The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod

Some people, when writing urban fantasy, like to keep the magical aspects of their world low key and subtle. They aim for a certain understated elegance whereby the fantastic lurks in interstices of the mundane world.

Other people say ‘Oh bondage up yours’, rip the kitchen sink from the wall and fling in to the bubbling cauldron of story. Susanne McLeod is one of the loud people her spellcracker.com series is filled to the brim with witches, fey, sorcerers, vampires, trolls and the sort of colour that is usually the preserve Jack Vance and people who are seriously off their meds,

Now others have taken this approach and have ended up with either a thick, brown, unappetising mush or a novel so weighed down with cliché that it slips from your fingers and, in defiance of Isaac Newton, falls sideways to strike the opposite wall with enough force to rattle the windows.

McLeod dances past these pitfalls and delivers a book where the weight of the concepts is transmitted perfectly down the arm of story, into the fist prose that connects smartly with the rubbery nose of reader enjoyment. And with my metaphor slipping slowly into the west I think I’m going to stop here…

About Paul Graham Raven

Science fiction, foresight, (post)humanities, infrastructure futures research. Guitarist, scruffy mountebank. Opinions mine, not my employer's. Velcro City · http://www.velcro-city.co.uk
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