascended Meme: Antimony complains that the Covenant, being the dark side, should have offered her cookies.
  • Author Appeal: Both of the Price girls' signature athletic activities (Ballroom Dance for Verity and Roller Derby and Acrobatics/Trapeze for Antimony) are described in lavish detail by their author. By contrast, Alex's SCA is left largely in the background...
    • However, his job as a herpetologist does get significant focus, since it was Seanan's job before she became a novelist. She also shows her work in Calculated Risks with characters speculating on how the physiology of the Big Creepy-Crawlies works with current biological knowledge.
    • Several characters discuss LARP in Calculated Risks, so Seanan may changed her mind...
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Dominic and Verity in the tunnels beneath New York.
  • Badass Family:
    • The Healys and Prices, all of whom are familiar with guns, bombs, poisons, explosives, etc, and who each specialize in one particular form of mayhem.
    • The De Lucas were this until they died off. Dominic, the last of their line, marries into the Price family and takes their name, finishing the extinction of the De Luca family.
      • There are two major warrior oaths in the Covenant - "the secret and the sword" (warriors, like the Bullard, Brand, De Luca and Healy families) and "the pen and the page" (scholar-warriors, like the Price family).
    • The Tanner family, whom Alex meets in Australia, are also familiar with guns and weapons, and hunt cryptids their way.
  • Bad Powers, Good People:
    • Sarah Zellaby and Angela Baker are polite, kind, well-adjusted people who belong to a species of sociopathic mind controllers. Gorgons can turn you to stone and have venomous snakes for hair but are gregarious neighbors with a strong sense of place and family. Most ghouls - the only obligate carnivore in order Primates - keep themselves out of other people's hair as much as they can.
    • Elsie and Artie, son and daughter of incubus Ted Harrington, are succubus and incubus respectively. Elsie is extremely careful not to sweat or bleed around humans because they react to her pheromones and blood like an irresistible lust command. Artie, whose pheromones are stronger than those of his sister, leads an entirely reclusive life, refusing to leave the family home even in dire situations.
  • Basilisk and Cockatrice: Basilisks and cockatrices are closely related species of cryptids (real creatures unknown to science). Scientists who know of The Masquerade (intended to keep intelligent cryptid species safe) classify them as sibling species in the same genus, Procompsognathus. The primary difference between the two is that basilisks are feathered, while cockatrices are largely featherless. Both are about the size of chickens, and both have petrification powers that science has not yet been able to explain.
  • Battle Couple:
    • Verity and Dominic
    • Alex and Shelby.
    • Not technically a couple but Antimony and Fern, her closest friend in the Scream Queens roller derby league, fill the same niche in the roller derby environment.
  • Beat: It takes a minute for people to realize that the dragon is not only awake but just smushed a person like a bug.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mary explains that the crossroads can and do grant wishes, but they tend toward extreme Literal Genie and Jerkass Genie methods of doing so.
  • Becoming the Mask: When the Covenant sends "Timpani Brown" undercover to the Carnival, they become afraid that she has started to follow and genuinely like the carnival. Of course, she was never on the Covenant's side to begin with.
  • Benevolent Monsters: Most sapient cryptids (the more fearsome-looking include dragons, chupacabra, and gorgons) are no more good or evil than any given human, and the non-sapient ones are as incapable of being evil as any mundane animal. The real villains are the Covenant of St. George, who want to exterminate all non-human sapients and many of the non-sapients. The major exception is the Johrlac species, of which almost all known members are, if not Always Chaotic Evil, operating on such Blue-and-Orange Morality that it makes no difference. The few non-sociopathic Johrlac are definitely Benevolent Monsters, though they look physically indistinguishable from humans.
  • Beware the Mind Reader: Cuckoos (or Johrlac) are telepathic, allowing them to read the minds of others. They're also monsters who prey on humans. They use their mental abilities to ingrain themselves into the lives of their prey, by making the prey believe that the Johrlac were always there. They then create chaos for those hapless victims often leading to death.
  • Big Applesauce: Verity is in New York studying humanoid cryptids. But other than Central Park, the locations are all sort of vague.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: In the alien dimension Sarah, Annie, Artie, James, and Mark end up in, there are train-sized centipedes and millipedes that fly through the sky, and a giant Slaying Mantis shows up after dark. Antimony and Sarah speculate on how they manage to avoid the Square-Cube Law, theorizing that they have lungs instead of tracheae, like Earth insects do.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Some allies turn up Just in Time to save Verity in Midnight Blue-Light Special.
    • It happens again in Pocket Apocalypse with Alex and Shelby getting rescued.
    • With Verity on the other end of the coin in "Swamp Bromeliad" and Chaos Choreography.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: In the first two books, Verity is renting an apartment from a sasquatch who's on vacation.note  She mentions that Bigfoot and Sasquatch are two closely related species, and enjoy pranking each other. The advent of depilatory products, mail-order shoe catalogs, and the internet have made life much easier for them in some ways, as without the hair they just look like very large humans, and those who choose not to shave can sometimes make even more money telecommuting.
    • The Yowie is a sort of Australian Sasquatch, though their hair and skin is green, making them less likely to live among humans.
  • Binomium ridiculus: Largely averted in the field guide for the series on the author's website (Seanan McGuire studied herpetology in college), but lampshaded with the cactus cat:
    It must first be noted that whomever thought of using "Cataceae" as the genus for the cactus cat deserves to be glared at. "Cactaceae" is the genus name for the common (vegetable) cactus. Puns do not belong in species taxonomy.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Magic for Nothing. The Spenser carnival is safe for the moment. But Antimony's cover has been blown to the Covenant. She can't use any of Artie's false documentation because she's in hiding to protect the family from the Covenant. She and Sam were falling in love but had to separate because staying with him and thereby the carnival, would endanger everyone. So she's now walking alone on the road with a new identity and no one but Aunt Mary from the family she can see or talk to.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Many cryptids, even the ones who look mostly human. Special mention goes to the Cuckoos, who are technically mammals but also technically wasps.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Dragons and wadjets and ukupani have a really extreme case of this, with one gender looking essentially like humans and the other gender looking like... not humans. Ukupani males can shapeshift into a Shark Man or fully shark form, though.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: The Price family, human or not, could give Shaggy and Scooby a run for their money.
    • All the Johrlac/Cuckoos in the family have an odd tomato fixation gustatorily speaking.
      • Sarah likes Ketchup and tonic water, among other odd combinations.
      • Her mother Angela likes Spaghetti sauce with ginger.
    • Antimony is a fully human family member who likes Captain Crunch on cold pizza.
    • It's questionable whether this is exactly to Verity's taste, but she's perfectly capable of stomaching a fajita made from leftover Chinese takeout. However, the leftover pizza omelets are entirely on her.
  • Black Box: The Aeslin Mice serve as these to the Price family. At least one must go with any family member at all times to serve as an indication of what befell them if they do not return home.
  • Blank White Eyes: A Johrlac species trait. Sarah and her mother both get them when employing their telepathy.
  • Blatant Lies: What cryptozoologists tell others when they're uncertain who they're dealing with.
    "You wouldn't have run across a teal and purple flower with large petals, would you?"
    "About yea big? No, such a thing would be unnatural, and there's nothing unnatural in these woods."
  • Blind Without 'Em: Alex's eyesight is bad enough that the world is a fuzzy unfocused blur when he's not wearing his glasses, and Cooper tells him that lycanthropy will fix that for him as a selling point.
  • Blood Magic: Jonathan covers every entryway on the house in lamb's blood to prevent the Easter Bunny gaining entry to the home.
  • Bridal Carry: No romance involved, just one therianthrope looking out for another.
  • Broken Masquerade:
    • Verity has to fight and kill a giant snake summoned by a co-competitor on "Dance Or Die" who didn't take being eliminated well - on live national television.
    • Elsie's ex Carlotta seemed to think she didn't need to be Secret Keeper anymore once they broke up. Carlotta broke Elsie's; she told her sister, who told her son, who then told three friends...
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: "Uncle Al" who owns a pawn shop in Vegas. He's an enormous former wrestler who can give all encompassing hugs from "backbreaking" to "loving". He's a big softy where Verity is concerned, though.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sarah and Artie regarding their mutual affection.
  • Canon Welding:
    • The second book references the routewitches from McGuire's Sparrow Hill Road stories.
    • Rose Marshall herself shows up in the short story "The Ghosts of Bourbon Street".
    • Aunt Mary, as mentioned by Verity and Alex, is Mary Dunlavy, as mentioned in Jonathan and Fran's storyline. She also had a small but pivotal role in Rose Marshall's backstory.
    • A routewitch is a major supporting character in Chaos Choreography, and comes with considerable explication of how their powers work.
    • Another routewitch, Rose and Mary all show up in Tricks For Free.
    • Rose's great grand niece as well as the Crossroads themselves are the central antagonists of the book that ain't Witchcraft.
