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InCryptid #0.09

We Both Go Down Together

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With their second child due to arrive any day, it would be reasonable for Jonathan and Frances Healy to stay safe at home. Unfortunately, the world has other ideas. A postcard from the mysterious coastal town of Gentling, Maine has Jonathan packing his bags and preparing for an adventure—and when did Fran ever pass up an adventure?

But the people of Gentling aren't just ordinary fishermen and sailors: they're the descendants of finfolk who fell in love with the humans who pulled them from the sea, and they have long since settled into a gentle rhythm of a life lived between the wet and the dry. Only now, someone or something is stealing their babies from the shore, endangering the next generation.

Old obligations and new obligations will collide, and the newest member of the Healy family will join the fight...or will she? Because it's not just the babies of the finfolk who are in danger, and unless they're careful, Johnny and Fran might find themselves losing another child...

57 pages, ebook

First published November 19, 2013

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About the author

Seanan McGuire

469 books15.5k followers
Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).

I do not check this inbox. Please don't send me messages through Goodreads; they won't be answered. I don't want to have to delete this account. :(

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 55 reviews
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,643 reviews1,512 followers
February 6, 2017
Fran is hilarious. Most women in their 8th month of pregnancy would just stay home and try to stay comfortable. But not our Fran if Johnny is headed out on an adventure to the coast to meet with Mermaids or Finfolk well then she is going too.

This was a really interesting take of the Mermaid lore and I enjoyed some of the worldbuilding this added to the incryptid world. Also this was a great book for the mice who actually went against a God's wishes and stowed away with Fran and Jonathan so they wouldn't miss the birth of the next Healy.

I didn't guess who the bad guy was, but it made sense once it was revealed. Another great short with some interesting characters and new lore.
Profile Image for Maria Dimitrova.
745 reviews142 followers
February 4, 2017
The more I get to experience the cryptid world through these stories the more fascinated I become. The finfolk are incredible but being among humans has brought them much suffering. I bet that had they never known a life other than the one nature has given them they would have been content and much of this story wouldn't have happened at all. And while I can understand what drove Angus to do what he did, I can't forgive him. Still the punishment Jonathan came up with is quite fitting.

On a brighter note - Alice is finally born! HAIL!
Profile Image for Angela.
3,199 reviews371 followers
December 28, 2016
This was so incredibly interesting. A whole town built and settled by (mostly) cryptids. It makes sense, and I find myself wondering if it still exists in Verity's time. Gentling is a town like no other, situated on the sea for a very specific reason. The folk here are tied to it in ways that I won't spoil.

But I can say that I love how cryptid life has just as many, or more, natural difficulties and challenges as human life. Often in books it is portrayed as nearly the same, with a few differences, and a few alternate difficulties (like not being able to go out in sunlight or something). Here these are obviously different species with different needs, requirements, and desires. I love learning about their biologies and cultures and traditions.

Even though the conflict nearly broke me, especially after what happened in The First Fall, I really enjoyed this story. You can feel the heartache still in Jonathan and Fran, but also the healing and love between them. They've pulled each other through, and are continuing to do so. I love seeing their relationship continue to evolve, and how they continue to support each other.

And thankfully this ends in a much more positive place, so maybe I can start to heal from the trauma that came before, too.

Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
October 10, 2016
Fran may be eight months pregnant with their second child but that doesn't mean she's going to let Jonathan go off on an adventure without her so when they get a request for help from a group of finfolk the couple leap into action (well, with as much energy as a pregnant lady can muster anyway!). When they arrive in Gentling they discover that someone has been stealing the finfolk babies, an issue that hits particularly close to home for Fran and Jonathan, especially when she goes into labour early and their newborn daughter Alice becomes another of the stolen children.

Seanan McGuire is always introducing us to new creatures and here we get to meet the finfolk who seem to be a hybrid somewhere between mermaids and selkies, they are born human but as they age they eventually get called back to the sea and lose their humanity to become water creatures once more. It's a tough life for them because they don't get to choose how long they stay on dry land and they have no option but to leave any human members of their family behind when they return to the water but they are a gentle folk who just want to be able to live in peace.

I'm having so much fun reading these short stories, both Fran and Jonathan are on fine form in this instalment and I loved seeing their reaction when they found out their daughter was missing. Fran is a fierce mama bear who will do anything to protect her cub and Jonathan is just as dangerous. They've lost one child already and there is nothing on earth that will keep them from their second one so woe betide anyone who crosses them. Add in some extra humour from our favourite Aeslin mice and this story was one of my favourites about this couple. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of mischief Alice is going to get up to now she's put in an appearance, I think she'll keep them on their toes from now onwards!
Profile Image for Ivy.
1,482 reviews77 followers
June 4, 2015
Wonderful story. Would be interesting and fun to live in Gentling. Nice that Alice was born. Hope the Healy's have more fun adventures!

Recommended for any fan of Seanan McGuire.
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews247 followers
February 24, 2014

As most of you know, i love the author's writing style, as well as the amazing world building that she creates!

Her October Daye series is at the time my favourite urban fantasy series; and her Incryptid series are also on my list of books to be immediately bought upon release.
Although _ i admit _ the cover of Discount Armageddon (the first of the series), was responsible for me not immediately buying it....O_O

In it, we have Verity in all her ballroom dance attire...splendour.
Her pink splendour!
But do not let yourself be swayed by the cover! As i initially was!
The girl can kick ass as well as she can dance a Tango!
And then there's the Aeslin Mice.

NO ONE should go through life without meeting the fantastical, whimsical, (also loud) and devoted Aeslin Mice!

Read More Here
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,652 reviews216 followers
January 2, 2016
The best story so far. Jonathan and Fran arrive to a small seaside town because the Healys got a postcard asking for their help. In a couple of sentences you find out that the Healys when they were members of the Covenant killed any monster they could find. Jonathan feels responsible even though it hardly his sin.

Back the the town. Nobody would be surprised to see I loved this one. So, you have a town full of finfolk. When they are young they are human or human-like, but the proximity to the sea speeds up the process or return. The elders go back to the sea losing their human selves. The town is hidden, they discourage visitors. Anything sounds familiar? I loved it.

Anyway, the finfolk need help and who better than the Healys to help them.

Hail the arrival of the Remarkably Noisy Priestess! (I love the Aeslin mice)
September 20, 2014
{September 19th, 2014} UPDATE

I keep losing my place in this short story for some reason. However every time I read and reread it's pages, it becomes more heartbreakingly beautiful to me. I have to say this is probably one of my faves of this series of novellas. It features the Finfolk, Selkies and/or the Merpeople--seems to me it's a combination between them. One reason for my losing my spot very often is that it's the longest I've read so far it seems. But it's rich in story and detail.
Profile Image for Nerdy Werewolf.
616 reviews33 followers
May 18, 2018
"Hail! Hail the arrival of the Remarkably Noisy Priestess!" rejoiced the mice.

The Healys have been called to a mermaid town to find missing finfolk babies...and welcome a new addition to their own family. I really liked the mythology that was weaved around this version of mermaids (finfolk). They start out looking human and eventually evolve into giant fish-things. There's a bit of half-person/half-fish in their mid life that can look like a "traditional" mermaid. Cool, cool.
Profile Image for Nichole.
836 reviews19 followers
January 15, 2018
Fran and Jonathan are headed to a town called Gentling. The residents are mainly finfolk. Babies have been disappearing from Gentling, and the finfolk would like The Healy's to find them.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
November 21, 2016
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

Fran is again eight months pregnant, but this won't stop her to join Jonathan who's been called to a village filled with finfolk.

