Review: The Shifting Price of Prey / Author: Suzanne McLeod / Publisher: Gollancz / Release Date: Out Now
Urban fantasy broadly splits into two distinct styles; veiled, in which the world appears normal but there are supernatural elements under the hood waiting for the unwary, and unveiled, where goblins run market stalls and vampire rights are debated in parliament. The Shifting Price of Prey falls very much into the latter category, and also follows another convention of urban fantasy; the kickass heroine with a heart filled with lust.
The plot follows on from previous novels in the series; the protagonist, Genny, is a fae-blooded woman with the power to break enchantments; basically, if it’s magic, she can smash it. She works for a franchise of witches called Spellcrackers.com and in this latest novel, her job is to prevent the arrival of a mystical carnival from causing too much chaos in the streets of London. Add to that the mandatory infatuation with a powerful vampire and an ongoing plot to cure a major faerie curse and what we get is a messy, but fun, little supernatural romp.
Fans of the earlier Anita Blake books will be on familiar ground here; this a book filled with slow burning passion, supernatural naughtiness and highly personal twists. What improves the whole affair is that McLeod has crafted an addictive yet believable world filled with dreams, nightmares and strangeness. Combined with a rambling yet interesting first person narrative this makes the various sub-plots a little difficult to follow, but it is worth ploughing through, despite being quite predictable in places.
Fans of Kelly Armstrong and Laurel K Hamilton may want to consider adding McLeod to their shelves, as she’s certainly on the same level. If you’re looking for something deeper, however, or with a less self-obsessed protagonist, then you should look elsewhere. This is more of the same for those who like this sort of thing, and brings nothing new to the urban fantasy table. If you need a day under the covers with an enjoyable read and a bucket of ice cream, then this is for you.