Review – The Myth Manifestation (SPI Files #5) by Lisa Shearin

Reviewed by: E

The agents of Supernatural Protection & Investigations (SPI) protect people from predatory supernaturals. This time, we’re the ones who need protection.

New York is one of the most popular convention destinations in the world—for humans and supernaturals. Every hundred years, rulers of the world’s supernatural races come together to negotiate and renew a peace treaty. Meeting in the same hotel are the governors of our world’s goblin and elf colonies. SPI is saddled with the security nightmare of keeping the living delegates alive and the undead delegates from becoming permanently deceased. We’ve got our work cut out for us.

I’m Makenna Fraser, seer for SPI. Our security nightmare becomes real when monsters from the delegates’ mythologies begin mysteriously appearing in the flesh to hunt delegates from every side of the debate. And when the hotel gets sucked into another dimension, there’s no escape.

We discover that we’re all pieces in an elaborate and deadly game. A game about to spill out into the real world. Failing to escape is game over and not an option. We have to save the world—but first, we have to save ourselves.
This blurb came from Goodreads.

I was so excited a few months ago to read one of Shearin’s blog posts and discover the release date for The Myth Manifestation was approaching. I have enjoyed this series from day one because it combines so many of the things I love; complex characterization, slow growing romance, high stakes, fully fleshed out world which continues to grow, ancient grudges, and politics. At this stage in the series I don’t recommend you start with this one but either the introductorary novella or book 1. There will be some spoilers for the earlier books in this review.

Makenna was a small town mountain country woman whose family has a tradition of helping protect humans so when she found herself with the urge to do the same but no interest in filling one of their traditional jobs, she moved to New York City where her abilities as a Seer have provided her with a living but also drastically shortened her life expectancy. Not because Seeing is dangerous in and of itself but because the various supernatural criminals and beings who rely on magic for concealment would rather she wasn’t around to See through their magic. Makenna currently works in the North American branch of SPI, founded by a dragon(!) who has a vested interest in keeping humans as safe and unknowing about the supernatural world as possible. In hopes of keeping Makenna alive longer than her predecessors she is permanently partnered with the best SPI agent in North America, Ian. With all of the dangerous situations Makenna encounters I was glad to see them develop a friendly working relationship instead of one based in romance. This left the door open for each to have other interests as the series progressed *rubs hands in glee*.

In addition to the dynamics between Makenna, Ian, SPI agents, and several other prominent characters I really enjoy the spin Shearin has given to her Goblins by making them tall and sexy instead of the more Tolkienesk grotesque figures. In the same vein Shearin’s Elves and Goblins both have their good seeds and their bad seeds in regards to humans, either other, and other supernatural creatures. All of these factors came to play in The Myth Manifestation along with some fascinating and tense new developments not to mention potential answers about the status of Makenna’s personal life involving a certain powerful Goblin which kept me glued to my reader.

At first I was wondering what would make a convention of all the supernatural races dangerous **cue sarcasm** but then as I learned all of the work put into keeping the delegates, rulers, and unknowing humans safe I was pretty impressed and started wondering who was going to try to break the rules. Then things really got exciting as creatures out of supernatural myths and legends started appearing, and they weren’t offering three wishes. To make matters worse all of a sudden things, such as magic, surveillance systems, and communications systems, all things designed to make the convention safe in the hotel weren’t working properly.

I loved seeing the SPI agents, Rake and his staff, and a few other individuals not known for their cooperation working together to first figure out how then solve why and who. Politics, ancient hatreds, and maybe new enemies all combined to provide a large number of possible suspects and motives. I am not going to lie, there were a few occasions when I was really crossing my fingers and hoping for the best for certain individuals. And let me say the discovery of how the creatures were entering the hotel has the possibility to lead to some problems down the road for SPI and their efforts to keep humans safe and unknowing. I also thoroughly enjoyed the twist at the end so I am really looking forward to what will hopefully be coming as a result.

The Myth Manifestation continues to demonstrate why Shearin has been on my auto-buy list for years. She is able to combine humor, mystery, suspense, slow burn romance, high stakes, and her own spin on the supernatural into a cohesive whole. I am addicted to finding out what will happen next in the SPI Case Files.

I give The Myth Manifestation an A.

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