Tricks for Free

InCryptid, Book #7

By Seanan McGuire

ISBN:  9780698183582

Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar          



Penance, noun:

  1. Punishment for past actions.
  2. An attempt to pay for what can’t be bought.
  3. See also “exile.”

Antimony Price is on the run. With the Covenant on her tail and her family still in danger, she needs to get far, far away from anyone who might recognize her—including her own mice. For the first time in a long time, a Price is flying without a safety net. Where do you go when you need to disappear into a crowd without worrying about attracting attention? An amusement park, of course.

Some people would call Lowryland the amusement park. It’s one of the largest in Florida, the keystone of the Lowry entertainment empire…but for Annie, it’s a place to hide. She’s just trying to keep her head down long enough to come up with a plan that will get her home without getting anyone killed. No small order when she’s rooming with gorgons and sylphs, trying to placate frustrated ghosts, and rushing to get to work on time.

Then the accidents begin. The discovery of a dead man brings Annie to the attention of the secret cabal of magic users running Lowryland from behind the scenes. They want the fire that sleeps in her fingers. They want her on their side. They want to help her—although their help, like everything else, comes with a price.

No plan. Minimal backup. No way out. Annie’s about to get a crash course in the reality behind the pretty facade. If she’s lucky, she’ll survive the experience.



“You can’t do this alone. Nobody can. Nobody should have to.” – Alice Healy.

She is alone. Antimony “Annie” Price, also known as Annie Brown or Melody West, is alone; not quite alone, but she is without the backup of her family and the safety net that represents the memory of the Aeslin Mice. After the events of Magic For Nothing, where Annie went as a spy to the Covenant of St. George and then sent by them as a spy to a Carnival in the U.S.A., where she ends up burning it to the ground to save the workers (both humans and cryptids) and reveals her identity to the Covenant. Now we find Annie working at Lowryland in Florida (a fictional assessment park competitor to Disneyland) where she is trying to stay hidden among the tourists and workers of the park. She decides to work with her false identity of Melody West, who was a normal cheerleader during High School and from time to time still wishes she was that person; out of luck she finds her Squat leader and manages to get a job and finds her roller derby friend, Fern, already working at the amusement park.

Over the course of time that Annie spends at Lowryland, she barely gets by as she is just working to stay alive and hidden, but her psyche is not the best. Another persistent problem that she has, is the fire in her hands. More often she is waking up with burn sheets and dreams of fire, and she is getting tired of containing the fire on the worse days when the clients of the park are at their worst.

But one day, after she and Fern find a dead boy after closing, Melody gets noticed by the Cabal of magic-users who rule over Lowryland. The Cabal consists of a Sorcerer, a Routewitch, a Trainspotter, Ambulomancer, and witches (Glossary here). Fearing that fire might get out of control one day, Annie decides to accept the offer from the Sorcerer to be his apprentice and learn to control her magic, hoping to get some control while she stays hidden at Lowryland.

Still, things are not right, more accidents start to happen around Lowryland and workers and tourist are starting to get hurt. It’s time for Antimony Price to step back into the spotlight and save the world once again.

“If you live a lie too long, it turns into the truth. Be careful which ones you decide deserve that kind of power.” – Enid Healy.

I loved the Incryptid series and every one of the Price family members, giving that I keep coming back for every new book and this time Tricks For Free didn’t let me down, it was great.  Every member of the Price/ Healy family is different, the Price children are very different from one another and their own arcs in the series are so different. I keep liking Annie’s stories, her way of thinking and doing things are so different from Verity and Alex, but at the end they are Price, and they are always trying to do the best and save as many people as possible, humans or non-humans.

I really like Urban Fantasy stories and while the Incryptid series falls in it, the majority of the books in the series have centered around the more cryptid and lizard type creatures, but over the last books the series has been hinting more about the use of magic and how that plays a part in the Incryptid series. I liked that Seanan McGuire started mentioning witches and Routewitches in the past stories, but in Tricks for Free we finally get to meet other magic users and see them perform magic. I love magic and it was great to see how magic was portrayed in the Incryptid series.

“There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place. it just so happens that this knife belongs in your spleen, ” – Enid Healy

Annie’s story started in the short stories that Seanan McGuire published over different anthologies and some free ones, so it is sometimes a little difficult to follow up the characters that have never appeared in the book series, but already have a long story of knowing and interacting with Annie previously. Some of those characters appear in this book, and I recommend the readers go back and find those stories to get a better idea of some relationships in this book.

Gorgons are one of the cryptids have had a long relationship with the Price/Healy family, and in this story, we get to see another member of the community that Alex helped in his story. It’s great when previous storylines and plots start to connect with in the Price siblings stories.

Tricks for Free has some hints for secrets that have been mentioned around the Price Family, and we finally get little more answers, but at the same time, we get new questions about the past of Thomas and Alice Price. A thing that we finally see is the crossroads and how they have been connected to the Price/Healy family for a long time. Not only do we get the crossroads, but in this book, we see more ghosts and see them interact with Annie. We get to see Aunt Mary again, and we finally get Aunt Rose to help in the main series, not just the in the short stories.

“The thing to rememberer about allies is that they want you to be an ally right back. if you’re not a friend to your friends, you’re going to be an enemy eventually.” – Alice Healy.

Like many of the other books by Seanan McGuire, Tricks for Free comes with a short story at the end. In this case, the short story centers around the travel that Annie’s Aeslin mice had to make to get back to the Price family in Oregon. It was fun to read the point of view of the mice while they try to get home back in a busy airport.

To save the day Annie had to make difficult decisions in this book, choices that she and all members of her family were told not make, but still, she needed to save her friends. I think that this choice will be the next plot of the story to come, if not, I can’t wait for the Covenant to make their entrance to North America.

“Sometimes leaving survivors isn’t the kind option. sometimes its a warning to others.” Frances Brown,

If you are a fan of Seanan McGuire or any of her books, then I recommend you, Tricks For Free. This time, Annie Price is separated from her family, she feels trapped around so many people that she will do anything to get a little help with her life and magic abilities out of control, even if she has to smile all day to the customers of a theme park. Nothing is free in this life and Annie is going to find out how much things cost, but is she willing to pay?