Review & Interview: Tainted Blood by ML Brennan

January 11, 2015     Danielle Romero     4stars, BlogTour, giveaway, reviews

Review & Interview: Tainted Blood by ML BrennanTainted Blood by M.L. Brennan
Published by Penguin on 2014-11-04
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General, Urban
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
In the third Generation V novel, Fortitude Scott proves that working with family can be deadly... Former film student Fortitude Scott is finally gainfully employed. Unfortunately, said employment happens to be with a group of sociopathic vampires—his family. And as much as Fort is loath to get too deep into the family business, when his brother, Chivalry, is temporarily unable to run the territory, it’s up to Fort to keep things under control. So when the leader of a powerful faction of shifters turns up murdered, Fort finds himself tracking down a killer while navigating dangerous rivalries, longtime grudges, and hidden agendas. Even with the help of his foxy kitsune sidekick, Suzume, he’ll need to pull out all the stops to hunt for the paranormal assassin. But as he calls on fairies, witches, and ghouls for help, he discovers that the problem is much bigger than a single dead werebear. The supernatural community is preparing for a massive shift in power within the Scott family leadership—and Fort has landed right in the middle of the gathering storm....


my thoughtsOnce again ML Brennan shows us how truly unique her writing is by giving us an exciting Urban Fantasy unlike any other on the market. She breaks down traditional expectations and gives you something you never knew you wanted until you had it. Where Generation V started out with a large amount of humor, Tainted Blood is darker, more mysterious, and deliciously decadent. We still see some laughs as we follow Fort and Suze, our dynamic duo, but book three has some more serious notes as Fort takes on his first assignment with the family business. What I am constantly floored by in Brennan’s books are her attentions to every single detail. The family dynamics make this book that much better. His sister, Prudence, is one scary biatch! Their interactions were among some of my favorite throughout the story though I would have liked to see Chilvalry a bit more, and while I felt a bit behind because I have not yet read Iron Night, I was still able to really enjoy this installment.

I feel as though we have barely scratched the surface on the Scott family. Poor Fort is kept in the dark you start to feel sorry for him and we learn so much more about his family in this book that they become more than just the siblings and mother that Fort has the disfortune of being a part of. It is safe to say that I am hooked on Brennan’s books which means a review of Iron Night will be coming soon as it has leapt its way to the top of my TBR pile. I cannot believe I am behind on this amazingly unique series.

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What was your life like before becoming an author?


I got an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing, then an MFA in Fiction, so I was earning pretty bad money teaching college courses as an adjunct, supplemented now and then by fairly crummy jobs in retail. The whole time I was writing away, hoping to get that breakthrough book. I had written one literary fiction book that had gotten to the point where I was signed with an agent, but the book never sold and I was pretty heartbroken. That summer I didn’t pick up extra work during the lag between semesters, and instead I wrote something different – mostly, I think, just to cheer myself up. That was Generation V, and that was the one that sold.


How long have you been writing?


Since I was very young, but I wasn’t serious about it for a long time. When I first went to college, my plan was to dual major in writing and political science, and become a speechwriter. That was probably due to all the West Wing that I was watching back then. I ended up getting a little more cynical about politics and a lot more interested in writing, but I still didn’t think it was something that would be my focus. I actually was in my first semester at law school when I finally realized that this was what I really wanted to do – so I dropped out of law school and got a master’s degree instead. For me, the start of my master’s program is when I became serious about writing.


Why did you begin writing?


Writing was always something that I enjoyed doing as a hobby – I liked the act of storytelling, of creation, of making people laugh or react based on what I’d created. Ultimately, that’s still why I love doing it, even after discovering that it’s fairly hard work.


Do you have a specific writing style?


I tend to ride the line between what’s funny and what’s dark a lot. I love making jokes and having lines that make my readers laugh, and I want there to be a silliness and a sense of fun, but at the same time I need there to be a danger to the world. Just because someone is nice in my world doesn’t mean that I’m going to keep them safe, and just because someone is cruel or nasty doesn’t mean that what they say is wrong.


Where did you gleam the inspiration for your story?


A lot of times I’ll come up with an image or an action that I fall in love with, and everything else ends up hanging on that. With Generation V, it was actually the climactic battle scene that was the first thing I had in mind, with Suzume’s return and Fortitude’s evolution. Sometimes it comes down to plotting out various elements and deciding where I want things to go, and then putting those pieces together like a puzzle. But most importantly, I’m always trying to figure out how to challenge my characters and force them into new directions.


Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?


Oh, of course. I don’t think any author could say no to this. I have an ongoing prank in Tainted Blood that is directly based on a prank that was pulled by some friends of mine – that went straight into the manuscript. The feeling and experience of working at a sucky, low-wage job came from the experiences of both me and a lot of people I knew in the years post-college. Fort’s frustration and confusion at where he is in life, and the feeling of almost betrayal at the uselessness of a degree despite big promises – that’s definitely something that came from life. Even smaller things – Fort’s crummy car was based very much on cars that I knew and drove. A lot of the details and texture of real life (the feeling at a breakup, or the longing for a particular person, or the way you feel about a sibling) filter in and become part of the world.


Can you share a little of your current work with us?


Right now I’m in edits on the fourth American Vampire book, Dark Ascension. I’m really excited about where I’m taking the series, because in a lot of ways this is going to be the book where I pull off the main road and start going into the wilderness.