  • Category Traitor: The Covenant considers the Price family traitors to the human race for not wanting to kill all cryptids. Leonard especially brings it up once he discovers Antimony's identity. Also invoked by a poacher in The Measure of a Monster (see Pre-Mortem One-Liner below for the quote).
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Sleestaks, as well as several other cryptids.
  • Chupacabra: Chupacabra are sapient therianthropes who transform into strange spiky-reptile-wolf creatures. They seem to be drawn to physical hobbies and expressions like dance and Roller Derby, though this may simply be the experience of the younger Price sisters talking.
  • The Clan: The Price-Healy family can be considered a clan, though there's technically no leader calling the shots.note  Not all the members are named Price; Jane Price married Theodore Harrington, but him and their children are still considered part of the Price family. Her brother Kevin married Angela Baker, and her nonhuman adoptive parents and adopted siblings are also considered part of the family, especially Sarah, who grew up with her own children. Verity Price's husband takes her last name when they get married, and her sister Antimony adopts her new friend James into the family after she sees how his father treats him.
  • Clark Kenting: Alex Price does this by working as a mundane herpetologist. Antimony declares the trope by name in Magic for Nothing to describe him doing so.
  • Cliffhanger: Imaginary Numbers ends with Sarah, Artie, Annie, James, and Mark in what seems to be Another Dimension with an Alien Sky, and Sarah's friends and family don't remember who she is. The story picks up immediately in Calculated Risks.
  • Closed Circle: James Smith has a Hereditary Curse that prevents him from leaving the tiny Maine town he was born in. Every time he's tried, he collapses and would die if he didn't get back within the town limits. In the past, Thomas Price, who made a deal with the Crossroads, the same entity responsible for James's curse, was eventually magically confined to his own house, unable to leave it.
  • Code Emergency: The Price family has several different ones depending on the reason.
  • Cold Open: Each of the novels begins with a short adventure that has little-to-nothing to do with the rest of the book, but sets the tone for the piece. The exception being Midnight Blue-Light Special, in which the doctor who contracted Verity to take care of the cause of her dead-baby problem reappears at the end to treat Verity's gunshot wound. Discount Armageddon actually has two such chapters, one set in the mid-1990s showing the beginning of Verity's passion for dance and the second, set in mid-2012, being more typical of the series' opening chapters.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: The very reputation of Verity and her family name comes with great responsibility to live up to protecting and serving non-hostile cryptids. As a result they're always having to prove over and over again that they mean cryptids no harm.
  • Corporate Dragon: The female members of the dragon species—known as dragon princesses—pursue wealth which they trade for gold. This gold is then used for their nests. To do this, they often act as vicious traders and executives who are extremely reluctant to part with any money that they get.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: In the carnival Annie is truly comfortable and at home among the carnies; so much so in fact that she forgets she's supposed to have only rudimentary knowledge of cryptids as Timpani. She slips and mentions her family in the present tense, and starts letting Antimony's knowledge leak out especially once she's taken a shine to Sam.
  • Crappy Carnival:
    • Subverted. The Carnival Fran came from that Juniper still calls home is actually a fairly nice one most of the time.
    • Subverted again with the Spenser carnival that Timpani/Antimony visits.
  • Creator In-Joke:
    • "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it", a reference to Superchicken from the George of the Jungle cartoon series and pretty much a Catchphrase for the Price family, also appears in Newsflesh.
    • "Hit until the candy comes out" also appears in Velveteen vs..
  • Creepy Twins: The Spenser carnival has a pair running the Haunted House. It's a subversion because they're most likely a bonded couple of Bogeymen rather than actual siblings.
  • Cult: Humans who think they'll get power by messing with/sacrificing cryptids.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Starting with the Gorgons, and going on to the female Bogeymen, the Wadjet...
    • A bogeyman girl child of around first grade age appears in Sleepover, all the cuter because she's doing the "wear Mommy's makeup" thing.
  • Dance Battler: Verity Price, especially when fighting on a dance floor (in books 1 and 5).
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: Played with. It's actually the eighteenth in the Price family. The family bundles them onto a plane for an unrevealed destination, and has local cryptids separate them from the tourists; they must then find their way home.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: Dominic does not close his eyes fast enough when Verity tells him to.
    • Alex discovers this is also true with moonlight if it's a big, bright, Australian full moon with no other light pollution nearby.
    • The bogeymen are nocturnal as a species and have elaborate tunnel systems to prevent them having to see daylight most of the time.
  • Dating Catwoman: Verity and Dominic; Verity's grandparents Alice and Thomas.
  • Dead All Along: In "Bury Me In Satin", the Healys learn that their daughter's babysitter had been killed in a hit-and-run accident... three years ago and that it was her ghost who'd been taking care of their daughter all this time.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In order to both marry him and protect him from the revenge of the Covenant (who currently believe him dead anyway), Verity paid a huge sum of money to her Uncle Al to create Dominic a new identity. Al started with the name of someone recently dead with the same initials with similar ethnic heritage.
  • Deal with the Devil: Played with. As a crossroads ghost, Aunt Mary has rules she can bend, and rules she can't. Asking her questions or for favors will involve The Crossroads, and will require payback or other compensation. Antimony has skirted the edge of these rules enough that Mary warns her the Crossroads know who she is and have taken notice. In Tricks For Free, she finally makes a deal in order to save her life and Sam's. Aunt Mary explains in exquisitely horrifying detail in "The Pilgrimage" why she is perfectly okay with it being her job to talk people out of making these.
  • Death of a Child: The short story "The First Fall" focuses on the death of the baby son of Frances and Johnathon. He was murdered by a bogeyman under orders from an old enemy of theirs.
  • Destroy the Security Camera: It's an actual broadcast television camera, rather than a security camera, but it serves the same purpose. Verity shoots it so the Covenant can't easily get a bead on her current location since she's on their list of traitors and currently in a spot full of the cryptids the Covenant hunts and kills. Trouble is it had been a live feed over the air to North America at least.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Verity, Dominic, and Sarah all have a rather pleasant conversation with the ancient dragon beneath Manhattan.
  • Dies Wide Open: The way Frances Healy was when found by Jonathan and Enid.
  • Disappeared Dad: See Missing Mom, below. There's also the fact that Verity's grandfather, Thomas Price, is missing, making him disappeared dad to her father and aunt.
  • Dominant Species Genes:
    • The finfolk are cross-fertile with humans. Children of finfolk mothers will always be finfolk, while children of human mothers may remain human, although they display the dementia in later years that is characteristic of the finfolk growth cycle.
    • Children with an incubus or succubus parent inherit the pheromones and narcotic blood.
    • This seems to apply to fūri as well, though we've only seen one, and he's never known any others.
  • Doomed Hometown: Played with. Timpani belonged to a family that was a traveling carnival. They were wiped out by Apraxis Wasps and she wants revenge on monsters to prevent any other family from suffering the loss she has. Of course, this is all part of her cover story, though it's believable enough that something like it has to have happened to someone.
  • Doorstop Baby: Little Fran was left outside the flap of the main tent of the circus she grows up to perform with. Calculated Risks reveals this was because she was half-Kairos, and the Johrlac were hunting down her and her parents.
  • Dramatic Drop: Fran drops her knives the first time she encounters an Aeslin mouse.
  • Dual Wielding: Fran can do this with guns and knives. It's likely other members of the family are also able to do the same with their weapons of choice.
  • Dumb Blonde: Verity objects to having her hair taken as indicating her intelligence.
  • Dying Race: The Prices have played a role in trying to save a few near-extinct cryptid races including dragons.
    • The Price family are actively protecting the Aeslin mice. Every now and then there is a schism in the ranks and mice leave the Prices to form their own colony somewhere — they as yet have never heard back from the splinter groups.
      • However there is a hidden colony living in the Covenant, going undetected as such because they don't wear religious raiment. They can be and are mistaken for ordinary mice. Unfortunately, this also means they are treated as such.
    • The tanuki are mentioned as one of the races nearly driven extinct by the Covenant.
    • In Calculated Risks, we learn about the Kairos, who the Johrlac drove all but extinct, since they were naturally immune to Johrlac telepathy.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Verity takes some actions early in the first book that seem odd given her later characterization, such as unwillingness to kill or relocate even extremely dangerous nonsentient cryptids (such as an ahool, basically a cross between a flying monkey, a bat, and a komodo dragon) when doing so would be beneficial for both the sapient cryptid community and the human community.note 
    • Antimony mentions tearing up her Social Security card for her Melody West identification in Blocked, but by Tricks For Free, she still happens to have Melody's ID in her go bag. note 
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: All Johrlac look like this, with Occult Blue Eyes.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Istas, the badass therianthrope waitress.
  • Elopement: On her way home from New York, Verity marries Dominic in Las Vegas to pre-empt any attempts by her parents to make her fiance "disappear".
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Verity's fridge is shared with the Aeslin mice, and the mice's shelves are better stocked.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Verity is freelance, hated by the Covenant. Dominic is Covenant. But they grudgingly decide to work together out of mutually agreeable goals and mutual attraction until they fall in love and Dominic defects.
    • Leo is the next leader of the Covenant, while Antimony fights against everything they stand for, and is on the run from them. They make a temporary truce to defeat the Crossroads.
  • Everyone Can See It: Arthur and Sarah.
  • Escape Artist: Part of the Healy and Price family training.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Averted. Jett the dog does not detect any of the mean werewolves although she is sensibly afraid of werewolves, she detects nothing amiss in any of the infected; one of whom is her master.
    • Played with: the Aeslin mice are capable of smelling a lycanthropy-w infection.
  • Evil Gloating:
    • The cultists, to Verity.
    • One member of the Covenant to Timpani, upon revealing that he knew all along she was a Price, and considered it a feather in his cap to bring her back to the family fold.
    • Inverted at the end of "Balance" (also justified, as the character in question has had his brain rearranged multiple times, not to mention being extremely traumatized). The hunter has Eliza dead to rights, but he takes the time to tell her how he found her, how he's resisting her telepathy, and how he's going to kill her. Eliza isn't able to stop him—cuckoos aren't very good at straight fights—but by the time he's done, every other cuckoo in mental-shouting range knows a) everything he just told her, thus ruining those methods, and b) where he is.
  • Expy Coexistence: Tricks For Free has both Walt Disney World and its expy Lowryland, which are mentioned to be competitors both located in Florida.
  • The Fair Folk: Many cryptids are mistaken for the faerie.
  • Famous Last Words: Considered a bad idea by the family in general, too much like Tempting Fate.
  • Fantastic Medicinal Bodily Product: Johrlac blood is a natural painkiller/antibiotic.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Covenant of St. George classifies all cryptids as monsters to be eliminated. The closest they come to accepting any of them is classifying certain races as not being worth the trouble to hunt down right now.
    • The Thirty Six Society in Australia concerns themselves with conservation of animal-type cryptids, and either ignores or takes advantage of human intelligence cryptids, justifying their actions by saying "they're not people."
    • Humans are okay with dating cryptids as long as they don't know their sweetie isn't strictly human.
      • Carlotta is a human who knows a lot about the cryptid world and is an active security risk. She is the reason Elsie ended up on the wrong end of some teen boys in "Sleepover".
      • Sam has stories of human girls refusing to kiss, let alone get intimate with, him in his nonhuman form because they consider it next best thing to bestiality.
    • Different cryptid species are suspicious of one another. It is an insult to refer to another cryptid by the name of their species rather than their name. At least one bogeyman has done so to Elsie by calling her a Lilu (succubus).
  • Feuding Families: The European branch of the Healy family considers the American branch to be traitors and heretics (for leaving the Covenant). The American branch considers the European branch to be genocidal terrorists (for not leaving the Covenant).
  • Festering Fungus: The prologue to That Ain't Witchcraft features Antimony and Sam taking on a Corn Blight. The spores of this fungus are carnivorous and consume the victims which get close to it. The corn blight then gains half the intelligence of its victim allowing it sentience. It spreads by killing its victims and then converting its victims bodies into extensions of itself to allow it to move. They become fungus-wrapped, corn-swaddled zombie like monsters which have decaying flesh and hunt for more victims. The more victims it consumes, the more intelligent it becomes.
  • Fictional Counterpart: "Lowryland" in Tricks For Free is a less popular rival theme park in Florida similar to Disneyland. Employees go back and forth between being hired at both parks.
  • Fiery Cover Up:
    • Played straight: Timpani once revealed as Antimony offers to use her pyrokinesis to burn down the carnival so Grandma Spenser and her people can rebuild on the insurance as a way of making it look to the Covenant like they were purged.
    • Subverted: The Covenant's way:
      • They burned down the Freakshow in New York City (where Verity used to work when it was under another name) because it was cryptid owned and operated.
      • They planned to blow up and burn down the carnival using bombs and accelerants which means insurance would not pay out to any survivors even if it was done in malice by an outside party.
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • Verity's first story takes place in New York. There's a strip bar. It's gonna happen.
    • Antimony flips off the captain of her roller derby team in "Magic for Nothing", but playfully.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Generation after generation. Verity tries to buck it, but eventually wholeheartedly embraces the family business. Fran recognizes early on that Alice is going to do the same, even though her father would prefer she grow up to be a lady who lives a nice, safe life.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Fran's death in "Broken Paper Hearts" was heavily foreshadowed.
    • Timpani reflects on the danger of a Mara in a carnival. A Mara with whom she is acquainted as Annie Thompson aka Final Girl shows up when Timpani and Sam go to the roller derby for a date.
  • Formulaic Magic: All Johrlac have an unusual affinity for math, and Imaginary Numbers, the first book with one as the main POV character, reveals that a sufficiently powerful Johrlac can use their mathematical skill combined with their Psychic Powers to rewrite reality and tear a hole between dimensions, which would destroy Earth (and fry their own mind) in the process.
  • For the Evulz: Within the first couple pages of "Balance", Eliza kills two people and permanently warps another's mind for sheer amusement. And that's a pretty basic day for her.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: In ''Midnight Blue-Light Special, when the Covenant captures Verity, they strip her naked to make sure she doesn't have any hidden weapons. She escapes and has to fight them unclothed.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum:
    • Emery Spenser refers to her grandson by his full name when she is angry: Samuel Coleridge Taylor. We discover this in the Aeslin novella.
    • Annie calls Artie by his full name (Arthur James Harrington-Price) when he's about to hurt Sarah.
  • Genre Savvy: Little Alice Healy has read enough fairy tales to be irritated when her mice won't help her like Cinderella's did ... and to judiciously apply a lesson from another fairy tale instead. Antimony knows to Never Split the Party, but recognizes that sometimes it's unavoidable.
  • Geometric Magic:
    • Circles of protection help to defend homes and campsites against certain cryptids. The circles also require specific ingredients in some cases.
    • There are also protective runes. Enid Healy knows how to stitch them. They're done in unobtrusive thread on all the pillowcases in the house (at least).
    • She also can cook them into food. She baked shortbread with lemon runes to assist with digestion in "The Lay of the Land".
    • In Sleepover the unnamed boys who kidnap Elsie think that a meticulously crafted Seal of Solomon means she must obey them, but Elsie soon disabuses them of their mistaken notion.
  • Giant Spider: One of the many types of Big Creepy-Crawlies that inhabit the dimension Calculated Risks takes place in. Sarah telepathically tames one as a steed and names it Greg.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex:
    • In "The Pilgrimage" Mindy and Mork take a moment to cement their bond after a life threatening experience.
  • Glowing Eyes: Johrlac eyes turn white when they actively use their telepathy.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • The only time anyone is ever happy about a cuckoo showing up is when there are Apraxis wasps in the area. The Apraxis are intelligent, telepathic, parasitic wasps, incredibly deadly and nigh-impossible to get rid of, and the only thing they're scared of is cuckoos.
    • The cuckoos themselves are so dangerous that Alexander Healy broke radio silence to warn his enemies the Covenant that they existed.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Antimony is perfectly okay with throwing punches when the situation calls for it particularly when her mission requires her to go unarmed.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Verity and Dominic's sex life is athletic and enthusiastic.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: At least three different varieties of Gorgons show up in this series. Female gorgons tend to be gorgeous despite the snake hair with one even acting as a stripper in the first novel.
  • Grandparent Favoritism: Alice has a better relationship with her grandchildren than her children, probably because she left them to be raised by her friends at a carnival while she went dimension-hopping to search for her missing husband.
  • Green Aesop: The reason the Healys broke with the covenant was because they realized that indiscriminate monster hunting was hurting the ecosystem. For example, unicorns might be bad-tempered creatures that spear a handful of humans every year, but they also purify the local water tables. Eliminating France's unicorn population caused a massive cholera epidemic that resulted in more loss of human life than a century of unicorn attacks would cause.
  • Guilt by Association: The Covenant does not differentiate targeting cryptids from humans who cohabitate with cryptids, or simply allow them to exist without being bothered. To them, any human who suffers a cryptid to live is corrupted and must also die.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: some merfolk, and any cryptid that can breed true with a human partner.
  • Halloween Episode: inasmuch as literature has them: "Snakes and Ladders" tells the story of Alice Healy's first Halloween.
  • Heal It with Blood: Johrlac have clear blood that acts as a natural antibiotic for other species, including humans.
  • Heinz Hybrid: The Price-Healy family is mostly human, though great-grandma (to the main characters) Frances Brown wasn't fully human, since she passed down some genetic immunity to cuckoos' telepathy. Her granddaughter Jane married an incubus, Ted, and had two children who are half-incubus and half-succubus respectively. Sam is a fūri, though his mother was human, and if he and Antimony have children they'd be a quarter fūri and 1/16 whatever Frances was.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Cousin Sarah after stopping the bad guys in Midnight Blue-Light Special in a way that would keep those endangered safe.
    • Fran and Jonathan in "The First Fall".
