THE SWEET SCENT OF BLOOD (Spellcrackers.com #1)
by Suzanne McLeod
PUBLISHER: Gollancz (UK) | Ace (US)
RELEASE DATE: Nov 2011 (UK) | April 2010 (US)
FORMAT: Paperback, 400 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Genevieve Taylor is a sidhe – one of the noble fae – and she’s unusual even in a London where celebrity vampires, eccentric goblins and scheming lesser fae mix freely with humanity… Genny is a rising star at Spellcrackers.com, where she finds the “M” in magic – which can mean anything from mischief to malice to murder. The spellcrackers are run by the Witch Council, whose ancient tenets prohibit any contact with vampires. And that’s just fine with Genny, who wants as little to do with the bloodsuckers as possible.
But when a sinfully sexy vamp is accused of killing his lover, an old debt forces Genny to help prove his innocence, risking her job, her safety – and the exposure of her own dark secrets. Genny soon realizes that she and her client are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle. And it’s not just her own neck at stake but the lives of all of London’s supernatural beings. (Goodreads)
THE SWEET SCENT OF BLOOD is a unique novel, contradicting typical vampire fiction to mix together a wealth of different supernatural elements whilst keeping true to a murder mystery. The novel is exciting and fresh, with McLeod creating a heroine strong enough to take on whatever the vampires, witches and other beings can throw at her.
Genevieve Taylor is a sidhe fae, a kind of faerie, and the only one in London. She works for Spellcrackers.com, a witch company that removes unwanted spells for its clients – as long as they aren’t vamps. The ongoing witch vs. vampire feud is never fully explained in the novel, but there is an animosity between the species with Genny stuck in the middle, not fully belonging to either side.
The vampires are like celebrities in the human world, so when one of them is accused of murdering his girlfriend it hits the front page, with the vampires trying to sweep it under the carpet. However, when the vamps start coming to Genny asking her to discover the truth behind the murder, her life becomes more and more complex as she struggles to hide her own secrets whilst trying to uncover everyone else’s. It doesn’t help that her sidhe blood is more attractive to the vamps than a humans, not enabling her to properly interrogate any of her key suspects without becoming a vamp snack. Will Genny make it out of this investigation alive?
Our heroine, Genny, is an incredibly strong protagonist, trying to hold her own against all of the strong males she comes up against. It is clear that she has a lot of murky secrets in her past that she tries her best to cover up, with the reader only given inclinations to some of these secrets throughout the book. Hopefully the author will reveal more about her past in future novels in the series, because it certainly sounds like her past could fill a whole novel by itself, and I’d love to hear more about it.
Genny has a number of interactions with men in the novel from a variety of different species. However, there is not a single man whom she appears connected to the most, as her attention is very much divided between two. First we have her co-worker, Finn, who is a different species of fae and as such there is a magical bond between their fae blood that draws them together. Finn is gorgeous (aside from having horns!), and takes a special interest in Genny, looking out for her during the investigation. It is clear that his affection is not purely the result of their fae connection, but can Genny really take the risk in spilling her secrets to him?
Her next lot of male attention comes from vampire Malik Al-Khan, an incredibly attractive vampire elder who takes a particular interest in both Genny and the investigation. He has the power to manipulate Genny into doing whatever he wants, as well as using his vampire powers to put mind locks on humans and even become invisible. He wants control over her, and like all the other vamps he lusts for her blood. However, is he just flirting with her for information, or is there something else behind his manipulation?
As much as I loved the characters of this novel, there were still some things about main character Genny that irked me. For one, despite her blood and magic being to blame for attracting male attention, it feels like every male in the novel is interested in her, regardless of their species. This wouldn’t be so frustrating if we hadn’t already been told that her appearance is far from human, with her eyes being ‘amber-coloured, with oval pupils, rather like a cat’s’, and her hair a matching shade of amber. Another thing is that she seems to find herself losing her clothes at every opportunity, with there being a number of naked scenes when it doesn’t seem to fit with the plotline for any specific reason. There were times when I just wanted to scream at Genny to put some clothes on!
Overall, I did thoroughly enjoy this book, as I love any good twist on the vampire legend that keeps vampires as being scary and seductive. The heroine was smart and powerful, and there were some truly surprising twists when the truth of the murder is revealed. I look forward to finding out more about her past in subsequent novels, and really hope that the series continues to be as exciting as this first novel!
I really enjoyed this book, the series kicking off to a great start with some fantastic characters to draw you in. I loved how the sidhe fae element contrasted with typical vampire fiction, with McLeod putting her own spin on vampires that works brilliantly. Her vampires are sexy, scary and shocking, and combined with the murder mystery the book is truly brilliant.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1. The Sweet Scent of Blood
2. The Cold Kiss of Death
3. The Bitter Seed of Magic
4. The Shifting Price of Prey
5. The Hidden Rune of Iron
6. The Sharp Bite of Ritual