|Title: The Bitter Seed of Magic
Author: Suzanne McLeod
Series: Spellcrackers.com #3
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reviewed by: Julia
Kissing, references to sex, rape, and incest.
Good – A fun read with minor flaws. Maybe read an excerpt before buying.
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!
This is a difficult book to review, if only because of the conflicting emotions it engenders. On one hand, it is wonderfully complex, with rich mythology and magical theory wrapped around an engaging mystery. On the other hand, THE BITTER SEED OF MAGIC can also be frustratingly complex, to the point where even an”after the action” recap, complete with family trees and a play by play explanation, wasn’t quite enough to untangle the snarl of crisscrossing motives and lies at the end.
I’d like to think that some of that confusion would be smoothed out by reading prior books, but as McLeod did such a good job bringing me up to speed on so many other aspects of this intricate world, I don’t think it’s entirely accurate to assume that the plot itself wasn’t expected to stand without the support of the rest of the series. I did some flipping back and re-reading, which detracted a bit from the ending, but still enjoyed the bulk of the book. Though the fertility curse complicates Genny’s relationship with the men in her life, the end of this book’s central mystery by no means makes Genny’s troubles over.
Much like the October Daye series, reading THE BITTER SEED OF MAGIC managed to engage me in the present book while piquing my interest in the backstory that brought Genny and all of her delicious, dangerous men to the present day stand-off. I’m willing to risk a little plot frustration to enjoy more of this world building. Be warned, however, that though not graphic, some of McLeod’s older Fae and vampires have a distinctly “Greek mythology” morality, particularly as it relates to consent and incest. For immortal races it made sense, but there were still a few “record scratch” moments when the ages and inter-relationships of certain pairings became clear. That was ultimately what lowered this review from Four Bats to Three, because though I thought McLeod entirely pulled it off, the subject may be a deal-breaker for some.