(haha, 10 out of 6 possible stars.....I love this series)
First - the cover love. See the ravens? big part of the story. See the tower in the background? The Tower of London. See the girl in the front? yep - that's Genny - aka Genevieve Taylor, London's sidhe (if you've read the other books, then you already know she's part sidhe, part vampire). See the leather coat? very cool. I like how the Tower of London is glowing, and how the ravens are lurking in the back. The whole cover is pretty cool, with the almost black and white with small amounts of color. Works for me. If I had never ever heard of this book or series, the cover would have drawn me in.
Next, the review - Really, I'm afraid I'm not going to do the book justice. I never really analyze books, characterization and plot points, etc. Frankly, I wouldn't know the first thing about this type of reviewing. I do know whether I like a book or not though. Mainly I focus on whether I enjoyed reading the book, if the dialogue was good, great or lame and how the story flows....
for me, this means The Bitter Seed of Magic scored high on all three points. The dialogue was great, the enjoyment factor was high and the book flowed from beginning to end, from the first page to the last.
Genny Taylor has come to enjoy a sort of peaceful existence after the events of the last two books - She's not under any immediate threats, the vampires are leaving her alone, the witches are tolerating her, and the fae are holding back on pushing their courting of her. But this is just the eye of the storm, because really, everything has just been on hold. Being called in to look at a body, checking for spells seems to be the catalyst for a series of events that shatter Genny's world and even changes what she thought she knew about herself.
Previously, Genny had found out that the fae were under a curse - no fae would be fertile and they all expected Genny to be able to crack the curse. Many of the fae expect her to be able to break the curse by bearing children with them, or doing the nasty with them. Of course Genny doesn't want to be forced to bear any children with just anyone (or anyfae). But at the beginning, things are calm, until the body is discovered. Turns out this isn't the first body, and they've all been faelings.
Genny is now being pressured in a huge way to find out what's going on, at the same time the same people seem to be going against her finding out, and things begin to spiral out of control.
There were many twists in this book. It was great. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, nope - that wasn't it. It's fun being taken by surprise with who's behind the deeds and who's plotting against whom.
I also love the way the different characters speak to each other. Ms McLeod is able to have (for instance) Genny and Malik have a conversation with Genny's more modern speech and Malik's more formal speech with out it feeling forced and awkward. Seems like this should be an obvious skill for writers, but it doesn't always work out for some.... Speaking of characters; I love a good mixup of character types. And the Spellcrackers.com series has lots of fun characters....dryads, brownies, goblins (might be some of my favorites, with their love of the shiny bling), witches, ghosts, vampires, satyrs, and more. I also love the way they are described under their glamour - or their human guises. The attention to detail without being overwhelming, the many varied appearances - I am consistantly amazed at the creativity of writers like Suzanne McLeod. sometimes you get to read a story that calls itself paranormal and yet has very little interactions with different species. Suzanne's novels are all about all the different appearances and species, and behaviours.
Even though one of the main points of the plot was fertility, or the fertility curse- with all the accompanying feelings and desires that go with fertility - I didn't feel like I was getting ambushed with the "hawt and heavy" - y'know, the heaving breasts, and turgid...well y'know. There were some steamy situations and some hot-blooded wants, but it never felt like that was the complete purpose of the book. The parts were there, the situations were happening - but it wasn't obsessively so; there wasn't a time when I felt like rolling my eyes and saying "oh please". Believe me, with some books that's all I felt like doing. I usually don't finish reading them. There were a few times when I chuckled at certain behaviours - but it was all in fun. There was a good blend and balance of story, subplots and all those....y'know - feelings. :)
The only thing that worries me now (and it's not even a real worry! lol), is that we all have a long wait for the fourth book. A WHOLE YEAR! But then the wait for this third book was totally worth it. Better to wait a year between books and get good storytelling than to read many books that are so-so. But isn't that always the way with a book you really enjoy? You wait and wait for it to be released and then after all the hard work the author has gone through to write it, we read it within a few days and then we start the wait for the next one all over again. It's a good wait though. Anticipation can be fun.
So - Fun characters, good plots, fun dialogue, some steam and lots of humor to go along with the suspense and mystery. What else could I ask for in a novel? Wonderful! If you've already read the first two in the Spellcrackers.com series, you're going to enjoy this third book. If you haven't read any of them yet, What are you waiting for? I've been pimpin' these books out, go get them and see for yourself how good they are. If you click on the links below, you can read excerpts.
The next book will be The Shifting Price of Prey in about a year in the UK.
The Bitter Seed of Magic is available in the UK beginning February 17th. (remember the Book Depository - friend of the U.S. buyer!)
There is also a chance to win a signed copy here, and it'll be Suzanne signing it, as opposed to say, ME or my kids...lol- giveaway ends February 18th. Visit Suzanne McLeod's blog also for further information about giveaways
The first book (the Sweet Scent of Blood) is available now in both US and the UK
The second (The Cold Kiss of Death) is available now in the UK and will be released in the US in April 2011.
Suzanne McLeod also has a short story included in the anthology Home Improvement:Undead Edition coming out in August 2011. I'm totally going to get that one, Suzanne McLeod, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris