Cover Image: Backpacking through Bedlam

Backpacking through Bedlam

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Member Reviews

Another exciting, action-packed adventure in the world of InCryptids, and another fascinating (and even emotional) look at the Price family dynamics. This installment focuses on married couple Alice and Thomas, reunited after an involuntary separation of 50 years (still miraculously maintaining the health and looks of people in their 20s), who have to reestablish their relationship, in between yet more dangerous missions and quests. This series is great, and I hope it continues for many, many more books!

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Backpacking Through Bedlam by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice is back, ya'll. That should be enough to capture the interest of most of you grenade-toting freaks, but if it isn't, then you haven't been reading the rest of the Price family novels.

IF you have, though, it means you know that grandma has a bit of some emotion sorting to do with her husband, and if that isn't enough, then we also need to reintroduce ourselves with the already-familiar grandchildren.

This was very fun.

While that would also have been fine all by itself, we DID get an actual novel that included the OTHER side of the family. Yes. Those people. Craziness ensues. And then there is also a long stretch of the novel that has a certain kind of mouse PoV.

For those who know, you know. It's so good.

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I love coming back to this world! Just like all the other books in this series I was sucked in from page one and flew through it, reading it in one sitting. I love all of Seanan McGuire's worlds she has built, and I think the Incryptid universe is one of my favorites. I would love to be adopted by the Prices and meet the mice, and just live in this world alongside all the Cryptids. The humor is top-notch, I laughed out loud many times, it's action-packed and the stakes kept me on the edge of my seat.
I would definitely recommend starting at the beginning of this series to get the most out of it.

Alice and Thomas have finally found each other, and are on their way home to Buckley. We think they might have a bit of downtime to reacclimate themselves to.. well... Earth. and also with finally being with each other. Alice has spent the last 50 years searching every world she can access, and doing it alone, throwing herself into the most dangerous situations. Thomas has spent all that time taking care of a whole planet's worth of people, trying to keep them alive.

But of course, things couldn't be that easy.. Almost as soon as they arrive home they have to deal with the Covenant and everything that's been happening while Alice has been hoping worlds. I love that we get to see so many of the family members I've come to love! Rose, Verity, Dominic and all the others! I especially loved the short story at the end where we get to see James again and get to see how he's getting along, I love how the Prices just suck people into their lives. Once they decide your family you're stuck with them forever.. I can't wait to see how everything is going to play out in the next book when we get to see Alice and Thomas with their kids, and how they all come to give the Covenant the spanking they deserve!!

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Backpacking Through Bedlam, by author Seanan McGuire, is the 12th installment in the authors Incryptid series. One would hope that you have read Spelunking Through Hell before starting this book as the story picks up right were the previous book left off. The InCryptid series is a witty urban fantasy saga featuring an eccentric family of cryptozoologists who act as a buffer between the humans and the magical creatures living in secret around us.This story is narrated by Alice Healy Price who spent 50 years searching for her husband Thomas Price.

Now that they have been reunited, and now that they have escaped from the bottle dimension where both Thomas, and his adopted daughter Sally Henderson were sent by the Crossroads (which was destroyed by Antimony), it is time to go back home to Buckley Township, Michigan and Galway Woods, where both Alice's mother and grandmother died. It is fair to say that every book before this point was a build up to the next phase in what is to come next. We've know for awhile now, or ever since Verity declared war on the The Covenant of St. George, that they would not go quietly into that good night. Nope, they are out for vengeance.

Without spoiling anything, we now know that Sarah Zellaby, Antimony, and her friends have made it back home after their adventurers. It has been around 3-5 years since Alice disappeared. It is further learned that the Covenant has somehow found out that there is a male Dragon in Manhattan that should have been wiped out a very long time ago. They are now going after other Cryptids hoping to wipe them out and lure out the Dragon not knowing that the Price's are still alive.

So, it is not a shock or surprise to see both Mary Dunlavy and Rose Marshall quickly make an appearance when they learn that Alice, Thomas, and Sally have returned. Rose tells Alice that there is no time for relaxation. The Queen of the Roads is asking Alice to get rid of the Covenant as soon as possible since it was her family who created the problems. Things get interesting when Alice reunites with Verity, and her husband Dominic DeLuca as well as a cute surprise. Sarah Zellaby also makes an unusual appearance which should not surprise anyone.

By the way, McGuire has posted that Sarah Zellaby and Alice Healy-Price were the key characters around whom she built the Incryptid series. Alice has substantial resistance to telepathy, and she has Kairos luck. Kairos luck means that improbable coincidences happen to her reliably. Kairos coincidences can be good luck or bad luck. Alice, who is almost always armed, also never missed once she pulls the trigger. But she have barked off more than she can chew, especially with Margaret Healy, who is out for vengeance on the Price family who is supposed to be dead.