    • Jonathan and Alice in "Broken Paper Hearts"
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The reason that human-passing cryptids have infiltrated human society.
    Alex (narrating): A lot of homeowner's associations have cryptids on their boards helping to set standardized rules that will make individual homes more difficult to target from a distance. 'The monsters live in the beige house' isn't a very helpful description when half the houses in the neighborhood are beige.
  • Hidden Weapons: A staple of the wardrobe of any cryptozoologist. As a rule, they tend not to undress in front of their muggle lovers to avoid questions as to why they have so many guns, knives, coshes and brass knuckles hidden in their clothing.
  • Hive Queen: Zig-Zagged. Sarah is a Johrlac, a telepathic species (supposedly descended from extradimensional wasps) of which most other members are sociopaths who don't care about any lifeforms other than themselves (including other Johrlac). In Imaginary Numbers, a hive (in this case a temporary gathering) of Johrlac kidnap her and force her to undergo an Evolution Power-Up to turn her into a Johrlac Queen, which summons hundreds more as they attempt to turn her into an Apocalypse Maiden. When her friends arrive to try and stop her from destroying the world, they realize that the Johrlac were originally a Hive Mind species, and tell Sarah to mentally connect to their minds and the hundreds of Johrlac surrounding them to spread out the cosmic equation across many minds and prevent it from frying her mind. After the equation is "killed", she finds she has psychic powers far beyond any other Johrlac, but ironically can't control (or even detect) the surviving Johrlac, whose minds were wiped of anything other than Horror Hunger when she shoved the equation into them.
  • Honorary Family:
    • Verity's Uncle Mike isn't related to her, but his family and the Prices have been friends for several generations.
    • Rose Marshall and Mary Dunlavy, although ghosts, are both considered "aunts" to the family.
    • Al, owner of a pawn shop in Vegas, is another honorary uncle.
    • Annie decides their odd neighbor James is coming home as an honorary sibling.
  • Horror Hunger: After Sarah shoves the cosmic equation into their minds, the cuckoos' minds are blanked and only their body's drive to feed and survive is left.
  • Horse of a Different Color: The humanoids of the "giant bug dimension" ride giant millipedes and Slaying Mantises, and Sarah tames and rides a Giant Spider.
  • How Do I Shot Web?:
    • Ghostly Mary Dunlavy is only just learning how to be a ghost. Fran knows more about it than she does.
    Fran: You're a goddamn ghost! Do I need to get you an instruction book? Walk through the door!
    • Sorcerers like Antimony and James often have to figure out their powers by trial and error, since sorcerers are few and far between, largely due to persecution by the Covenant.
    • After Sarah becomes a Johrlac Queen, she takes a while to figure out her vastly expanded new powers, partially because she doesn't want to accidentally hurt anyone with them.
  • Human Alien Discovery: Neither of these examples are aliens, but they are Ultraterrestrials (and Johrlac are originally from Another Dimension).
    • Johrlac, also known as "cuckoos", are left as Doorstop Babies with human families, and their natural Backstory Invader powers make their Muggle Foster Parents believe that the cuckoo was their own child all along. When they enter their first instar at puberty, their latent Ghost Memory "hatches", imbuing them with the Johrlac species' cultural memory, and the knowledge of what they are. This usually makes them (from the human point of view) temporarily Go Mad from the Revelation and murder their human family. When they resurface, they're fully aware of their own telepathic abilities, and their status as an ambush predator.
    • Umeko discovered she was a jorōgumo when she transformed at puberty without anyone to explain what she was going through, and eventually started killing and eating people.
  • Human Mom Nonhuman Dad:
    • Elsie and Artie are the children of Jane Price, a human, and Ted Harrington, an incubus.
    • Sam's mother was human and his father was a fūri. He's usually just considered a fūri, since he has all their abilities and physiology, and he's the only one we've seen so far. If he and Antimony have any kids, they'll be this trope too.
    • Frances was this, though she never knew it. Her mother was human and her father was a Kairos.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • In general, human villains in the series tend to be far more despicable then the Cryptids themselves. Human villains will often take advantage off or harm cryptids who are often just going about their way.
    • The Covenant apparently did start out with a noble mission to protect mankind from things that would prey on them — but then they learned to enjoy killing.
    • Referenced by Antimony:
    The human race has been one long quest to find new, novel things and then kill, eat or enslave them. There's a reason the aliens haven't made an appearance yet, is what I'm saying.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The Covenant is a pseudo-religious monster-hunting organization the Prices have been working against for generations. The Prices and Healys were originally a Covenant family, but left due to ideological disagreements. (The Price family will still kill cryptids when they become a danger to other sentient beings, but only then.) We encounter multiple characters from the Covenant, including Dominic De Luca.
  • I Can't Believe A Girl Like You Would Notice Me:
    • Alex's opinion of Shelby having decided she loves him and isn't planning to let go of him anytime soon.
    • Sam when Antimony shows she's attracted to him as a person, not just his human form. She's his first romantic partner who likes him in his fūri form.
  • An Ice Person: James, a self-taught sorcerer Annie and friends meet in That Ain't Witchcraft, has ice powers, which Annie tells us are less common than fire powers.
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him: Grandma Spenser to Timpani when it becomes obvious that Timpani and Sam have decided to start dating.
  • The Immune:
    • All non-mammalian cryptids are immune to lycanthropy-w. This makes the Wadjet, who are snakes who can pass for human, really helpful as doctors for the infected.
    • Frances Healy is largely immune to cuckoo mind control for reasons unexplored. Her descendants acquire an immunity through family exposure to cuckoo telepathy via Grandma Angela and Cousin Sarah. In Calculated Risks, we find out this is because she was half Kairos.
    • Johrlac, being closer to insects than mammals, are immune to Lilu pheromones.
  • Improbable Antidote: There is a highly reclusive cryptid snake, the wagyl, whose bite can literally cure anything.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Istas uses one as a covert message in "Red as Snow":
    Istas: Ryan? Are you ready to rock? (Ryan is a Tanuki, who can turn himself to stone)
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All Johrlacs look remarkably similar when they're not using their psychic powers to make people think that they recognize them. This is explained as a byproduct of their being psychic - since they don't recognize prey or each other by visual cues, they never saw a reason to develop visual cues to distinguish themselves from each other.
  • Infernal Retaliation: In Calculated Risks, Sarah and Antimony are facing a horde of zombified Johrlac. Once she runs out of bullets, Antimony sets several of them on fire with her magic, causing Sarah to lampshade this trope as they flee.
  • Inner Monologue: Thus far the majority of the InCryptid books and short stories are told this way by the main character.
  • Insult of Endearment: Dominic to Verity most often.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Verity's human mother was raised by the world's first nonsociopathic cuckoo, who also raised a bogeyman and the second non-sociopath cuckoo.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Uncle Mike is a human married to an ocean cryptid.
    • The Bakers are also this, a Revenant and a cuckoo.
    • Ditto the Harringtons— human and incubus. Elsie dates human girls.
      • If Artie ever can bring himself to admit his feelings for Sarah, they will be an incubus/johrlac couple.
    • There's an entire New England town of oceangoing cryptids; some of them have human partners.
    • Sam Taylor is the result of a human/cryptid romance.
  • I Shall Taunt You: A common practice of the Price family. It will make an enemy angry enough to possibly make a mistake, it can be used to keep them talking and providing useful information while they monologue, and it's a good way to distract a bad guy and kill time until help arrives.
    • Sam Taylor and Timpani Brown also use this method of fighting.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In Chaos Choreography, during the battle with the giant snake demon, nobody remembers to turn off the live TV cameras until it's over. Verity reasons that it's inevitable that the Covenant will find out, and gives a message to them through the camera:
    Verity: My name is Verity Price. Stay out of my continent.
  • Jerkass:
    • A lot of the patrons at Dave's: drunken businessmen at a strip club acting like jerks? Who'd'a thunk?
    • The entire town the Healy farm borders on. Fran disdains them for that, but their tendency to ignore and rationalize helps keep the Healy family from gaining too much unwanted attention.
    • Sam Taylor cultivates this facade as a form of self defense.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: In Imaginary Numbers, Sarah goes inside Artie's mind to find out why he's not waking up after a car crash caused by another cuckoo. It turns out the other cuckoo left a mental trap in his mind. Later on Artie returns the favor when he enters Sarah's mind to convince her not to go along with the hive's plot.
    • The other cuckoos show Sarah complicated information, like the cuckoo history and life cycle, by letting her into their minds for Pensieve Flashbacks.
  • Kissing Cousins: Sarah and Artie like each other but Cannot Spit It Out. They're only cousins by marriage, plus she's adopted, plus they're different species (she's not even a mammal), so the main obstacle to them getting together is each one thinking the other doesn't like them that way.note 
  • Knife Nut:
    • Frances Brown.
    • Alice Healy appears to be following in both parents' footsteps; but with the knives, she takes after her mother.
    • Verity Price.
