Friday, 9 November 2012

Review: The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod

This was another great charity shop find - I am so happy when a charity shop has a good bookshelf! I haven't come across McLeod's books before, which is surprising as I'm always on the lookout for Brit paranormal writers. I'm so used to having to put up with US-based books, that I kept getting a surprise when a London landmark was mentioned. This might be due to the fact that despite being British, McLeod has a definite hint of the States in her writing style. Perhaps she's read a lot of US authors and it's rubbed off on her, but reading The Sweet Scent of Blood felt a bit like reading an English version of Charlaine Harris - not that that's a bad thing!

In fact, Ms Harris is quoted on the back saying 'One of my favourite reads'. No small praise, and you'll see why if you read it yourself - the kooky but tough heroine, the complex web of characters, the big adventures and the fact that McLeod is not afraid of a bit of blood and sex - these are all traits that the two authors share.

Our heroine, Genevieve Taylor, is sidhe - a fairy of sorts. She works for the witch-run company Spellcrackers, for whom she goes out and cracks spells, stopping mischievous brownies, gremlins and the likes from causing havoc. The book is based in London, but not as we know it. Vampires are celebrities, witches sell spells in Covent Garden, and Goblins work as bodyguards. McLeod does a good job of setting the scene, describing her world and the rules that govern it without getting too bogged down in the detail. You don't have to suffer pages of history, relationship descriptions or pointless details about who, what, where and when. Okay, so there's the odd flash-back here and there, but they're totally justified, well-integrated and essential to the story.

I'm normally a bit wary of faery-based books - I find they can often be a bit too relient on fairytales, oddly enough! The Sweet Scent of Blood certainly doesn't have that problem though - there are nods to the old lore such as cold iron being poisonous to the fae, but McLeod creates her own fairytale, with its own magic and lore. I've been reading a lot of YA fiction recently, and this tested my concentration a little as I had to work to keep everything straight in my head, but I'm not saying that as a criticism. It's no bad thing to have a deep storyline that twists and turns, taking the reader on a journey beyond their imagining.

I'll definitely be looking out for the next book in the series - it's so good to discover an author who's new to me!

Buy The Sweet Scent of Blood on Amazon

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