If you have read this series from the start, you know a whole lot about the Aeslin mice who never forget anything and have kept the Price Healy family history. Slight spoilers: At the end of Spelunking, Alice brought Sally to Kevin Price's compound in Oregon. If you know anything about this series, you now that Alice's children, mostly her daugher Jane, hate Alice. Sally stole James' waffles and told the folks there (folks including Aeslin Mice) to tell James that Sally stole his waffles. As you have no doubt guessed from the title, that communication is the subject of the novella. We see more deeply into the civilization and religion of the Aeslin in this story than we ever have before.

I honestly do not know how authors like McGuire are able to churn book after book out without having stories fail spectacularly. I am looking forward to who will be the narrator of the next book in this series as well as finding out how much longer the family is expected to be at war with the Covenant.

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Squee! This is one where even though I got to read an ARC I’m going to buy myself a paper copy so I’ve got a complete set. The series is a light one with cheerfully violent over the top humor. If you’re a fan of the series you’ll love this one too. If you like fun fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously this is a book 12, it’s not where you want to start the series. Go get Discount Armageddon to get started. They’re the kind of books you can devour in a weekend afternoon just to unwind and have a good time,.

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I never am disappointed in a novel by Seanan McGuire. And Backpacking Through Bedlam continues that tradition as a fantastic continuation of the series. The Incryptid books have been among my favorites for years but I must admit to a soft spot once we reached Alice and Thomas. I had been waiting for their story for years and I love the story that we’ve gotten so far. 

One of the best aspects is that the characters struggle. Alice isn’t used to having back up. Thomas is used to being in charge. And they have Sally along as well who’s getting used to being back on Earth. All of them have issues to work out as they learn about the current state of the world and their family. Even though the story is fairly straightforward, it is the complexity fo the relationships and the characters that drive this complex and interesting novel. 

To be frank, I couldn’t put this book down and can’t wait for the next one. The continuous drama and crisis for the characters keeps the story fast paced and enjoyable. If you love the series, you will love this book. If you haven’t read the other books, I do suggest picking up the first one in the Incryptid books but if you do, you’ll fall in love with the characters and the world. It is a fantastic continuation of the series.

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I just reread the whole series, pretty much, which made reading this one even more satisfying.

While not a strictly relaxing read because the book has a) a plot b) an action-y plot, it was a relaxing read because I had a great time. Things made sense! Things were fun! Mysteries were solved! More mysteries were teased! It was pretty much exactly what I wanted as the next instalment in this series. The only problem is now going to be waiting for the next one to come out. It's just so NICE to sit down and read a good long series where everything stays on the rails and the author thinks all kinds of people are people. Including monsters. A+.

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Another solid entry in Seanan McGuire's extremely entertaining InCryptid series! Existing fans of the series will enjoy it (I know I did!), though I’d recommend that a new reader start all the way at the beginning, because the worldbuilding and character interaction which happen in the earlier books really is important, and without it, the story this book tells won’t feel as impactful as it is.

This book picks up where the previous one left off, continuing Alice's story as she finishes up her journeys and gets back into the swing of her long-lost "ordinary" life – though, of course, it doesn’t stay ordinary for long. It was as engaging and funny and thoughtful as ever, but I felt like the pacing was a little lopsided: the first half was a little slow in terms of plot, but the last half accelerates very quickly and packs a lot of action into a short time. I wish that action had been distributed just a little more evenly over the course of the book; I felt engaged through the first half, but the speed of the second half felt like it gave me a little whiplash.

All in all, a good installment of a great series; recommended! Thanks so much to DAW Books and Netgalley for the ARC.

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The preceding novel in Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series, Spelunking Through Hell, paid off a lot of small references to Alice Price-Healy throughout the previous ten books. Having read every one of McGuire’s numerous short stories dealing with the Healy family in Buckley I’ve lived with this world and these characters longer than the novel-only readers. Spelunking Through Hell pays off *everything*, but it many ways it doesn’t feel quite as much like an Incyptid novel because, well, Alice is hopping between dimensions to find Thomas. Calculated Risks was similar in that regard as the first book to actively take place not in our world. This will all make more sense if you read in the series in order, which I heartily encourage.

The first third of Backpacking Through Bedlam suffers (which is not quite the right word) that same issue. Alice found Thomas in Spelunking Through Hell. She gets him home in this book. Once she does, I felt my tension as a reader dissolve (much as that of Alice and Thomas does as well). We’re back in Buckley, back in familiar environs, and there is just enough time for Alice to info-dump some knowledge onto another character before McGuire circles back on everything else that has been going on while Alice has been hopping between dimensions and Sarah and Antimony were destroying an existential parasite and then finding their way back to this dimension.