    • Antimony also studied under the Incredible Christopher. Notably, her knives are one of the few things she takes with her when she goes on the run after Magic For Nothing.
  • Knife-Throwing Act:
    • The Fabulous Fran, before meeting Jonathan Healy.
    • Studying with The Incredible Christopher is how Verity got so good at throwing knives.
    • Timpani joins the carnival as a combination Trapeze act and knife throwing act.
  • Knight Templar: The Covenant of Saint George are fanatically devoted to the wiping out of cryptids as they view them as "unnatural".
  • Knowledge Broker: Several:
    • Dave the Bogeyman for "dirt on the street" type stuff. This is apparently a specialty of the bogeyman community.
    • Verity's father for historical data and her Aunt Jane for cybergossip.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Sarah very carefully and clearly reminds Verity that tracking down a car by sight alone is not as easily done as it is on Criminal Minds.
  • Land Down Under: The Covenant took one look at Australia's native animals and collectively flipped their lids.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia:
    • In Midnight Blue-Light Special, Sarah modifies the memories of the Covenant operatives to forget Verity existed and think Dominic is dead.
    • In Calculated Risks, Sarah realizes she deleted Annie, Artie, James, and Mark's memories of her when they helped her spread out the equation by using their brains as data banks. She didn't expect to survive, and thought it would be less painful if they didn't remember her. It becomes a problem when all 5 of them survive, and are trapped in another dimension.
  • Last of His Kind:
    • William is in the first novel, the last male Dragon. This doesn't last for very long though as reuniting him with the female dragons leads to the birth of new male dragons.
    • Sarah and her mother are the first, last, and possibly only of their kind, ever, at least in this dimension - non-sociopathic Johrlacs. Since they can only successfully interbreed with their own race and there aren't any non-evil male Johrlacs, it's doubtful that cuckoos with a sense of psychic etiquette will survive to another generation.note 
    • Osana is the only known Laidly Worm still alive.
  • Let's Dance: When Verity says this, she means it more literally than usual.
  • Literal Genie: Discussed and invoked by Annie as she explains why dealing with the crossroads is a bad idea, and why you always get a ghost trying desperately to talk you out of making such a deal. Also overlaps with Jerkass Genie.
  • Lizard Folk: The reptilian Servitors the cultists create by exposing humans to dragon blood.
  • Logical Weakness: The Johrlac are believed to be physiologically related to insects, though they appear human. In Imaginary Numbers, Artie threatens one they've captured with a can of Raid.note  Theobromine (a compound found in chocolate) is also toxic to them).
  • Long-Lost Relative: While in England, Antimony encounters an Aeslin Mouse who stayed behind with the Covenant branch of the family and rescues him. He becomes the mate to the mouse who accompanied Antimony on her mission.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "Chaos Choreography," the four top-scoring contestants from each of the last five years of a dancing show are invited back. Alpha Bitch Jessica is included because she didn't compete in the top four (and everyone likes the girl who did compete better than her), but she did score in the top four before being sidelined by an injury.
  • Loss of Identity: One variety of merfolk is born looking and behaving human. But shortly after puberty, any exposure to water will bring forth their oceangoing nature. Saltwater makes it happen faster; and the land memory erodes as fast as the sea traits return, eventually leaving a typical merperson out of myth who may only barely remember anything about those they knew and loved on dry land.
  • Love at First Sight: As of "The Way Home", Alice Healy and Thomas Price on meeting each other.
  • Magitek: Technology made just for cryptids, such as darks - the literal opposite of electric lights - for cryptids that don't deal well with light.
  • Mama Bear:
    • You do not want to get in between Frances Healy and her baby.
    • Ryan's mother, justified because their species of cryptid is endangered.
    • Charlotte Tanner, Shelby's mother, makes at least three.
    • A grand mama bear exists in "Magic For Nothing". Sam's grandmother. She never acts on it, but the implication is that she knows how to disappear a body.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Verity's hunting clothes for clubbing. Verity's work uniform at Dave's Fish and Strips. Verity's costumes for her dance competitions. All designed for maximum sex appeal.
    • Shelby also uses the male gaze to her advantage when traveling, or to make a point.
    • Timpani's trapeze costume is designed intentionally to draw the male gaze.
  • Masquerade: Dominic is horrified by Verity's cavalier attitude towards it; Verity promptly jumps up on a table and describes the substance of their conversation to everyone in the room. Not surprisingly, she's met with laughter and rolled eyes.
  • Mental World: Sarah goes into this a few times in Imaginary Numbers; see Journey to the Center of the Mind above. During her metamorphosis, she also retreats into a void in which she can create anything or anyone she can remember, but knows they're not real. Ingrid is the only outside mind she can communicate with, and she tells Sarah that the only way to escape the mindscape is to complete the cosmic equations that will tear a hole in reality.
  • Metaphorgotten: Alex catches himself doing this as he comes back from having lost consciousness.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • Fran and Jonathan in 1928.
    • Verity and Dominic in 2012.
  • Mind Control: All cuckoos are capable of it at a nearly unconscious level. Even cuckoos who are trying to be nice will still end up doing it if they're not careful.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body:
    • Invoked: while discussing lycanthropy-w.
    • Inverted: A lot of lycanthropes turn at the sight of the moon despite it not being necessary once they have been infected.
  • Mind over Manners: Sarah and her mother developed their telepath ethics from watching Babylon 5.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: Each book starts with a flashback prologue to the viewpoint character's childhood, the only part of the book written in third person.
  • Minorly Mentioned Myths and Monsters: The series features several lesser-known cryptids/mythical creatures, such as Fūri, Waheela, Laidly Worms, Ahool, and Caladrius, alongside ones the author appears to have invented herself, such as the Johrlacnote , Madhura, and the Fricken.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Fran ended up with the circus because someone left her outside the tent. She used to hope for her Missing Mom to find her, before giving up.
    • Missing mothers (and occasionally fathers) are a commonplace happening in a town full of human-appearing merfolk. Once they reach the age of reproducing, exposure to water brings out their seabound nature, and slowly erodes their memory of life on land.
    • As of "Broken Paper Hearts" Alice Healy loses her mother to an as-yet-undertermined cryptid attack on Valentine's eve.
    • Alice herself slightly subverted this with her own kids, as they knew (or suspected) she was still alive, but she left them with the carnival while she went searching for Thomas.
    • Refreshingly averted in the present generation, as both Evelyn Price and Jane Harrington are perfectly well and living somewhere just beyond the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.
    • Sam Taylor's mother came home upon finding out she was pregnant with a half-cryptid child, stayed long enough to birth him, and then took off to go back to the human life she'd already run away to before getting pregnant.
    • James Smith from Gravesend lost his beloved mother to an unnamed sickness when he was small.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Played with. Adrienne, an old cryptid roller derby acquaintance outs Timpani to Sam as Antimony Price because she feels that she was "just trying to eat" and unfairly exposed and kicked out. The truth is that said cryptid was not so innocent in her feeding and was hurting people doing so. She was kicked out because her method of feeding could have drawn unwanted attention and endangered the other cryptids who really were being circumspect and careful in their behaviour. She pretty much took the shot at "warning" Sam for spite because she had to find another feeding ground with people who wouldn't recognize her for what she was and lacked the know-how to do anything about it if they did find out.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters
    • Questing Beast (Snake/Cougar)
    • Fricken (Frog/Chicken).
    • Church Gryphon (Raven/Maine Coon cat)
    • Garinna (Galah/Thylacine)
  • Mood Whiplash: Twice in Chaos Choreography. Used along with Switching P.O.V. in Midnight Blue-Light Special to create uncertainty as to whether Verity had survived being hit in the head by her third cousin, Margaret Healy.
  • Mouse World: Dollhouses and birdhouses make lovely mouse residences.
    • The attic of the Healy house.
    • Likewise the attic of the Price home in Portland.
    • Verity has a Barbie Dream House full of mice that travels with her.
    • Alex has at least a few Aeslin mice with him but has not gone into detail to describe their living arrangements.
    • Antimony's mouse just hung out in her backpack until finding a mate. They built a home on the road of cardboard and popsicle sticks and other doodads brought from the craft store as a sort of wedding gift.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Alice Healy spends most of her time in alternate dimensions where time flows differently than on Earth. As a result, she looks young enough that she can successfully pass as the sister of her grandchildren.
  • My Greatest Failure: Alex considers failing to save one of his mice this, but there's more to the story: Charlotte Tanner blocked his view of the Aeslin mice so he couldn't see when a member of the Thirty Six society crushed one of them to death in his hand. It was explained as the Fantastic Racism of the Aussie cryptid conservationists combined with a misunderstanding of how seriously the mice take their religion. The truth is that the one who did it would've done it anyway because he was infected, didn't want the mouse to sniff him out, and was under orders to do "whatever it takes" to remain unrevealed.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: In Imaginary Numbers, Sarah suffers this when she undergoes a mental metamorphosis and starts doing cosmic equations to rip a hole in reality. At the climax, she mitigates the overload and avoids melting her own brain by mentally linking to her friends and family, and then all the other Johrlac, to offload some of the equation into their minds. Most of the Johrlac don't have enough room for the information and it destroys their sense of self to make room for itself.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • The name "Price" in universe. Cryptids know of the family's reputation and don't entirely trust it.
