Tag Archives: #Kelpies

McLeod, Suzanne: The Shifting Price of Prey (spellcrackers.com IV) (2012)

The Shifting Price of Prey is the fourth book in the story of Genvieve Nataliya Zakharinova Taylor, her past, her present and her potential future. You definitely need to have read the previous three novels to get the most out of The Shifting Price of Prey.

As you might have noticed in my previous reviews of the spellcrackers.com serial, I have used art from various sources to represent the creatures/people in Suzanne McLeod’s stories. I have tried to stay true to the characters she describes, but the only one I am certain of is Ricou. Ricou loves putting on the glamour of Jonny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Good choice Ricou. There is just something about Jack Sparrow as presented by Jonny Depp that leaves a lot of women (including myself) wanting to stare. I love the choice McLeod made there.

Ricou and Sylvia are incredibly cute together. The Bitter Seed of Magic showed us the extent of their love across the boundaries of race. Their mothers aren’t pleased with Sylvia and Ricou choosing each other. In The Shifting Price of Prey these same two mothers are still conniving to get their way with Genvieve. One of the many things I love about fantasy and science fiction is the way real life issues are brought to light in a manner that makes me think. Perhaps taking issues into the land of imagination make them clearer and easier to understand for me. Because I find it terribly confusing to try to understand why something like color should make us hate each other and not want our children to love each other. It’s just really weird and illogical in my mind.

Another thing I really enjoy about reading Suzanne McLeod’s story of Genny and her friends is the way she shows us the silly excuses we use in our lives to justify what we do. Take Finn. He drops in from taking care of his daughter. In The Bitter Seed of Magic it is highly likely that Nicky had been raped into pregnancy. Finn and she went off into Between with the other girls who had become pregnant so the babies and the women would be safe. That is completely understandable and Genny agrees wholly with what he does. But Finn is incredibly stupid when it comes to one thing in his life and this time (again) he uses the dumbest excuse to rationalize his actions. I love the way McLeod reveals the issue to us and also my own reaction when I hear his excuse. I cannot help feeling sorry for Finn with his blind side. I also cannot help but wonder what my own blind sides are.

I have met people like Mr. Lampy. Shudder. Genny’s reaction is something I identify with. Mr. Lampy’s creep factor is way out there and as we read through The Shifting Price of Prey it keeps on rocketing. Which is why I absolutely loved Cat-Girl’s question and Genny’s answer at one point. Way to go both of them!

Tarot cards are something I know nothing about, except for what I have seen in movies or read about in fictional works. After reading about the ones in The Shifting Price of Prey I am no closer to becoming a fan of them. If there is one thing that is certain in Genvieve’s life it has to be that nothing comes to her the simple and easy way. Oh, no! Suzanne McLeod has to make her fight for every little answer. As a reader I love, it but I tend to feel sorry for the poor characters who have to suffer the author’s pen.

Anyways! I had fun with The Shifting Price of Prey. Suzanne McLeod met my expectations completely and I certainly look forward to reading the next installment of this serial.


The Shifting Price of Prey on Amazon.co.uk, Kindle, Book Depository, Waterstones

My review of:

  1. The Sweet Scent of Blood
  2. The Cold Kiss of Death
  3. The Bitter Seed of Magic

Carnival Fantastique is based on the Carnival in Trinidad

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

McLeod, Suzanne: The Sweet Scent of Blood (2008)

The Sweet Scent of Blood - Suzanne McLeod

Sometimes I wonder if power is THE most basic of our needs. The power to control our own lives, the power to control our environment and the power to control others.

Take the power to control our own lives. Genvieve Taylor never had power over her life. Her creation was a genetic experiment between two incompatible races. Once that succeeded she was promised to someone extremely powerful and extremely deranged. And finally, at the age of 14 she was injected with a poison (V3) that made her vulnerable to vampires.

Our main character never seriously thinks about giving up the fight for the right to decide what to do with herself and her own life. The Sweet Scent of Blood is for the most part about that battle. And battle it is.

At the beginning of The Sweet Scent of Blood Genny imagines she has achieved a modicum of control over her life, in fact about as much power as most of us can expect to have. She has a job, protection against the vampires, a place to live and friends. Yet power over our own lives is often an illusion. Illusions are easily snatched away by someone more powerful or someone willing to engage the help of the powerful.

Being one of the sidhe fae, a bean sidhe, would normally make Genvieve one of the more powerful people of the world of Suzanne McLeod. But her mixed heritage is unhelpful and Genny’s inability to accept who and what she is acts as a barrier in reaching her potential. In McLeod’s London she also happens to be the only sidhe fae. Sadly, this only makes her more attractive to both those who wish to use her and those who wish to destroy her.

In my mind the only person in The Sweet Scent of Blood who is wholly on Genvieve’s side is Hugh Monroe. Hugh has an intense need to protect those who are in need of help. Genny came into his life when she was infected with V3 and has remained there ever since. His protectiveness made it natural for him to wish to enter the police force. He works as a DI at The New Scotland Yard and happens to be one of the straight cops at that facility. We soon discover that not all who work for the police do so for the same need to protect and serve the public.

The Sweet Scent of Blood starts out as a mystery and ends up as a battle amongst the mighty of Genny’s London. Genvieve seeks the answer to who killed Melissa. Was is Roberto, her boyfriend, or was it another character? Through the story we see that sometimes Genny is aided in her search for answers but for the most part barriers are thrown up, one after the other.

The Sweet Scent of Blood - Suzanne McLeod

In their scrabble to stay on top, the powers that be have decided that the faery are to remain without civil rights. Civil rights is something a great many of us take for granted. I find it comforting to imagine that if something terrible happened to me then I would be safe because Justice would have its day. Sure, it’s just an illusion but one that is legislated for the likes of me. One hundred years ago women did not have the right to vote nor did they have many of the other rights that men did. Disabled could still be sterilized in Norway a long time after that. Many people have sacrificed a great deal to make it possible for me to have the power over my life that I do.

Faery do not. Vampires do, but faery do not. Witches have civil rights, but faery do not. Regular humans have civil rights, but faery do not. Do I have to look far to find people without written legislation to protect them even today? Sadly, no. In The Sweet Scent of Blood the reason for this lack of power lies for the main part in looks. Some of the faery can be frightening looking and some of them are extremely dangerous. Their ethics are unfamiliar to humans. All of these factors have been utilized by the masters of power games in making the faery less powerful.

The Sweet Scent of Blood is one of my re-readables. I know it is supposed to be Suzanne McLeod’s first published novel, but it holds none of the earmarks of a first novel. Indeed she manages to stay on-key throughout the whole story. Definitely recommended.