The Sweet Scent of Blood
Published 2008 363 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
'My name is Genny Taylor. I work for Spellcrackers.com. It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.
Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.
But only if you’re human. And I’m not. I’m Sidhe fae. And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’
When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities… and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals.
The Sweet Scent of Blood is the first book in a new urban fantasy series called Spellscrackers.com and is also the debut novel for British author Suzanne McLeod. Following the (mis)adventures of Genny Taylor, a Sidhe fae with the powerful ability to absorb magic but a complete inability to cast even simple spells, The Sweet Scent of Blood gets the series off to a strong start.
Spellcrackers.com is the name of the business where Genny works sorting out supernatural problems and cleaning up magical messes. A busy day in her office would probably generate enough exciting material to fill a novel but Genny’s day job isn’t the focus of the story. As a favour to her boss, she is asked to investigate vampire related death, and it is this side job that makes up the core of this story.
The Sweet Scent of Blood is a very vampire-centric novel. In a world where all kinds of amazing magical being exist (gremlins, trolls and witches are only the tip of the mystical iceberg) the vampires are still very much the stars of this show. In a new take on vampire mythology, science has been mixed with magic to explain the infection and addiction of a vampire’s bite. Blood can be tested for the vampire virus but it takes magic to convert a human to a vampire. The stigma of being infected, plus the dangers of being addicted to the vampires’ bite (and being turned into a blood slave) is reminiscent in parts of Kim Harrison’s Hollows books although the vampire physiology is very different.
Certainly Genny has her own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to being around vampires, and her struggle not to succumb to the deadly charms of the vampires that she meets in the course of her investigation make for interesting reading. A large amount of the conflict in this story comes from Genny’s internal battle against her own darker desires rather than outside forces.
Since this is British urban fantasy, set in London, there is a refreshing lack of big guns and gung-ho ass kicking in the story, although it is clear in the action scenes that Genny knows how to look after herself – she just does it in a more restrained British way!
The fantasy world building is taken slowly with background details being revealed through out the story rather than in a big rush at the beginning. My only criticism of the novel would be that while the slow reveal works well for the most part, it is combined with a plot that has more twists and turns than a mountain road. Meaning that readers need to pay close attention in places or risk being lost by the jumps in the plot but this is only a minor gripe so don’t let it put you off reading this novel - after all there is so much here for vampire (and fantasy) fans to like...
The Sweet Scent of Blood is a strong start to the Spellcrackers.com series and an impressive debut novel. I can't wait to read more from this author. Afterall, with vampires in Leicester Square, trolls in New Scotland Yard and a surfeit of blood and magic, what’s not to like?
LoveVampires Review Rating:
You can find out more about the Spellcrackers.com series and read the first chapter of this novel at the website for this series. Visit the Spellcrackers.com site.