    • In the same vein, pretty much any name associated with the Covenant, if you're a Price, a Cryptid, or (in the case of the Harringtons) both.
  • Never Split the Party: Lampshaded as undesirable but impractical when there's a lot of ground to cover, even as they do it.
    Aeslin mouse: And then it was said and Stated, as it always shall be, Never Split the Party!
  • Nice to the Waiter: Sarah doesn't worry about paying for her coffee, but she does make sure to tip the waitress...usually.
  • The Nicknamer: the Aeslin mice refer to the members of the Price-Healy family as gods and priestesses, and each member has a special title. Verity is the Arboreal Priestess, Antimony is the Precise Priestess, Fran is the Violent Priestess, Alex is the God of Scales and Silence, etc. These can gain retroactive tearjerker status when a posthumous divinity is applied (The God of Early Arrivals and Earlier Departures, The Violent Priestess, Who Never Learned to be Careful).
  • No Man Wants an Amazon: Appropriate for the social mores of the time frame, but also used by Jonathan to try to convince Alice to stay out of the family business. He told her in so many words if she beat boys at arm wrestling she would never find a boyfriend. (She found a husband and had 2 kids and kept beating boys at arm-wrestling, by the way.) Averted with the modern generation.
  • No Pregger Sex: Averted with Mindy and Mork.
  • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders:
    • Subverted: Adrienne the Mara holds a grudge against Antimony Price because of the latter forcing her to leave Portland. Antimony never asked forgiveness because she was acting in the protection of humans and other cryptids.
    • Subverted in a different way: Sam and Timpani. Timpani learned why Sam had good reasons to lie, and after he thought about it Sam realized Timpani had good reasons to lie as well. They suggested that their mutual grudges about being lied to cancelled each other out, and got on with the make-up sex.
  • Non-Malicious Monster:
    • Frequently seen with creatures like the cockatrice. They're no more malicious than any other animal, just more dangerous.
    • Played with in Magic for Nothing. One of the fire dancers believed herself human until her cryptid form manifested in her teen years. With none of her own kind around to teach her alternatives or discretion, and human food not sufficiently nourishing her, she turned in desperation to an alternate food source webbing up people until they liquefy and sucking up the resulting gunk. By the time Timpani meets her, she's no longer entirely without malice.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: A lot of the female cryptids have such anatomical anomalies.
    • Lesser Gorgons are considered "mammal-like reptiles" who lay eggs but also nurse their young, so they have an excuse.
    • Johrlac are stated to be descended from some kind of wasp, but not only do the females have breasts, they can lactate.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Several of the cryptids in the series. But one example in particular from "Snakes and Ladders":
    Alice: You're not gonna eat me?
    Snake Man: [whose name is revealed upon proper introductions] I try not to eat anything that converses with me. It seems rude.
  • Not So Extinct: Everyone assumes dragons died out three hundred years ago but it turns out one is hibernating under New York and female dragons have been in plain sight the entire time due to long lifespans and human appearances. Shelby also mentions believing that Aeslin mice were extinct before she met Alex's.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In Calculated Risks, Antimony objects to calling the mindwiped cuckoos "zombies", partially because it's culturally appropriativenote , and partially because they don't turn their victims (of course, not all fictional zombies do either).
    • Martin Baker is a revenant. He's fully sapient and can't turn anyone by biting them, not that he would.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: If Verity sounds like she's just lost fifty IQ points and starts batting her eyes at you, run.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Bogeymen can do this as a natural talent.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Paraphrased as the header to one of the chapters by one of Verity's ancestors, and spoken verbatim by Uncle Mike in Midnight Blue-Light Special.
    • Verity and Alice both suffer this when Verity inadvertently refers to one of Alice's habits as a 'holy calling' within the hearing of the Aeslin mice.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: Not even his own sister came to Artie's twelfth birthday party. Fortunately, his best friend and cousin Sarah did, and they had fun until he said he liked her.note 
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: A number of cryptid races, and some non-Covenant cryptozoologists, still consider the Price family to be Covenant despite having broken from that organization a century before.
  • "Open!" Says Me: When Frances Healy wants in, and you don't let her in, her shotgun is how she knocks (the door off its hinges).
  • The Order: The Covenant of St. George is an ancient organization (their name indicates they were probably once associated with the church) dedicated to hunting down and exterminating "monsters", many of which are sapient beings guilty of nothing more than not being born human. The Price-Healy family that the main characters belong to is descended from former Covenant members who had a Heel Realization and cut ties with the organization, which branded them traitors and sent agents to eliminate them (ironically, several agents they sent (Thomas and Dominic) ended up marrying into the family).
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Justified, in that many of the cryptids in the series are of human intelligence, and know that keeping their existence secret also keeps them safe and alive.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragon Princesses are not the way the fairy tales would have you believe. It would give away too much to explain how.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Pun intended.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Depending on the type of ghost.
    • Rose Marshall is a road ghost, as is Mary Dunlavy. They can both become human-solid for a little while if a live person loans them clothing to wear.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Lycanthropy is not a species of cryptid. It is a cryptid mutation of rabies that can affect any mammal (Though mammals weighing less than 90 pounds or so invariably die from it before they can infect anything else). It has nothing to do with the full moon, and does not work like in the movies. It is a deadly disease and treated as deadly serious even when it is discovered that those infected, after the first couple changes, return to human intelligence. Humans thus afflicted do not become "evil" as such, but do develop short tempers and more aggressive traits as a result of their DNA and body being rewritten to wolf. Even if the humans afflicted can make provisions not to infect anyone else in their uncontrollable phase, the disease is still always fatal: mammal bodies were simply not made to be shapeshifted repeatedly, and the resultant strain on the heart and nervous system will eventually result in the victim's death.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry:
    • Midnight Blue-Light Special: What's the best way to get out of a bloody cult chamber when you have neither clothes nor shoes? Get your buff Love Interest to toss you over his shoulder.
    • Pocket Apocalypse: Alex carries the much larger and complete dead weight Cooper over his shoulder after they're attacked by infected lycanthropes.
    • '"Waking Up in Vegas": Verity and Dominic get drunk at their co-bachelor(ette) party. When Very is too drunk to walk, Dominic carries her back to the hotel room.
  • Overprotective Dad: Following Fran's death, Jonathan becomes this to Enid, refusing to teach her anything about cryptids and trying to make her have a so-called 'normal' life. This lasts up until she nearly gets killed by a dire boar in "Target Practice", and Enid puts her foot down.
  • Papa Wolf: Riley Tanner, Shelby's father, is both overprotective and inclined to hit things that upset him. He has a really hard time dealing with Alex, despite Alex's attempts to avoid antagonizing him.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Cuckoos, aka Johrlac, are paranoia fuel incarnate. Physically attractive, totally sociopathic mind controllers whose powers allow them to seamlessly, within seconds, write themselves into your life as though they'd always been there, and use that instant trust to destroy you completely. Bogeymen and Madhura have known about Cuckoos for a lot longer than humanity, and developed defenses against them. A mere eight cuckoos were enough to wipe out a whole generation of members of the Thirty-Six Society in Australia and took five years to eliminate. Dangerous enough that Alexander Healy broke his radio silence with the Covenant to warn them of the cuckoos' existence.
    • To a lesser extent, a number of the more physically powerful Cryptids. Sure, Istas is kind and sociable, but she can also turn into a giant bear-wolf monster capable of casually ripping a human's arm off.
    • Humans are this for Cryptids. A Waheela might be a danger, but a relatively straightforward one. Humans are devious and sturdy, with a worldwide range and a lot of cunning. Cryptids' best defense against humanity is to pretend not to exist.
  • Le Parkour: More described as free running by Verity, distinct from Parkour.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The family has code phrases for when they meet up in case of enemy traps, shapeshifting, or magic. Averted in that the passwords tend to involve complex sign-countersign pairs and avoid terms of obvious meaning to the family member involved.
    • Antimony used a comic book based one: "Professor Xavier is a jerk" for her Aeslin mice to advise them it is safe to come out and allow themselves to be seen.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The family as a whole is financially solvent.
    • Verity, though, is barely making it on her salary, because she has to pay for rent in New York, plus ammo, plus clothes damaged in her cryptid-related activities, as well as the accouterments of her ballroom dancing.
    • Alex is doing only a little better because he's living with his grandparents to help in Sarah's recuperation.
  • Photographic Memory/Genetic Memory/Eidetic Memory: The Aeslin Mice have this as a species trait. It is also enforced and reinforced since they worship the Price family as religious figures, and have litanies, celebrations, songs, feasts, festivals, proverbs, and holy writ based on the family's milestones and exploits. They also, when traveling with the family, serve as living black boxes to let the family know how any family member died should they fail to return.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Verity has several, due to having ballroom danced semi-professionally for some years. She uses one as her wedding gown in "Waking Up in Vegas".
