Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Life is always easier when your opponents are idiots.”
Fortitude Scott, a twenty something vampire, is attempting to handle his transition from human to full vampire with as much grace as possible but it’s hard when he’s unsure exactly what’s happening and his family isn’t exactly racing to help him. His need to hang on to his humanity defines his life but Fort is finding it harder and harder to maintain his morality when his needs are becoming more demanding. Fort is also becoming more active in the family business while his brother Chivalry is ‘indisposed’.
When the Scott family’s presence is requested to investigate the murder of the local were clan leader, Fort is sent to handle the job and calls in his crush and kitsune sidekick, Suzume, to help him. But nothing ever comes easy for Fort and soon he finds himself neck deep in long held grudges, hidden agendas, and dangerous rivalries. But the real danger is the coming shift in power in the supernatural community…a shift that has everything to do with his family.
This series continues to impress. Brennan takes supernatural lore and vampire legend of old, giving it a much needed modern updating. Forget sparkling misunderstood monsters and their emotional angst, these vampires aren’t looking for true love or understanding…they rule their their lives and those around them with an iron fist and love every single minute of it. Eclectic and entertaining with it’s thinly veiled violent tendencies and dark comedic undertones, the star of this show is it’s protagonist, Fortitude Scott, and his reluctant journey towards his destiny.
“Yes, irritating isn’t it? I told you Chivalry won’t feed until he finds himself a new wife. […] Now you’re starting to see why that behavior is ridiculous.”
“Not feeding makes you want ham?”
Tainted blood picks up not long after Iron Night. Chivalry’s wife has passed and Fort finds himself at a loss while Chivalry occupied with his grief and finding a new wife. Having been shadowing his brother in learning his business affairs, Fort finds the Scott’s methods of controlling their territory to be medievil at best and tries his best to mediate quarrels and problems so his sister Prudence isn’t called into “handle the situation.” A strong bridge book, Brennan uses the main conflict to branch out and set up new storylines.
Fort continues to develop both emotionally and physically though he still maintains an air of innocence and sincerely that is appealing when you compare him to the supernaturals around him. He has not had the time nor the situations to become as jaded as those around him. It’s interesting how sheltered his family has kept him when you are faced with their overall ruthlessness. The youngest and most modern of the Scott family, Fort’s ideas of fairness and justice are causing ripples in his family and the community as a whole.
“You’re acting without considering consequences, Fortitude. That will catch up with you, probably very soon, and this time I will not be stepping in to save you.”
Heavily character driven, Brennan continues develop and evolve her main characters while introducing new characters to her expanding world. The mainstay for me in this series continues to be the dynamics of the characterization. Each is imbibed with a sense of familiarity that makes it incredibly easy to relate to them with each new installment. Family is still a strong theme and we not only see this with Fort and his family, but also with other characters and the storyline itself. It’s here that Brennan nails home the point to Fort that his family are not infallible. His once seemingly immortal mother is growing weaker each day. His brother, who has always been his rock and protector, fails Fort at a critical time and that leaves him with some uncomfortable feelings. His sister, with whom he has always had an tenacious relationship, shocks Fort by coming to his rescue and providing him with the necessary tools in his continuing evolution. Brennan spends more time overall in various supernatural households showing that change is coming as the ways of the past are no longer working.
The conflict and plotlines are strong though the story centers mainly on Fort and Suzume’s investigation of the murder with little interaction from Fort’s family. Fort is forced to call upon other supernaturals to help in his investigation, who in turn appeal to him in hopes of gaining more freedom in their lives which are currently controlled by the Scotts. Suzume continues to have Fort’s back even as she teases and pranks him with impunity that is seasoned with increasing affection. Fort’s friendship with Suzume continues to be an integral part of the storyline though steps are finally taken that push it into the direction Fort has been hoping for.
“ I window shopped you for a long time…I finally decided to try you on.”
The ending comes at us fast with plenty of action, violence, and suspense. Fort makes decisions that are in direct violation of what his family wanted which may come back to haunt him. Foreshadowing is at it’s peak, introducing multiple sub plots to give us clues to the future.
“Now is the time for all of you to bridge your differences.”
I will continue to wholeheartedly recommend this series to everyone who enjoys a dark humorous urban fantasy that focuses heavily on family and the intricate ties that bind. I had previously voiced that I felt the series as a whole had a NA feel to it due to age and attitude of the main lead, however, in this installment, I didn’t sense that at all.
Overall Rating: A