Remember way back in Book 5 (Chaos Choreography) when Verity exposed her family on national television and threatened the Covenant of Saint George and then in the next book (Magic for Nothing) her younger sister Antimony went undercover in a Covenant training school? Well - all of that (*waves hands at story*) is coming home to roost.

In a number of ways, a book review is not and perhaps should not be a discussion of what the story is about or, gasp, “the plot”. That idea works, I think, for just about everything except the twelfth novel in a long running genre series, almost regardless of genre.

Now, in certain series you know exactly what you are going to get - in some cases beat by beat, and other than acknowledging that the author delivers the expected experience that’s really all that needs to said.

Seanan McGuire has been playing around with that a bit in her Incryptid series by shifting protagonists every two to three books, which has allowed a recalibration of a character’s personal stakes in a story following a previous book. Verity is not Alex who is not Antimony who is sure as heck not Sarah - they each have their own perspectives, despite being siblings (Sarah not withstanding) - so the common experience has been the particular world and how the Price family interacts with the supernatural around them and, ultimately, in conflict with The Covenant of Saint George, the misguidedly evil organization of self-righteous murder.

There is a certain amount of comfort in reading the Incryptid series. The expectation is not so much that we can color in the numbers of the plot or the revelation ourselves, but the tone and the acceptance and belonging that is felt within a very small and tight knit tribe fighting against increasingly large and impossible odds.

That’s where Backing Through Bedlam takes its place - with a world-shattering conclusion to the last Antimony novel, a trip through inhuman dimensions with Sarah Zellaby, and Alice Price bringing her almost mythological husband home after fifty years - Backpacking Through Bedlam brings a whole lot of story together and begins to restitch what seemed like multiple books running on tracks that started parallel but continued to diverge and diverge back into one larger fight. It’s impressive.

Spoilers but not spoilers for a long running series that has not advertised an “explosive conclusion” but Backing Through Bedlam continues to set up that one larger fight. I wouldn’t expect readers who have followed along this deep into a series to anticipate a true ending - though there have certainly been multiple stops along the way where we could reasonably have been satisfied if that’s where McGuire chose to bring this to a close - but the Alice story has been too important to Seanan McGuire to not get to this point and beyond. For those readers who have been delighted with the Incryptid series for years, you will continue to be delighted by Backpacking Through Bedlam. Readers who may have felt that Spelunking Through Hell was a bit of a diversion will be satisfied once Alice and company return to Earth (that’s a sentence I wrote).

Backpacking Through Bedlam is an absolute delight.

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As always, a thrilling chapter in one of my favorite series. I love how each entry builds and fleshes out the overall story of the family while delving into the perspective of each narrator(s). Amazing!

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The entire Incryptid series is enthralling, and Backpacking through Bedlam is no exception. I love the relationship between Alice and Thomas. McGuire doesn't make everything perfect; the characters honestly deal with their issues and grow stronger through the trials they face.

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Thank you for the opportunity to advance read this book.

I've been invested in this series and was happy to see how the InCrypid / Price family continues. As you'd expect the writing is wonderful and the story well told.

It's interesting to see the world through Alice and Thomas (and Sally). because things have changed and they kind of seem like time travelers to me, oddly enough.

I would say that this book is not a standalone and would require reading at least the book prior (Backpacking through Bedlam).

another great addition to the series.

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I just couldn't finish this one. I've re-started it five times now and haven't made it past the first few chapters. I don't know why. I should like it, but I just can't get into this one.

I won't post to my socials since I was unable to finish and will come back to update my thoughts if I circle back.

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I felt like alice and thomas really start to hit their groove in this entry. Lots of action, and check ins with the other family members. I have enjoyed this world and look forward to seeing where it goes next.

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"Seanan McGuire's New York Times-bestselling and Hugo Award-nominated urban fantasy InCryptid series continues with the twelfth book following the Price family, cryptozoologists who study and protect the creatures living in secret all around us.

Reunion, noun:
1. The state of being united again.

Reconciliation, noun:
1. An act of reconciling, as when former enemies agree to an amiable truce.
2. The process of making consistent or compatible.
3. See also "impossible."

Alice Price-Healy gave up her life for fifty years to focus completely on the search for her missing husband. The danger of focus like that is that it leaves little room for thinking about what happens after…and now that she’s finally managed to find Thomas, she has no idea what she’s supposed to do next. The fact that he comes with a surrogate daughter who may or may not have some connection to Alice’s recently adopted grandson is just icing on the complicated cake.

So the three of them are heading for the most complicated place in the universe: they're going home.

But things on Earth have changed while Alice, Thomas, and Sally have been away. The Covenant of St. George, antagonized by Verity's declaration of war and Sarah's temporary relocation of an entire college campus, is trying to retake North America from the cryptids and cryptozoologists who've been keeping the peace for the past hundred years. And they’re starting in New York.

