Suzanne McLeod was another of those reminders that however original you think you are somebody else has already arrived and grabbed all falafel off the buffet table. Although in Suzanne's case she ran off with the kitchen sink as well.No, she *threw* the kitchen sink into the book. This is fantastic London with fae and vampires and satyrs and brownies and vampires and goblins and (healer) dragons and vampires and witches and selkie and vampires and naiads and Sidhe-- but only one Sidhe in the whole of London, our heroine, because the Irish evidently don't come to England unless they're vampires, and in that case we have three of them, all speaking stage Irish, as well as their blood-bonded leprechaun. In a charming hommage to Pratchett, we have concerned fatherly troll policemen, plural. Also vampires. Did I mention the vampires? There are blond English vampires who are real lords and dark-haired eastern vampires who taste of Turkish Delight and French vampires unfortunately called Louis who speak stage French. And goth vampires and thug vampires and even zombie vampires dear god; and all of them want our heroine because she's sidhe- well, half-sidhe-- and sidhe taste so much better than humans.
Alas, our heroine is a ditz. Her identifying verbal marker is '*So* not a good idea' or '*So* not what I wanted.' Ditz is supposed to be able to handle trouble, but any vampire can make her sag and swoon and melt with lust. I'm told this is a mark of vampire novels, which reminds me why I don't read vampire novels. Though now I see *why* there are vampire novels-- romances are no longer allowed to have heroines who are putty in the hands of violent and abusive men. But with vampires, hell, it's not their fault, right? It's the vampire venom wot done it.
The action makes no sense. The motivations make no sense. There are factions and power struggles and people manipulating other people for unexplained reasons, but McLeod is not about to make the who, what, where, when and why of it clear. And when she does, it's rather unconvincing-- all the violence and abuse just for *that*? Our Heroine is constantly being sucked or magicked or blasted into near-death unconsciousness, and then the action cuts to her recovering somewhere thanks to some opportunely arrived deus ex machina or boss or brownie. There are obscure flashbacks to harrowing events in the heroine's past, but never enough to put together a consistent picture. I kept wondering if this was book 2 of the series, because it seemed to presuppose your knowledge of a lot of the situation. But no-- information got given, maybe, later in the book; a device Murasaki Shikibu apparently uses too, but I can't say it confuses the action of Genji the way it does that of The Sweet Scent of Blood.
The whole mess reads like a Yuki Kaori manga, and perhaps would do better if it were. (If nothing else, the descriptions of kewl and sekksy vampires and their clothes would go so much better in pictures.) English narrative generally presupposes some narrative consistency, and gets laughed at when it does the 'A shot rang out. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon' thing. Here it's a surprise! cage match-to-the-death between a vampire and your daddy troll, just to up the emotional ante. Manga can get away with this manipulation because upping the emotional ante is what it's all about. And floating flashbacks with obscure people doing obscure things work just fine visually; see Ima Ichiko for same.
My French cousins laughed when I said I didn't like E.T. because the plot made no sense. 'Mais tu es cartesienne.' Evidently, because most of the reviewers at goodreads give this five stars. I'm with the minority: "The book employed too many cliches. I'm tired of the sexualized protrayals of fae (great in bed/fantastic blood) and vampires (blood-bonding, blah blah blah). There wasn't anything new or interesting, just another heroine who is supposed to be strong, but always a bad decision away from being someone's pet slave."