This is a difficult book to review, if only because of the conflicting emotions it engenders. On one hand, it is wonderfully complex, with rich mythology and magical theory wrapped around a mystery. On the other hand, THE BITTER SEED OF MAGIC is frustratingly complex, to the point where even the "after the action" recap, complete with family trees and a play by play explanation, wasn't quite enough to untangle the snarl of crisscrossing motives and lies. I'd like to think that some of that snarl would be smoothed out by reading prior books, but as McLeod did such a good job bringing me up to speed on so many other aspects of this intricate world, I don't think it's entirely accurate to assume that the plot itself couldn't stand without the support of the prior books.
Even without understanding all the nuances that culminated in the book's end, I also found it the reality of the resolution a little... hollow. Though the fertility curse complicates Genny's relationship with the men in her life, resolution of this book's central mystery by no means means that Genny's troubles are over. Much like the October Daye
series, reading THE BITTER SEED OF MAGIC managed to engage me in the present book while piquing my interest in the backstory that brought Genny and all of her delicious, dangerous men to the present day stand-off. I'm willing to risk a little plot frustration to enjoy more of this world building. Be warned, however, though not sexually graphic, some of McLeod's older Fae and vampires have a distinctly "Greek mythology" morality, particularly as it relates to consent and incest.
Sexual Content: Kissing, references to sex, rape, and incest.