cover image Tainted Blood

Tainted Blood

M.L. Brennan. Roc, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-41842-5

This wickedly clever sequel to Iron Night will appeal to readers who hunger for fantasy that’s dark but not too frightening. As Chivalry Scott mourns his 19th wife, his brother Fortitude, the series hero, struggles to figure out who murdered a powerful were-bear. Battling the blood lust of vampiric transformation, he must play politician, confront a growing conspiracy of power-hungry Faeries, and resist seductive shape-shifter Suzume Hollis’s teasing advances. Rapid-fire prose and intimate characterization infuse stock mythic figures with pertinence and attitude. Fortitude is an enthralling good boy going bad, struggling to merge monstrous powers with humility and wisdom. An outsider among humans and his psychotic vampire family, Fortitude doesn’t even know himself. His exhausting journey inward injects psychological integrity into mounting suspense and explosive action. Self-referential comedy and operatic tragedy make sexy bedmates, enhanced by lush atmosphere and sharp dialogue. Brennan’s smart, sassy, and seductive vampire mythos injects fresh blood into a lethargic subgenre. (Nov.)