The Bitter Seed of Magic by Suzanne McLeod (review copy) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the other books in the series. Don't read any further if you plan on reading the other books in the seriees, and don't want it spoiled for you.
On the surface, Genny's life seems ripple-free right now. Finn, her sexy boss, has stopped pushing for a decision on their relationship. The seductive vampire Malik al-Khan has vanished back into the shadows. And the witches have declared her no longer a threat. But unless Genny can find a way to break the fertility curse afflicting London's fae, she knows this is just the lull before the magical storm. Then a faeling - a teenage girl - is fished out of the River Thames, dead and bound with magic, and Genny is called into investigate. As she digs through the clues, her search takes a sinister and dangerous turn, exposing age-old secrets that might be better left buried. Then another faeling disappears, and Genny finds herself in a race against time to save the faeling and stop the curse from claiming its next victim - herself! From Amazon UK
Being a fan of so many authors and series, I do sometimes find it difficult to keep track of release dates, much to my annoyance. Don't ask me why, but for some reason, I don't think of pre-ordering. Thankfully, we have the wonderful social networking site Facebook, where Suzanne McLeod announced that her new novel would soon be released. And not long after that, it arrived on my doorstep.
What can I possibly say about The Bitter Seed of Magic that I haven't already said about The Sweet Scent of Blood and The Cold Kiss of Death? I'm not sure there is anything, because all of the books in the Spellcrackers.com series are just so good. They are amazing!
There is the usual amount of action you come to expect from a Spellcrackers novel, always exciting, always with you sitting on the edge of your seat. With Genny going from one problem to another, it's so difficult to put the book down! Even though I'm only reading, I find reading McLeod's novels, like Karen Chance's, to be exhausting - but in a really good way! So much happens! But this doesn't mean that they are rushed through, and before you know it something else is going on. No, there is more detail in than I've read in any other book - or that I remember reading, at least. I'm not much of a details person, it wouldn't bother me much if an author didn't give a lot of description about a setting, as long as there was a story and characters I could believe in. But with McLeod's books, I love it! Perhaps this is half down to me being from London; even if I don't know the exact places she's talking about, I can picture London very clearly, so I can get the atmosphere almost instantly. But it's more than just the setting; there's sight, touch, sound, taste, smell. We get it all! The detail in the action sequences, or the detail when it comes to the twisting plots, it's all just fantastic!
Overall, I'd say The Bitter Seed of Magic is a more emotional novel than the other two. In the previous books there are moments of emotion, but in this book, it's throughout - for Genny and for the reader. With the deaths of the faelings, and the effects of a spell put on Genny by a goddess, there are lots of moments where I felt myself mentally going "oh!" at how sad things were. There weren't any tears, but I was definitely touched by some of the things we see. That's not to say this novel is despressive, there are the light, funny moments too - got to love Sylvia the Dryad.
The only found two problems. The first was, although I remember loving it, I struggled to remember what happened in the last book, so sometimes people or event s were mentioned and I was left a little confused for a while until I vaguely remembered what was being referred to. This is my fault, the events were quickly surmised in this book, but it had been quite a while since I read The Cold Kiss of Death, so I should have done a re-read. Also, there was a bit of a problem with the timeline, I think. There is a point in the book when Genny spends quite a number of hours someplace, but we don't see her there for most of that time. Then later in the book, the characters would be discussing an event which happened "yesterday", when I thought yesterday included those hours we didn't see, so it would have been the day before. I got a little confused. It's not a big deal, really, it doesn't confuse the plots or cause any problems for the story, I just think I'm a little anal when it comes to knowing when something happened.
I absolutely loved this book, and seriously cannot wait for The Shifting Price of Prey, which is due out next year. I can't recommend this book, or this series, enough! McLeod is still up there with my favourites!
Thanks to Suzanne and Gollancz for the review copy.
Published: 17th February 2011
Buy on Amazon US
Suzanne McLeod's Website
My other reviews of the series:
The Sweet Scent of Blood (Spellcrackers.com Book 1)
The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers.com Book 2)