Alice and company have barely been back for an hour before the Ocean Lady and the Queen of the Routewitches are sending them to New York to help, and they find themselves embroiled in the politics of dragons, kidnappings, and of course, the most dangerous people of all: family.

Getting "back to normal" may be the hardest task Alice has undertaken yet."

Seanan's fiftieth release of the year. I kid. Slightly. OK, it's only the third if you include the anthology above, but that's already one a month!

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What can I say about this author. I have enjoyed every book she has written and this one is no different. In this book Alice has to deal with her feelings and adjustment of stopping a 50 year search for her husband and learning to live with him again in a normal life. Mind you the Price family is anything but normal. I love the cryptid series and this one is from the same mold as the others. There is chaos, adventure, danger and two damaged people learning to love again. It was excellent. As a side note there is a novella in the end that was just as funny, creative and enjoyable as the main book. I love living in the minds of the Price family. The author's humor comes out in every page and I find myself laughing constantly. I really can't say more without spoiling it, so I won't. Buy this book and enjoy. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The twelfth entry in the InCryptid series is slowed by the story being split into two halves that don't fit as well together as they might. The first half has Alice Price and her newly-reunited husband Thomas completing the task they set themselves at the end of book 11, which contains further adventures across dimensions. The second half brings the story back to New York where book 5 first introduced us to Alice. Time has passed but the war with the Covenant of St. George is in full swing. While still a humorous and action-packed story in the InCryptid universe, the combination of the two stories as one volume didn't hold together as well as previous installments. A novella included at the end would have been better placed in the second half of the novel as part of it rather than separate as I found myself confused during the second half of the novel by references to things that had happened which weren't explained but were somewhat illuminated by the novella. For dedicated readers of the series.

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*ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been a huge fan of this series since it started. Fast paced unban fantasy with a quirky (and sometimes crazy) family that you can’t help wanting to know more about the more you read.

This newest installation is a continuation of Alice’s story from the previous book. In reading it, I’m not sure if this is a transition to be a series that is more about the entire family together, or if it was just a two book arc because Alice’s story is so complex. Either way, it was a very satisfying continuation from the end of the previous book. There is interplanetary travel, giant animals and plants, some familiar faces from previous series, and some entities we’ve encountered before. All in all, this is a great book and a launch point back to being solely in one place to fight the battles to come.

There are still, of course, many questions to be answered, bad guys to vanquish, and new types of beings to introduce and I look forward to getting to read the next in the series!

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I was so excited to receive this book as an ARC - I absolutely love this series that follows a family of cryptozoologists. While Backpacking through Bedlam is the 12th book in the series, each is written from different family members point-of-views and it really keeps the series interesting. In this book Alice and her husband have returned home from dimension hopping. Instead of much down time to reacclimate to their large blended family, they are sent into New York City to stop the covenant from targeting dragons.

One of my favorite things about this series is how much I love the side characters just as much as members of the Price family. They are written with so much personality and there's such a diverse species range. It was fun watching Alice and Thomas jump back into their family life and immediately hit the ground running into a new disaster. I will say there was a lot at the beginning that really just seemed like wrapping up the last book in the series. The pacing doesn't really pick up until halfway through when we get to NYC and into the real plot of the book. But oh man, the dragon nest and family don't disappoint once you reach it. I've always loved this branch of cryptids. Watching Sally get a crash course in not only the family history, but cryptids in general, was enjoyable. I like how complicated her relationship is with Alice and Thomas, it is well written how Alice isn't necessarily jealous of her but uncomfortable with how much Sally and Thomas have shared the past few years. It's hard to just jump back into somebody's life after 50 years and expect nothing to have changed, there's definitely an adjustment that McGuire does well at covering. Can't wait to see how the reunion with more family members goes in future books.

As a bonus, the novella at the end was fantastic. It was great to follow new characters like James and one of the Aeslin mice. I especially enjoyed the look into the Aeslin mice colony, I would love even more from them!

I definitely recommend this book, and highly suggest you start at the beginning of the series. If nothing else, the previous book - Spelunking Through Hell - is a must read before this one. Seanan McGuire delivered a solid addition to the series again, and I look forward to seeing what comes next for the Price family. Thank you for the ARC from DAW and NetGalley for my opinions.

4.5 rounded up to 5

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Alice and Thomas are back in a new adventure that transitions nicely from the dimension hopping back to earth. Now reunited, Alice and Thomas need to find a new home for all the people trapped in the crossroad's bottle dimension. After everyone is safe, they will be free to return home to their family and the Covenant trouble that is growing in New York.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it felt a bit like a transition novel. I have been anticipating Alice and Thomas' return to their family since Alice's story began. As always, the Aeslin mice never disappoint.

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