The Shifting Price of Prey
Published 2012 534 pages
The Summary (from the book jacket)
Sometimes a bit of magical help might cost more than you bargained for...
Genny’s the new boss at Spellcrackers and, with London is hosting the Carnival Fantastique, and her job has never been busier or more fulfilling. Only not everyone is so happy. Genny believed she’d cracked the fae’s infertility curse… but the fae are still barren. It’s a devastating plight to which the mysterious Emperor may have the solution they need – if Genny can find him.
She needs help. She turns to the vampire, Malik al-Khan, only to find he’s wrestling with his own demons and, when the police request Genny’s assistance with a magical kidnap, her own problems are about to multiply too. Is it all unconnected, or can the Emperor help her solve more than the fae’s infertility? Soon Genny is on his trail, so it seems she’ll have a chance to ask… but will the answer cost more than she’s willing to pay?
The Shifting Price of Prey is the fourth books in Suzanne McLeod’s Spellcrackers urban fantasy series. The story follows the adventures and investigations of Genny, a London-living sidhe fae who has no magical ability of her own apart from an intuitive ability to see, absorb or break the magical spells of others. This makes her an ideal employee of Spellcrackers, an agency whose business is magical consultancy and clean-up. It also gets her work consulting with the police detectives at Scotland Yard on magical crimes – since she can “see” the spells where the officers can’t.
Although the author does a great job of recapping the story so far throughout the story’s narrative, and gently brings readers back up to speed without any overt information dumps, it is still best to have read the previous story instalments before starting this book. Earlier novels introduced readers to a brilliantly imagined supernatural London; a place where witches sell their spells at the local markets and trolls work as police officers, while a computer-hacking kelpie swims in the River Thames and vampires are a Leicester Square tourist attraction. It would be a shame for any self-respecting urban fantasy fan to miss out on that!
In the Shifting Price of Prey, Genny is once again up to her neck in magical mystery and mayhem. Events are further complicated by her confused love-life, which is being muddled up even more than usual by the unwanted affects caused by her proximity to a fae fertility pendant that has been leaking its magic. Genny thought that finding the pendant (events covered in the previous instalment “The Bitter Seed of Magic”) would enough to restore the fae’s lost fertility but it turns out that the pendant was only half of the spell. Genny is tasked with finding the rest of the solution and enlists the aid of some magically enchanted tarot cards to help her find the answer to how to solve the fae’s fertility curse.
Unfortunately for Genny the fae’s lost fertility isn’t her only problem. There is a new vampire in town – the Emperor, ruler of Europe’s vampires – and no shortage of sneaky vampire power-plays and plotting for her to contend with. This extends the length of the book somewhat and while the resulting story has plenty of fast-paced fantasy action to keep readers entertained the abundance of sub-plots and sex/fertility complications seems to act as an impediment to streamlined story-telling on more than one occasion.
However, since The Shifting Price of Prey is the best series instalment so far there is really little case for complaint. Suzanne McLeod has pulled out all the stops on this one. Highly original and imaginative, this story takes readers on a wild fantasy thrill ride around some of London’s most popular spots – I’ll certainly never look at a day out at the zoo or trip to Harrods in quite the same light ever again!
Recommended reading for both urban fantasy and vampire fans alike.
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.