Monday, July 28, 2008

The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod

The book proof for The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod arrived Saturday morning and I started reading it over breakfast. And completely forgot that we had to pack to go up north for a friend’s birthday later that afternoon. I took the book to the couch, ignoring the dishes, the dog, the husband. And fully immersed myself in the story, only breaking to go to the party and then spent all of Sunday lazing in the sunshine reading until its very last delectable page.

I honestly suspected that this was going to be good. I just had no idea how good it would in fact turn out to be!

In The Sweet Scent of Blood we meet Genny Taylor who works for . She’s good at her job where she finds magic and unmakes spells, has a fun relationship with her colleagues and she also happens to be a Sidhe fae.
All of the story is set in London and we find places like Leicester Square and Covent Garden and Greenwich plundered mercilessly by the author for good settings and I love it because it conveys the grittiness of the city but with a shimmer of the Other which really works very well.

Vampires are no longer hidden, they have been outed and are becoming A-list celebrities. Their communities are strong and they have an amazing PR campaign that would put any politician’s campaign to shame. But then, if you’ve had a couple of hundred years to tell lies, you would also be very good about it!

Alongside the vamps you have an interesting mix of fae and other creatures who seem to have become fully integrated in human society. They work alongside us and have become something else we seem to be fascinated with, especially the vampires.

It always shows in an author’s world building and putting those ideas across how adept they are as storytellers. Suzanne McLeod isn’t just adept, she’s bloody brilliant. The world creation is very competent and helps the story flow with ease – it will be a rich source for her to write in for her future books.

Genny is a well thought out main character but retains enough mystery to keep you guessing about her heritage. I find the fact that she can crack spells with ease and can absorb the magic into her interesting but she can't actually do any spells herself. It makes for an interesting slant. She's not a heroine with a gun, or with any kind of overt screaming talent. For all Genny being a Sidhe, she seems a normal girl using her brains and wits to figure out what the opposition is after, besides sucking her dry that is.

With a further cast of Other creatures from policemen trolls, to house brownies, the vamps (naturally), satyrs, witches, goblins and other fae you have the impression that you’ve walked into a slightly chaotic Arthur Rackham drawing but it works by the sheer talented will of the author who clearly had the time of her life putting all of them into play.

We watch Genny as she is called in to help one of the vampires, Roberto, clear his name in the murder of his girlfriend, Melissa. But things are naturally never as straight forward as that when it comes to vampires. The storyline is kept in tight reign and nothing is left to chance. All the characters you meet as the story develops has genuine roles to play, no one is just a prop, which is something I really liked about it. Everyone still connived and carried on behind the scenes, even whilst Genny was busy somewhere else, so you have the impression of realtime action.

The Sweet Scent of Blood is going to hit the urban fantasy and paranormal romance market with a big bang. For fans of LKH, Lilith Saintcrow, Kim Harrison, Kat Richardson, Mary Janice Davidson, Lori Handeland and Charlaine Harris and other authors of the same ilk, take note that Suzanne McLeod is going to be the next Big Thing in this much loved genre. The book is funny and charming with enough action (and some very sexy action at that) to keep any book junkie entertained for quite a few hours.

The Sweet Scent of Blood is an exceedingly well written debut ticking all the right boxes, from a gutsy and unique heroine, to an engaging storyline with sexy foes and a strong ensemble cast. A highly recommended and fun read.

Suzanne’s website can be found here and you can pre-order the book either from Gollancz or from Amazon. It is due out in September 2008.


Karen Mahoney said...

Dude, I am SO jealous you got to read this early!! :)

PopinFresh said...

I'm jealous also. Great review, I can't wait till I get the chance to read it.

~ Popin