It was nice to see Fran and Jonathan slightly better after their tragedy. I also liked how this short story, which was rather longer than the usual stories, introduces us to species of Cryptids that I haven't met in the main series (yet). But of course, mer-people couldn't not be a part of this universe. Nice little mystery to solve for Fran and Jonathan.
Profile Image for L.
890 reviews31 followers
July 6, 2021
Jonathan and Fran Healy

To begin, let me lay out what I will be reviewing here. Seanan McGuire's website has a page entitled Incryptid Short Stories. About two dozen stories are listed here. These stories are also listed as books in the Goodreads Incryptid Series page. Neither of these lists is complete: McGuire has also published many stories on her Patreon site. They can be found in the Bibliography page on her site. I don't know if the Bibliography is complete with respect to Patreon stories.

Most of the stories on the Short Stories page are available for free download there. Some of them, however, were published in anthologies, and to get these you need to buy or borrow the book. For access to the Patreon stories you need to sign up as a supporter at Patreon. The minimum charge is $1.50. That's a recurring charge, but you only need to sign up once for access to all currently available stories. The Short Stories page is organized by the primary characters and time period. Here I will be reviewing the stories listed under the heading Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown (1928-1945). These are:

The Flower of Arizona (published in Westward Weird)
One Hell of a Ride (free download)
No Place Like Home (free download)
Stingers and Strangers (published in Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West)
Married in Green (free download)
Sweet Poison Wine (free download)
The First Fall (free download)
Loch and Key (free download)
We Both Go Down Together (free download)
Oh Pretty Bird (free download)
Bury Me In Satin (free download)
Broken Paper Hearts (free download)
The Star of New Mexico (free download)

As you can see, there's a lot of material here. Even though it is formatted as stories, the stories in totality (in the order listed) are pretty much a novel about Jonathan and Fran. Of the two anthologized stories, which you would have to buy or borrow, the first, The Flower of Arizona, is entirely dispensible. You will read most of it in the other stories. Stingers and Strangers, in contrast, is a substantial story and important both to the continuity of the Jonathan and Fran stories and to the Incryptid series as a whole. What's more, the anthology Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West is pretty good, with a star-studded list of science fiction authors. So, if you're going to buy or borrow something, I would recommend it.

Well, how are the stories? They're excellent, of course. If you really want the backstory on the Healy/Price family, this is the place to look. Although the stories focus on Jonathan and Fran (more Fran than Jonathan), Jonathan's parents Alexander and Enid Healy are important characters as well, and you will pick up several hints about their backstories. Fran doesn't have a regular family, but the members of the circus/carnival where she performed before Jonathan swept her away are also important characters.

Of the main Incryptid novels, I have only read Discount Armageddon, and I was a bit surprised by the Jonathan and Fran stories. They are not as light-hearted as Discount Armageddon. Although McGuire's trademark humor and irreverence permeate the stories, they are more somber than I expected. In fact, there is tragedy, especially in the so-short-it-is-barely-there Broken Paper Hearts. I was also surprised at how important the Aeslin Mice were. In Discount Armageddon they are mostly just comic relief -- delightful, but not terribly necessary to the plot. In the Jonathan and Fran stories I can think of at least three occasions where they play crucial roles in the plot. The most important occurs when Alice, The Exceptionally Noisy Priestess, is born.

So, yeah, if you're into the Incryptid books, you should definitely read these stories.
Profile Image for Liz (Quirky Cat).
4,331 reviews66 followers
August 2, 2021
Next up on the list of Seanan McGuire short stories, we have We Both Go Down Together, part of her InCryptid series. This is number 0.09 in the series, which means I really am making progress in their story! Though I'm not sure how great that is, all things considered. At this point, I don't want to have to say goodbye to them. (I'm so bad, I know).

If you enjoy the InCryptid series and want to see what a mermaid would look like in this world, it is time to dive into it! We Both Go Down Together reminds me of a blend of mermaids and Innsmouth, which feels about right.

Johnny was all set to go off on this mission by himself, but Fran is a stubborn woman. So even though she is due to give birth within the month, she is very insistently coming along for the ride. Only to find that they've been summoned for a concern that feels very personal for the two of them.

Okay, now THIS is my favorite Fran/Johnny story to date. I love the subject/critters, I loved the plot, and I loved the action. It was a perfect storm of events, and frankly, I would love to see more of this town. I know that it probably isn't possible, but it has captured my imagination, so I can't help but hope.

