Review – Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire

Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire Feature Image
Calculated Risks

Book Title: Calculated Risks

Book Description: “The tenth book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans. Just when Sarah Zellaby, adopted Price cousin and telepathic ambush predator, thought that things couldn’t get worse, she’s had to go and prove herself wrong. After being kidnapped and manipulated by her birth family, she has undergone a transformation called an instar, reaching back to her Apocritic origins to metamorphize. While externally the same, she is internally much more powerful, and much more difficult to control. Even by herself. After years of denial, the fact that she will always be a cuckoo has become impossible to deny. Now stranded in another dimension with a handful of allies who seem to have no idea who she is–including her cousin Annie and her maybe-boyfriend Artie, both of whom have forgotten their relationship–and a bunch of cuckoos with good reason to want her dead, Sarah must figure out not only how to contend with her situation, but with the new realities of her future. What is she now? Who is she now? Is that person someone she can live with? And when all is said and done, will she be able to get the people she loves, whether or not they’ve forgotten her, safely home?”

Book Author: Seanan McGuire

Publisher Logo:

Date published: February 23, 2021

  • Writing - 8/10
  • Development - 8/10
  • Overall - 8/10


Calculated Risks is the tenth novel in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, and once again we’re delving back into the mind of Sarah Zellaby, a Cuckoo by birth, and a Price by adoption.

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Calculated Risks: An Out of This World Experience (Literally)


It’s time to hop back into the world of Cryptids and the supernatural, in Calculated Risks. This is the tenth novel in Seanan McGuire‘s InCryptid series. And the second novel following Sarah Zellaby, one of the younger Price members.

Sarah is a Cuckoo by birth, and a Price by adoption. Her nature makes her a telepathic predator with a predilection towards math. While her upbringing makes her a cryptozoologist and a person who knows the difference between right and wrong.

Last we saw (Imaginary Numbers), Sarah had to make an impossible decision, knowing that there would be a cost no matter what she did. Well, it feels unlikely that she predicted the situation she’d end up in next. Now she’s stuck in another dimension, with only some of her family. None of whom remember who she is.


Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire
Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire

Calculated Risks is another whirlwind addition to this series, while undoubtedly being the most unique novel to date. When we’re talking about a series full of sorcerers, bogeymen, dragons, and cults, that’s an impressive feat.

Sarah’s perspective is the only non-human perspective of the whole series, at least so far. That automatically makes for a unique read. As does the setting of this book. This also happens to be the only book that isn’t set in our dimension – quite a twist, I know.

Throw in the complications revolving around how they got here, and suddenly there’s actually quite a lot going on. And even more for Sarah to work through. That being said, it was a delight to learn more about her, and about the secondary characters included.

Calculated Risks went a long way in explaining Cuckoo biology and history, in ways that I never would have expected. The temporary view into another dimension was another fascinating addition and leaves me hopeful that we’ll see more in the future.


Calculated Risks had their ups and downs in terms of pacing, which is a relief. Sarah’s story is not conducive to all action and fighting. She’s a math nerd. She likes doing math and taking the time to sit and think by herself.

All of that translated into the writing, as there really were things that she needed to work out by herself. Likewise, there’s plenty of room for the conversation to be found. That’s a positive thing here, as there are some interesting characters worth poking.

Sarah’s character grew up a lot over the course of this book. As a telepath, she was never quite what I would call naive – that wouldn’t be possible. But she was alarming close, all things considered. This novel removed that naivety and replaced it with self-confidence.


Calculated Risks is absolutely worth picking up, especially for all those InCryptid fans out there. It’s fun and unique, in a series that is well known for being both. Though it does leave me with the question: what will the next novel be about, and who will be the main perspective? It feels like time for another switch, don’t you think?


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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