Tag Archives: #Dryads

McLeod, Suzanne: The Bitter Seed of Magic (Spellcrackers III) (2011)


Detective Inspector Helen Crane of the Metropolitan Police’s Magic and Murder Squad embodies the law of unintended consequences to me. As we saw in The Sweet Scent of Blood and The Cold Kiss of Death DI Crane is out to get Genvieve Taylor. Helen is a Witch. Genvieve a Sidhe. Crane’s hatred is not due to their two races, or rather not directly. In her youth Helen Crane went through a traumatic experience that has caused her hatred for both the Sidhe fae and for Vampires. Poor Genny hasn’t a clue why DI Crane is out to destroy her, but Genvieve Taylor is the one who has to live with the consequences of that long-ago experience.

Spellcrackers.com is both serial and series. If you want to understand the overarching story of the whys and whereofs of the search for a solution to the fae sterility problem you will need to read the preceding novels. But if all you want is a fun mystery then you can read The Bitter Seed of Magic on its own. That also goes for The Sweet Scent of Blood and for The Cold Kiss of Death.

Our mystery in The Bitter Seed of Magic has to do with the strange circumstances around the deaths of fae women. They turn up glamoured to look like human girls. At the very least all magic should have been washed away by the River Thames from which they were pulled. But this is not the case. Obviously magic is involved and because of its nature Genvieve becomes involved. At first only to remove the spells on their bodies. Then it becomes personal – due to the matter of the feud DI Crane has instigated.

Genny’s own past comes to haunt her. She meets long-lost relatives. Her nickname for one of them is Mad Max (no irony intended) and that should tell you what you need to know about him. Others of her relatives also make an appearance in Genvieve’s life, but I will leave you to find out just who they are on your own. Lets just say that Mad Max is not the only crazy family Genny has. Perhaps crazy is the wrong word for their personalities. Amoral might be a better one or maybe just ethically different seeing as none of them are human.

One thing our experiences with Genvieve Taylor shows is that curses are a whole lot simpler to cast than to undo. In fact that goes for all of our experiences in life. In general it seems to be easier to prevent than to fix. Poor Genny. Left having to fix the idiocy and thoughtlessness of others. She is not on her own though and that could help. Having friends does seem to make my troubles easier to bear. New friends turn up in Genny’s life making her troubles a little less complicated as well. She will need those friends considering just who is pushing Genvieve around. Phew. I am so glad I am not her. Boring is good is my motto when it comes to my own life.

But excitement in the form of stories and excellent authors is another matter. Suzanne McLeod not only makes Genvieve Nataliya Zakharinova Taylor  come alive for me but also very much makes me care what happens to her and her life and her friends.


The Bitter Seed of Magic on:  Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Books.A.Million, Chapters.ca, IndieBound, Penguin.com, Powell’s, The Book Depository

Read Chapter 1

My review of:

  1. The Sweet Scent of Blood
  2. The Cold Kiss of Death

Fae dictionary

McLeod, Suzanne: The Cold Kiss of Death (Spellcrackers II) (2009)

The Cold Kiss of Death - all three countries

Authors who are able to lift serious issues into the light without leaving me with a sense of having been preached to are gems. Suzanne McLeod is one of those.

The child stood barefoot and ignored in the cold, sheeting rain; her long dark hair was tossed by the fractious wind and her ragged clothes hung off her undernourished body. She was no more than eight or nine years old. She waited, staring at me from dark angry eyes. My heart beat faster at the sight of her, fingers of fear scraping down my spine and setting my teeth on edge.

As you see, not much of a sense of having been preached to in those introductory sentences. Suzanne McLeod knows how to build her tension. From the outset I understand that I am not meant to have a laid-back read with The Cold Kiss of Death. McLeod’s writing is even tighter in The Cold Kiss of Death than it was in The Sweet Scent of Blood making her succeed immensely in keeping me away from my chores.

During the story in The Cold Kiss of Death Genvieve Taylor discovers that to the fae (even those she thought were friends) she is a sexual object. At one point history is about to repeat itself when dryads attack her in the stairwell of her home. It has to be difficult not knowing if the people you are with are staying with you because of friendship or because you have become a means to an end.

When Tomas is killed at the beginning of the story DI Helen Crane’s hate is fully unleashed and the law of unintended consequences steps into play. Not only Genny is chased. Other fae are killed and hurt because they are fae and humans have fallen into mob mentality. Vampires see it as their chance to play with their food, food that is especially delicious. Their ultimate snack would be Genvieve because of her sidhe blood. Genny is the kind of person that automatically steps in to help the weaker. Now it has become essential for their survival that Genny solves the murder because DI Crane has made up her mind as to who is going to get executed. Genvieve isn’t really a detective, but she  certainly fills that function in The Cold Kiss of Death.

This is another arena where McLeod’s story shows its excellence. Mysteries that keep me guessing are fun. The Cold Kiss of Death is like this for me. Even having read this previously did not ruin my good time. Now I was better able to see what traps McLeod had thrown my way to keep my mind from jumping to the right conclusion.

I have a couple of favorite scenes in this story. One is at Tavish’s place.  The imagery of Genny’s anger mounting while struggling to get out of the water and then having her unleash that frustration at the two idiots on shore was satisfying.

The other one was the above fight in the stairwell of her home and its conclusion. Both are gruesome but in different ways. I guess the contrast between two scenes clearly show why I enjoy McLeod so much. She manages to portray humor, suspense and kindness in a manner that makes me believe that her characters are real.


The Cold Kiss of Death on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, The Book Depository, Waterstones.com, Play.com, Borders.co.uk, Forbidden Planet

EBook: Waterstones.com, Kindle Edition

Chapter one

My review of The Sweet Scent of Blood