Read more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Profile Image for Skye.
1,395 reviews2 followers
August 27, 2020
I was kind of worried about how this story was going to go. After the events of The First Fall, I was expecting something equally tragic to happen to the next child born to Fran and Jonathan. It was a little bit tense and not so great. But I really didn’t have to worry as much as I thought I did.

As with many of the prequel short story stories that I’ve read in the InCryptid series thus far, We Both Go Down Together introduces a whole new group of cryptids. In the case of the Finfolk, I actually found their plight to be incredibly heart wrenching and sad. It was seriously tragic and made my heart hurt a little. It reminded me a lot of tales of the Selkies too…

Although the Finfolk have a bit of a tragic back story, there was something about this story that was really lovely. It provided a little hope for the future and left me wanting to know how Alice was likely to grow up after her auspicious welcome into the world.
Profile Image for Ronnie.
428 reviews4 followers
May 5, 2020
3.5 stars.

This is the first story where I don't really get at all where the title came from. It also didn't grab me as much as the others, though I can't say for sure why. I did like it. More worldbuilding - the lives of finfolk was fairly interesting, as was their town. Makes you wonder what's become of them in the present time. The Aeslin Mice were useful, which is nice. All in all, enjoyable.
Profile Image for K.F..
590 reviews6 followers
February 7, 2017
Well that was twisted--then again, as Mira grant, McGuire wrote the creepiest mermaid shirt ever, so I shouldn't be surprised
Profile Image for Sandy.
963 reviews8 followers
May 28, 2017
Jonathan and Fran go to Gentling to help the mermaids.
Oh the mice. ❤
Profile Image for Louisa.
7,174 reviews43 followers
June 24, 2017
Great short story, life is back in full swing for them, and yeah, there was a threat, but they won! Can't wait to read more!
Profile Image for Krystle Bates.
23 reviews
November 15, 2017
If you have read Seanan’s short in the Gods of H. P. Lovecraft anthology you might notice some similarities when it comes to the cryptids in this short.
Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,712 reviews708 followers
July 27, 2015
It's a free short story from Seanan McGuire, 0.09 in the InCryptid urban fantasy series, and revolving around a family trying to atone for the mistakes of their ancestors.

If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the InCryptid books on my website of the live-and-let-live Healys who have seen the error of their ways when it comes to huntin' down monsters.

My Take
It's more of a mystery than anything else, one that Fran and Johnny AND the Aeslin mice will solve.
"…a mother who gets to choose her children will always know that she chose to love them."
A fascinating interpretation of what it means to be a mermaid. A species of finfolk that is both loving and homey — and vicious.

Fortunately, McGuire keeps you so busy reading that you haven't the time to mourn their life cycle, although McGuire does keep it in context, from a finfolk perspective, anyway.

The Story
Fran is 8-plus months pregnant when Jonathan gets a message that he needs to get to Gentling, Maine. And if Johnny thinks he's leaving Fran behind in this mosquito-ridden sauna, well, he's got another think coming.

The Characters
Jonathan (the God of Unexpected Situations) has an obligation to the finfolk of Gentling, Maine. Fran, the Priestess of Unexpected Violence, is eight-plus months pregnant and indignant that Johnny thinks of leaving her behind. The Aeslin mice's evening devotionals can be relied upon to send Fran to sleep. Enid Healy is the Patient Priestess; she and Alexander Healy are Jonathan's parents.

Howard Gentling had married a finfolk mermaid, Abigail, and he wanted his children to not face the prejudice his wife had, so he founded the town of Gentling in the 1700s. It's their original home that serves as the mayor's house. Easy since Gentling's descendants have always been the mayors. Lynn is a younger Gentling. Angus is her older brother and the current mayor. Aunt Marie has gone fin. Chastity Gentling is Lynn's cousin. Jane.

Nathaniel Linsday returned to Gentling when his human wife died, and he married Aunt Marie. His human-born daughter, Elaine, works as a nurse at the local hospital in Gentling.