  • Plant People: Cornwives (the term applies to males and females) are either plants that evolved to be humanoid, or primates that evolved some plant attributes.
  • Playful Hacker: Inverted:
    • Artie Harrington is an extremely solemn and serious hacker. He has to be. He is the one who does all the fake identification documentation from birth certificates to driver's licenses to passports for many members of the family up until Magic for Nothing, which results in Antimony having to sort out her own because she can't lead anything back to the family.
    • Uncle Al is the Honorary Uncle family member who does full identity workups.
  • Playing with Fire: Antimony started developing signs of uncontrolled pyrokinesis some weeks or months before the events of Magic for Nothing. Once she gets her mission from the family, it also becomes a Cover-Blowing Superpower.
  • The Power of Family: Family is a very important theme which runs throughout the novels. The Price-Healy family have always celebrated and are fiercely loyal to each other with even their non-blood related relatives considered to be a part of the family. Antimony Price even invokes her female ancestors and the bond they share in order to destroy the crossroads parasite and stop its evil influence.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Alex to an Evil Poacher (who has kidnapped several gorgon children) in the novella The Measure of a Monster:
    Poacher: Wait, Alex? Alex Price. What the fuck man? I thought your people were on humanity's side.
    Alex: We're conservationists. The human race is currently of least concern. Now give me the keys, before I make you extinct.
  • Psychic Link: Sarah has one with certain members of the family, Verity in particular.
    • All humans who spend enough time around cuckoos, particularly in childhood, become attuned to that particular cuckoo's "hum". It's how Cici knew another male cuckoo wasn't Mark, even though all cuckoos of the same sex look a lot alike.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: When Sarah uses her telepathy too strongly, she gets a nosebleed. However, Johrlac blood is clear, so it just looks like she has a runny nose.
  • Psychic Teleportation: In Imaginary Numbers, after her Evolution Power-Up, Sarah can teleport herself and three other people from Oregon to Iowa, and a week into the future.
  • Punny Name: Dave's Fish and Strips, a gentleman's club staffed almost exclusively by cryptids.
  • Quirky Household: The Price family is a Badass Family of cryptozoologists who include a roofhopping ballroom dancer, a Badass Bookworm herpetologist, a roller derby-playing Sorcerer, a Dimensional Traveler Badass Grandma who looks younger than her own grandkids, and a Human Outside, Alien Inside telepath who loves math. Oh, and they also live with hundreds of mice that worship them as gods.
  • Reality TV: In-verse, "Dance or Die", the reality show Valerie competed on.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Not quite, but both of Verity's grandmothers look much younger than they are, in one case due to spending time in alternate dimensions with time dilations, and in the other by virtue of being a very long-lived nonhuman.
    • The dragon princesses.
  • Recessive Super Genes: Sorcerers rarely have sorcerer children — the last one in the Price family before Antimony was her grandfather Thomas, and neither of her siblings have any magic powers. Averted with James's family, since his ancestor made a deal with the Crossroads that his line's magic would always breed true.
  • Religion of Evil: Snake cult.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Multiple examples.
    • Played straight: The Sleestaks and the Lindworm in Verity's time period.
    • Subverted: William the Dragon and the Wadjet in Verity's time period, and Professor Naga in Fran & Jonathan's. Also most of the gorgons (depending on your definition of "reptile")/
    • Justified: For the Aeslin mice. Reptiles tend to prey on mice.
  • Revenge: An ongoing concern of the family regarding both cryptids and the Covenant. Betty Smith in particular wants it, and is prepared to turn Verity into a fall guy to get it.
  • Roller Derby: The sport of choice of Antimony Price, as seen in her first three short stories.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Discussed by Sarah, who calls them "Star Trek aliens". The inhabitants of the dimension in Calculated Risks look humanoid except for Pointy Ears, rosette Facial Markings, and slightly-larger eyes in yellow and green.
  • Sarcastic Confession: See Masquerade above.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Plenty of Verity's coworkers skip town in the first book after hearing a Covenant agent is in Manhattan. Most make excuses about family emergencies, while one is upfront about her reasons.
  • Secret Identity:
    • Valerie Pryor, competitive ballroom dancer, is Verity's public identity, making her real identity as Verity the secret one.
    • The same is true for her brother Alex, who goes by Alex Preston.
    • Antimony has four and a half:
      • Antimony is her real name, but it's a secret outside the family.
      • Antimony goes by "Annie Thompson" locally in Oregon. She also has the Stage Name Final Girl to go with her roller derby.
      • Timpani Brown, sole survivor of the massacre of the Brown Carnival is her cover story for infiltrating the Covenant on behalf of her family, and then for infiltrating the Spenser Carnival on behalf of the Covenant.
      • She goes by Melody West in high school, and revisits it as an alias when she's working at Lowryland.
      • All of her non-stage identities (except Melody West) have a name that can be shortened to "Annie".
  • Self-Made Orphan: Every cuckoo (save Sarah and Angela) is this; they practice their hunting pattern on their unlucky adoptive parents first. We later meet a third cuckoo who didn't kill their human parents, Mark.
  • Shark Man: The Ukupani are aquatic therianthropes whose males can turn into a fully human or a half-human/half-shark form. The females can't transform, and appear as gigantic sharks.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Verity's way of winning an argument with Dominic. Dominic does the same to Verity later in the story, but just to genuinely get her to stop talking.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
    • Elsie and Artie are a succubus and an incubus, respectively, and as different as night and day. Elsie, who has some control over her pheromones, is an outgoing, colorful lesbian, while her brother, who has Power Incontinence over his Living Aphrodisiac abilities, is a Hikikomori whose only real friends are his sister and cousins.
    • Verity and Antimony are a Tomboy and Girly Girl pair in some ways, though it can be difficult to tell whether Verity is a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak or a Tomboy with a Girly Streak. Antimony is much less friendly with strangers than her sister, though once she becomes friends with someone they're her True Companions. She also complains that Verity doesn't think through the consequences of her actions, like when she revealed the Prices' continued existence on live TV.
    • A twist with Antimony and James, who didn't grow up with her but who she adopted as a brother when they were both adults (after seeing his bad family situation). Antimony is Hot-Blooded, appropriate for someone whose specialty is Playing with Fire, while James is An Ice Person in both power and personality.
  • Snake People: Greater gorgons can transform from a two-legged humanoid form to one with the bottom body of a huge snake. Wadjet are also technically snake people, though the females look fully human and the males look just like normal snakes.
  • Snark Knight: Pretty much the default mode of a Healy or Price starting a fight is hurling disorienting insults at their opponent. Verity invokes Spider-Man as the patron saint of her style of combat.
  • Spy Catsuit: Verity has one for slinking stealthily around the rooftops at night.
  • Squick: Dominic's reaction to seeing Sarah do first aid on him.
    • Verity's hinted-at description of Tooth Fairy feeding habits.
    • Verity's description of Gorgon hygiene involving head-snake waste elimination.note 
  • Stock American Phrases:
    • In Magic for Nothing, Sam uses "Hey, rube!" ironically. Its normal usage among carnie folk is as a rallying cry or call for help. But at the time he was using it, he was actually referring to Timpani as a rube — someone who is "not one of us" and equivalent to a townie, and intended at least a little derogatorily.
    • Timpani gives a quick glossary of carnie speak when she arrives at the Spenser carnival.
  • Stock Ness Monster: InCryptid, utterly unsurprisingly, has a number of these. The first that the reader sees is the Michigan Lake Monster, which features prominently in the short story "Loch and Key." A second plesiosaur appears in the Cold Open of Chaos Choreography, the pet of a trio of archaeology students from a Portland-area community college, whom Verity and her husband Dominic move from a city reservoir to a much more secluded lake high in the mountains. Specifically noted as not being sea monsters, as these are freshwater beasts and will quickly die if introduced to the ocean.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Most of the women in the family take after Enid Healy, with a look known as belonging to her Carew ancestors: curvaceous and blonde, and on the short side. The men in the family have a track record of finding wives with the same look as well - Frances Healy and Evelyn Price also share the look despite no blood relation.
    • Antimony takes after the Price side of the family: tall and brunette with sharp cheekbones. The family thinks this will be enough to protect her when she goes undercover with the Covenant ... but it's not. They keep portraits of all the previous illustrious members and Antimony looks just like an ancestor.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: In Calculated Risks, Sarah telepathically convinces a train-sized flying millipede to come down to the ground and eat a bunch of zombified cuckoos that are chasing her and Annie.
  • Supernaturally Validated Trans Person: the series has yet to introduce any canon trans characters, but in Calculated Risks, Sarah remembers when she and Elsie were kids, Elsie hypothetically asked the Aeslin mice what they would do if she told them there'd been an error and she was actually a boy. They immediately began planning a ritual to modify her catechisms from those of a Priestess to those of a God,note  and only stopped after she explained she was only wondering and really was a girl.
