Book Review: Suzanne McLeod’s The Bitter Seed of Magic

Posted September 26, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Suzanne McLeod’s The Bitter Seed of Magic

The Bitter Seed of Magic


It is part of the Spellcrackers.com #3 series and is a is a paperback edition on February 17, 2011 and has 416 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
three-stars

Other books in this series include Home Improvement: Undead Edition

Third in the Spellcrackers.com urban fantasy series revolving around Genny Taylor, a sidhe fae whose pregnancy everyone thinks will break the fertility curse.

My Take

Reading this is like trying to figure out the fae mind. Confusing, bewildering, and leaving you with a headache as you struggle to figure out what’s going on. McLeod drops all sorts of information, but rarely includes any hint of a suggestion as to how it may connect. Or, at least, not until the end. I feel like Genny does when Helen derides her for not knowing everything when no one actually tells Genny anything. Too irritating!

Everything is so vague about anyone’s powers or what they know. In the past, I’ve gotten a bit irritated when the author keeps grinding away about what a particular character does or how they react, now I’m beginning to appreciate it. The repetition creates a more intimate connection to that character as I feel that I know them, how they will react, and what their abilities are. With Genny…who the hell knows because we don’t really understand her abilities, what she knows and the same about the people/characters around her.

If the dryads already know about Bandana’s proclivities, why was he ever even on the list??

Genny makes me nuts with her stupidity. She complains that no one tells her anything, yet she also doesn’t want to know. So, what does she expect?? Duh… It’s like McLeod has picked up on some formulas for writing, but forgot to consider continuity. Then there’s her “ignorance” about blood and how it can affect her relationship with Malik. Where did she ever get the idea that she had a partnership with Malik? McLeod’s characters’ relationships are so all over the place that it’s giving me another headache as I try to sort it out for this review!

As for the big attraction Genny has for Finn and Malik al-Khan, it’s a good thing McLeod uses words to tell us how hot she is for them, ’cause I’d never pick it up from the story as McLeod just doesn’t build the heat. The characters and the story are always just half there. I like the main plotline, I just wish McLeod could write it so I became engaged in it. She just slides through the story too fast with too much happening.

Most authors wrap up the story’s activities. Too bad McLeod isn’t one of those. Or maybe even she is daunted by the convoluted, tremendous number of actions occurring within the story that she loses track or there aren’t enough pages to explain the results to her readers.

I did like the concept of that charm bracelet — very clever. I also appreciate Genny’s reasons for refusing to have a child. Very practical. It’s too bad more people don’t make these sorts of considerations in real life.

Ohh, the mind sequence when Genny inhabits Darius is amazing. Another complication to add to Genny’s life and my brain.

The Story

Faelings all over London are being murdered and somehow it ties into the curse and Genny Taylor with her solicitor and goddesses vying for her attention. And body.

The Morrigan places her own injunction on Genny, Mad Maxim has his complex play to make, and Finn is hiding a bit of family.

Kidnappings and deals, betrayals and mad-scientist research abounds.

The Characters

Genevieve Taylor is half-fae, half-human, and, somehow, vampire due to the 3V with which Malik infected her. The London fae have decided that the curse can be broken if Genny gets pregnant and have been pursuing her relentlessly. Genny’s magic is unreliable for the most part. About the only skill that works well is her ability to see magic or crack a spell. To stop or cancel it.

Finn Panos is a satyr, a sex god, and the owner of Spellcrackers.com. Genny’s employer. He’s also DI Crane’s ex-husband and they have a child, Nicola; seems Crane tricked Finn one night. Finn is one of the fae on the “‘court’ Genny” list — it has some rather stringent requirements before a fae can be posted to it. Tavish is a kelpie and is much more involved in the list than Genny would have suspected. Seems he’s in his own spot of trouble with the Morrigan.

Malik al-Khan is the Oligarch, the vampire in charge of all of London. It also puts him back under Bastien‘s authority. Malik has put a claim on Genny which protects her from the other vampires, but that claim only goes so far as a “tattoo” around her wrist. I suspect he’s in love with her and wants her to truly want him before he’ll touch her.

Detective Sergeant Hugh Munro is with the Metropolitan Police’s Magic and Murder Squad and he’s a friend of Genny’s. At least one policeman has her back!. WPC Mary Martin is also a witch who believes what the Witches Council and DI Crane have told her. Witch Juliet Martin is WPC Martin’s mother and the official doctor on call.

Detective Inspector Helen Crane should be taken out back and shot. She may be a good detective — provided you don’t get on her bad side. But, she’s too inclined to consider her greater good than that of the people or fae of London’s. Besides the daughter she has with Finn, Crain also has a son, Jack the raven, with Maxim, a son whom she gave up to the sidhe.

Darius is the vampire who came to Genny’s rescue in Cold Kiss of Death and now Genny is helping him survive being masterless by donating her blood. He’s currently working at the Coffin Club and rarely sees the Moth-girls. Fyodor Andreevich Azkharin leads the White Diamond family; Mad Maxim is Fyodor’s hateful son and both are Genny’s relatives. Able to turn into a dog, Maxim is a bad vampire who owes his allegiance to Bastien. We do learn rather a lot about Genny’s family tree in this. Francine is Golden Blade and may be its next head.

Victoria Harrier is the solicitor hired to get Genny out of gaol; turns out she has some unusual control issues. She’s also a witch, on the board for the Merlin Foundation (a charity that provides financing for HOPE, but also for genetic reproduction), and has a family at risk. Her son Oliver Craig is a wizard who married a faeling, Annan. So far, they have five children; the daughter is her and Oliver’s while the sons are Craig’s, her brother-in-law. Yuck. Dr. Craig, Victoria Harrier’s son, helps out at HOPE and is on call to help the police.

Sylvia is a dryad and can be either man or woman which allows her to court Genny for impregnation purposes. Ricou is a water fae who won a chance at Genny in a poker game. Seems these two would prefer their own company to Genny’s. The Morrigan is a bean nighe and a goddess of prophecy, war, fertility, and death. The Old Donn, the Morrigan’s son executed for rape, is now a ghost anxious to get a body back and his freedom; Dr. Craig is using the power of the Old Donn’s orange skin to glamour the faelings and Witch Harrier.

Angel, a.k.a., Rhiannon, a.k.a., Nataliya, is the nutjob fae Genny met in Cold Kiss of Death whom Clíona was desperate to get back. She’s one of the ladies in Clíona’s court and is possessed by a goddess, The Mother.

Clíona is the powerful sidhe queen who had a son whom, she thought, was killed by the vampires. In retaliation, she laid a curse on the lesser fae she blamed for not protecting her son, a droch guidhe which will impact the London faes’ fertility. A slow-acting death sentence.
Grianne
is a phouka and Clíona’s bitch — both want Genny dead.

Bandana, a.k.a., Algernon, and his gang are dryads who tried to kidnap and rape Genny. Lady Isabella is the head dryad in London.

Between is the “gap that links the humans’ world and the Fair Lands” and it can be molded to suit your desires. Sucker Town belongs to the “B-, C-, and Scary-list London vamps, venom-junkies, blood-groupies”, and the fang-gangs. Where the Coffin Club, owned by the White Diamond family, is located.

The Cover and Title

The cover is black and white and shades of gray with just enough red to play off Genny’s hair. It’s the Tower of London with a couple of its resident ravens waiting for a leather-clad Genny to make a move.

It’s The Bitter Seed of Magic all right as Genny finally learns the truth about her own heritage.

three-stars

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