RELEASE DATE: 30 August 2012
FORMAT: Digital Review Copy, 544 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for . . .
London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and Genny’s job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. The fae are in trouble again and Genny learns the mysterious Emperor may have the solution they need – if Genny can find him.
Genny needs help. She turns to the vampire, Malik al-Khan, only to find he’s wrestling with his own demons. Genny’s own problems are about to multiply too. An old flame arrives with a tragic situation, just as the police request her urgent assistance with a magical kidnap. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae’s troubles?. (Goodreads)
I was really excited when the opportunity presented itself to review an early copy of THE SHIFTING PRICE OF PREY by Suzanne McLeod. I had thoroughly enjoyed the previous books in the Spellcrackers.com series and had been looking forward to the next installment of Genny’s adventures.
The story opens with Genny investigating the death of some fairies in the home of the gruesome, yet ingratiating goblin Mr Lampy. In process of her investigation Tavish turns up with a set of enchanted tarot cards that gives cryptic clues as how to break the fertility curse that has been plaguing the fae. Currently the fae’s fertility resides in a sapphire necklace worn by Genny’s new and newly pregnant roommate Sylvia the driad. According to these blood thirsty cards a mysterious vampire called the Emperor holds the secret to restoring fertility to all the fae and to find the Emperor, Genny turns to Malik, the sexy, exotic vampire who she is blood bonded and attracted to.
Genny’s quest to quickly solve this mystery is thwarted as the Carnivale Fantastique is in town and with it pixies are causing mayhem and its up to Genny to save central London from their tricks. At the same time she is called in by the police to investigate the kidnapping of a diplomat’s family from the London Zoo. Genny’s skills are in hot demand both by the fae and the police, all while trying to protect her young friend Katie from a suspicious boyfriend and trying to sort out her feelings for both Malik or and her former boss, Finn. Genny is one busy spell cracking Sidhe in this story!
I feel like someone said ‘Spellcrackers needs more sex’ and sex it up McLeod did. One of the things I liked about the previous novels is that Genny wasn’t constantly getting all hot and steamy with either Finn or Malik. The sexual tension of this love triangle was more inferred in the previous novels but in THE SHIFTING PRICE OF PREY it was like her undies were on fire. Malik and Finn weren’t the only recipients of Genny’s sexual fixations and there is one scene involving Genny’s uncle Mad Max that despite extenuation circumstances, was particularly out of character and I didn’t really see the point of it. Sorry, no spoilers.
The evil and sinister Autarch was back but this time he invaded Genny’s dreams rather than just appearing in a series of flashbacks. Genny learns more about Malik’s past through these dream scenes and she discovers a different side to him that threatens her both her relationship and feelings for him with what she learns. Finn is also back from the Fair Lands and the question of ‘will she or won’t she’ with him is answered but perhaps not how we expect it to be.
I like the fact that McLeod doesn’t pamper the reader by recapping the plot from previous novels as many authors tend to do. McLeod relies on your memory (and mine isn’t always the best!) of what happened in the previous novels. She also expects you to pick up on the nuance and clues in the dialogue to understand fully what is going on. As I live in London I always enjoy seeing how authors use its famous landmarks in their stories and I especially love McLeod’s fae infused version of London.
There is a lot more complexity in this story with a myriad of plots and subplots with nearly every character playing a part either directly or indirectly in the plot. The plot has so many twists and turns that it borderlines on being convoluted but McLeod does an admirable job of wrapping up the threads in the final chapters. However, rather than answering my questions McLeod has just left me with more in the fourth book of this series.
Normally, with a series that I really like I have difficulty putting the new book down. This wasn’t, however, the case with THE SHIFING PRICE OF PREY as I found that I had to put it down, and often, in order to digest what had happened and to keep on top of the various different plotlines. Normally, there is one overarching plotline and maybe one or two subplots, but with this novel there were numerous subplots and I found myself tuning them out only to find a few chapters further ahead I needed to go back and re-read.
I would rather have a few really well developed characters with an interesting story to tell than a myriad of underdeveloped ones. I feel that this is the weakest book of the series because of this and I wasn’t entirely sure what message McLeod was trying to make other than ‘Genny your life is messed up’. If this was a stand alone book or the first book in the series I am not certain I would have afforded it that extra half star however, it is a piece of a larger puzzle and I do enjoy the series. I like Genny as a protagonist and I hope that in the next book there is a bit more of a happy ending for her…and more licorice torpedos please!
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- The Sweet Scent of Blood
- The Cold Kiss of Death
- The Bitter Seed of Magic
- The Shifting Price of Prey
- The Hidden Rune of Iron (2013)
- The Sharp Bite of Ritual (2014)
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