The Cover and Title
The cover is of a half-naked mermaid with her silver-scaled tail clinging to the wetly gray cliff rocks as a giant blue-green wave roars in.

The title is Fran's insistence that "We Both Go Down Together" on this trip to Maine.
121 reviews
April 24, 2022
An interesting story, but the finfolk's horrific sexism was exceedingly poorly handled. It was brought up once, then never properly addressed.

“Someone’s been taking the babies from the beach, Aunt Marie. Do you know who it is?”

“It’s the girls.” Aunt Marie flapped her webbed hands unconcernedly. “It’s always the girls. When I was a girl, I did it for the sake of the town. Got so wet, so many times, it sent me to the sea years before my husband. Should’ve made him do it. Should’ve stayed.”

Angus looked guilty, but pressed, “Do you know which girls?”

Aunt Marie turned her head back toward him, a flicker of irritation breaking through her self-absorbed serenity. “They’re all the same girl, nephew. We were all her once, and she’ll always turn into us. Don’t let yourself forget that.”

Finfolk start out human, then become progressively less so with age, not just physically, but mentally. It's a lot like dementia, and is treated as a loss by both human and finfolk characters. This process is sped up by exposure to salt water. Finfolk girls and young women are expected to patrol the beach for babies left their by the ones who've already "returned" (become fishy), speeding up the loss of their humanity and mental faculties in comparison to the men, who are able to remain human for longer. That finfolk women are made to sacrifice their minds and bodies for the sake of their community is not addressed, and is even more absurd when you learn that there are townsfolk who are human/human on their mom's side, and who wouldn't have to worry about turning fishy.

You can't plop in a plot point about young women being expected to sacrifice their humanity and then not follow through with it.

edit: On reread I caught even more sexism, this time in the form of implied rape treated as no big deal and not disqualifying the rapists from being "excellent neighbors". Seriously, what else could this refer to?
"I won't say that they never interfered with human women who preferred to be left alone" "They came on land to marry and have children".
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenevieve.
937 reviews13 followers
January 31, 2014
Check out all my reviews on My Blog

A prequel to the Incryptid series following Jonathan and Frances Healy. Fran is 8mos pregnant but the family has received a note from a colony of mermaids that they need help. Jonathan is on his way but there is no way Fran is letting him go alone. When they get there, they find out that the babies are being stolen and they need Jonathan and Frances to help them find out what is happening to them but when Frances goes into labor and delivers their daughter, Alice, they find out that the merbabies aren't the only ones in danger.

I really liked this one and yes, if something like that happened to my baby, I'd have responded the same way Frances did. Mermaids may not be very maternal once they return to the sea but don't mess with the Mama Bears!
Profile Image for Nighteye.
940 reviews48 followers
December 19, 2013
One of the best InCryptid story so far or close to!

I really like those InCryptid prelute-stories and will jump over from those short stories to the actual books if I can find them! If the novels are like this I'll enjoy them.

What I like with those stories are that they are totally normal except that one or more supernatural/mythological beings who's slips into every story and alter it after it...

All from mythological Gordons to in this the talking mice, I first encountered in Narnia, who have returned (I really like them and started to miss them as they have been absent for a wile) and that Jonathan and Fran are going to a colony of Finfolk or more commonly known as Mermaids.

And to have a hero with the same name and spelling as mine don't make this less good ;)
Profile Image for Melindeeloo.
3,106 reviews159 followers
September 8, 2016
Despite the impending birth of their second child, Fran will not be left behind when Jonathan gets the call to help a community of Merfolk (the Healy family owes them a debt from their Covenant days.)

I have to say that I love McGuire's shorts, she does a fabulous job of developing the mythos of a race of Incryptids who are tied to the sea - sort of tragically - even in such a short story and it was fun to see the starring pair finally on the road to a family-type HEA after the loss they suffered in the past. (and hurray for the mice:)

It was also nice that I discovered this story now, because I just picked up Carniepunk and the story there had characters from this same race and having read this first I knew exactly what was going on with them.
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