  • Survivor Guilt: Raina suffers this over something she really couldn't have foreseen or controlled. the Johrlac invasion that ended up killing her older brother Jack. It gets worse when Gabby takes off, upset after developments in the case.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Sarah takes over narration duties in Midnight Blue-Light Special for a few chapters after Verity is knocked unconscious and taken prisoner by the Covenant. Later on in Imaginary Numbers, Artie does the same for Sarah after she's kidnapped by the cuckoo hive.
  • Taken for Granite: Basilisks, cockatrices and gorgons can cause this, while tanuki can temporarily do it to themselves.
  • Take That!: In Imaginary Numbers, Sarah complains about sexist comic book fans, which Seanan McGuire has likely had experience with, as a writer for Spider-Gwen.
    Sarah: If I want to subject myself to toxic people, I'll just read the comments on literally any article about female-led comic book properties.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky:
    • Dominic isn't exactly tall - he is compared to Verity but Verity barely tops five feet barefoot - but he's described as dark-complexioned and her sarcasm quickly rubs off on him (he is himself inclined to dry, sarcastic humor as his primary mode).
    • Sam is actually tall, but also tends to have brown hair and a snarky disposition.
  • Tanuki: Ryan, the bouncer at Dave's, is one. The Covenant is mentioned as having made the tanuki population critically endangered.
  • Tarot Troubles: Inverted. Fran asks Juniper to read her fortunes and to tell her that her dead child's soul is resting easy.
    • Played with in "Married in Green": Juniper reads several cards for Fran to predict her possible future if she marries Jonathan, but leaves the last one on the deck when Fran decides she's marrying him no matter what the future holds. One assumes that the last card would have predicted bad things for the couple.
  • Telepathy: Natural talent for the cuckoos. Lilu also have limited telepathy.
  • They Fight Crime!: She's a ballroom dancer slash strip club waitress! He's a church-trained uptight guy with no clue about the way of the world. They hunt dangerous cryptids!
  • They Would Cut You Up:
    • Strongly implied to be the Covenant's method of "study" when dealing with and capturing a cryptid they have little knowledge on.
    • Also the unspoken but commonly acknowledged reason cryptids pass for human when possible and hide when they cannot pass. Human curiosity doesn't always have ethics or a conscience. Humans are good at rationalizing who is and isn't "a person".
    • Sam Taylor doesn't say the trope name verbatim but is describing it as a fear and a reason he doesn't drop his human facade except in the private areas of the Carnival.
  • Thicker Than Water: Some cryptids don't care; the rest really care. The various Healys think this way for their immediate relatives, but not for their distant cousins in the Covenant - they might share blood if you look back four generations, but they are not family.
  • This Is My Story: Sarah spends most of the first chapter of Calculated Risks recapping the series up to there, especially the events of Imaginary Numbers.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The family in general tries to not even kill cryptids unless they have no other alternative. Antimony, however, really hates the idea of killing humans, so much so that she won't even kill Covenant when it's in her best interest to do so.
  • Time Skip:
    • Fran and Jon's timeline to Verity's. This gap might close eventually though, as the 'past' stories have moved onto the next generation, Alice Healy and Thomas Price.
    • Every book has a flashback prologue to the characters' childhood.
    • Sometimes epilogues have a time skip as well.
  • Title In: Each chapter begins with a location and status check for the narrator.
    • Fran's stories each begin with a date and location check.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Angela, Sarah, and Mark are the only non-evil cuckoos. In Sarah's case, she's sort of an Orc Raised by Elves, except one of those "elves" was actually another Token Heroic Orc (Angela).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Kevin Price paraphrases the trope in the heading for Chapter 9.%Of which book?
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Be prepared for a raucous cheer if you offer the Aeslin mice CHEESE AND CAKE!!!
    • There's a yowie in Australia who takes TimTams as payment. Heaven help you if you forget them.
    • Antimony apparently likes Red Bull enough to mention it by name.
    • Sarah loves tomatoes and tomato products on anything and everything, to an extent which is truly bizarre to human sensibilities.
  • Training from Hell: The Price family begins raising children from the moment they can walk to protect themselves and handle random situations including:
    • The family habitually chloroforms all the kids, throws them in the trunk, drives a roundabout route to a random destination, dumps them there, and expects them to find their way home.
    • The family sets pit traps for the children while they are elementary school age.
  • True Companions: When Antimony goes on the run from the Covenant, she ends up staying with her friends Fern (an old Roller Derby pal) and Megan (the daughter of her brother's assistant, though it's unclear if they'd ever met before she moved in) in Florida. Soon, they're joined by Antimony's maybe-boyfriend Sam (who quickly drops the "maybe") and another roller derby friend, Cylia. It helps that all of them except Antimony are cryptids, and Antimony is from the most prominent family of cryptozoologists on the continent, known as friends to the cryptid community. At the end of the book, Megan parts ways from the group, but in the next book the four of them are joined by James, a young sorcerer who Antimony adopts as a brother at the end. Oh, and Antimony's ghost aunt shows up now and then.
  • Tsuchigumo and Jorogumo: Umeko in Magic for Nothing is a jorōgumo who has been killing locals who visit the carnival.
  • T-Word Euphemism: The word in question being "love". The person speaking it in "The Pilgrimage" begins to actually say the word, then seems to think better of it and backpedals to "like" instead.
  • Unicorn: Amongst the cryptids encountered by the families, and the reason for their schism with the Covenant.
  • The Unpronounceable: The Aeslin Mice all have names that involve squeaks and chitters, possibly movements of whiskers and ears, and possibly pheromone emissions. As a result, the family either refers to them as "Mouse", whatever their apparent rank in the religious hierarchy is, or they give them a nickname in English.
  • Unstable Powered Woman: When Sarah overexerts herself by rewriting the Covenant team's memories, it damages her mind for years, to the point that it's only in Imaginary Numbers, five years later, that she's healed enough to go back to Oregon. And then the Johrlac hive finds her and forces her to start her metamorphosis into a Johrlac queen (read: Apocalypse Maiden).
  • Unwanted False Faith:
    • Professor Naga's opinion about the snake cults. He's not a god, isn't pretending to be a god, and doesn't want to be a god.
    • Subverted with the Price family, who don't consider themselves gods, but accept the Aeslin mice's worship and do their best to be good deities.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Broken Paper Hearts" tells the story of Alice's first school-age Valentine's day, which unfortunately also happens to be the day when her mother Fran is killed by parties unknown.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: The Covenant's modus operandi, and the source of their conflict with the Prices.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Alex speculates that it was Charlotte Tanner who taught eldest daughter Shelby to hide brass knuckles unobtrusively in her bra.
  • Virgin Power: Why so many female cryptids are vanishing in Discount Armageddon.
  • Virgin Sacrifice:
    • Snake cults tend to think that sacrificing virgins are the best sacrifices for their snake god masters. What is actually the virgin sacrifice that these snake gods think is best is a sacrifice who's never been cut open rather then anything to do with their victim's sexual habits.
    • Antimony confesses she intentionally lost hers to avoid ending up in a virgin sacrifice ritual.
  • The Virus: Lycanthropy-w, the virus that creates werewolves, can infect any mammal (including mammalian cryptids), though it's immediately fatal in anything smaller than a dog, and ultimately fatal in all cases, since the body simply can't handle the stress of constant transformation.
  • Weirdness Censor: What cryptids, and those close to them, count on humans doing — rationalizing away any inhuman or other weirdness, such as a church griffin flying overhead.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Covenant. It's not as if they're wrong about some cryptids being a threat to humans, they just take it way, way too far. (See: their panic over literally every animal in Australia.)
  • When She Smiles: Shelby gets this description early on.
    Alex: Shelby was one of those people who looked miserable, almost funereal, when she wasn't smiling. When she did, it seemed like she could outshine the sun.
  • Wicked Wasps: Apraxis wasps are voracious predatory wasps about the size of a man's foot which attack and consume anything they come across. Apraxis wasps implant eggs in their hosts which hatch into nymphs inside the host, releasing a paralyzing agent that sends their host into a coma. These wasps are also highly intelligent and even sapient with the ability to mimic human voices to get closer to their prey and catch then unawares.
    • The Johrlac are mentioned to be physiologically similar to wasps on the inside, though this mostly amounts to them having hemolymph instead of blood and a decentralized circulatory system.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: Jinks, namely Uncle Al and Cylia.
  • Xenofiction: The short stories are often from the perspective of cryptid side characters, who see things very differently from humans. Part of Midnight Blue-Light Special, most of Imaginary Numbers, and all of Calculated Risks are from Sarah's POV.
  • Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My: The Covenant was so appalled by the Everything Is Trying to Kill You nature of Australian wildlife that they tried to purge the entire ecosystem. This is why the Thirty Six Society threw them out.

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