The Shifting Price of Prey is the fourth book in Suzanne McLeod’s Spellcrackers series and therefore this review will contain spoilers for the previous books. I’m not sure they would hold up as standalone reads but the world is amazing once you get into it. The reading order is:
#1 The Sweet Scent of Blood
#2 The Cold Kiss of Death
#3 The Bitter Seed of Magic
#4 The Shifting Price of Prey
#5 The Hidden Rune of Iron (forthcoming)
#6 The Sharp Bite of Ritual (provisional title)
Genny thinks she’s finally got her life back; Sylvia’s pregnant and living in Between in a talkative wardrobe. Business is good at Spellcrackers with the contract for Harrods and the Carnival Fantastique, which brings with it a host of supernatural creatures. But it would seem that all the pent-up fertility in the fae’s necklace is backfiring and Genny finds herself in a compromising position with her cousin Maxim. As she tries to calm her libido, a diplomat’s wife and child have been kidnapped at London Zoo and the police need her help in bringing them home safely.
Suzanne introduces some creepy characters into the mix, and they can’t all be blamed on the carnival! In the opening pages, Genny is investigating a gnome who is dealing in garden fairy penises, a popular magical aphrodisiac. I loved that the garden fairies where the magical equivalent of insects, dead after one mating cycle and it added a little credible mythology to the world. Whilst Genny and Katie are poking around fairy bits, they notice they are being watched. Katie is convinced the man changed into an animal, Genny is not so sure, but soon she is finding out more than she ever knew about shifters.
Along with the diplomat’s family, Suzanne also gets her publicist kidnapped. It’s a little inside joke but it made me laugh when Jonathan Weir’s name popped up. I started to get a bit concerned that he’d been forgotten about and what had he done to deserve being killed off in a book?! On top of that, there are loads of small touches of humour which really make this an entertaining series, in a many layered world.
Once again, there’s a lot going on but it all ties up at the end. The Autarch has always been the bogeyman in Genny’s mind but we start to learn a little more about him. By the end, I found him really entertaining and looking forward to seeing more of him in future. Even if he is very much still the bad guy. Genny has some haunted tarot cards leading the way in her mission to get to the bottom of the fae’s fertility curse. The curse that never ends! They lead her to believe that The Emperor holds the answer, another ancient vampire that might even be scarier than the Autarch.
We get to see a different side to Malik. OK, maybe several different sides and a glimpse into his murky past. Genny has finally admitted to herself that she fancies him but he seems to be keeping her at arm’s length. Is he not interested, up to no good, in trouble or could it just be that he doesn’t want his relationship with Genny to be a quick fling?
I know I’ve been charging through these books back-to-back but the previous three books weren’t particularly cliffhangery. I was just so wrapped up in the world that I carried on reading. However now that I’ve got to the end of the currently published books, there is a big stonking cliffhanger ending and I want to know what happens now! Argh!
The Shifting Price of Prey is now available in paperback and ebook formats and is published by Gollancz. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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