It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of M.L. Brennan’s American Vampire series. If you’re into urban fantasy you’ll want to read Generation V.

Recently I got the opportunity to read/review the third book in the series, Tainted Blood (out November 4 from Roc) and I loved it. I also got the opportunity to pick Brennan’s mind about the series.


NICK SHARPS: Sell me Tainted Blood (American Vampire #3) in one sentence.

M.L. BRENNAN: Fortitude Scott gets thrown into the deep end when his brother’s personal crisis means that he’s stuck monitoring the family territory – just in time for the murder of the werebear leader to land him and his wingwoman, kitsune Suzume, on the trail of a killer.
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan, the third book in the Generation V vampire series.

Here’s the synopsis:
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MIND MELD: How to Avoid The Suck Fairy of Re-Reads

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

This week we asked our participants to talk about the perils of re-reading. Going back to a book read in one’s golden age of SF reading can be a fraught exercise. Characters we thought we wonderful can turn out to be wooden. Settings we thought diverse and open turn out to be monochromatic. Plots that enthralled us can seem facile. Books we enjoyed can be rife with questionable material. Writers whose work we loved can turn out to be terrible human beings.

Q: Let’s talk about Jo Walton’s “Suck fairy”. How do you find the process of re-reading a book? How does a re-read of a book change your initial bliss and happiness with the book? Do you have any strategies for avoiding disappointment? What books have managed to escape the suck fairy for you?

Here’s what they said…

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BOOK REVIEW: Iron Night by M.L. Brennan

REVIEW SUMMARY: Amazing sequel that sees a stronger plot and even greater character development.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Someone or something is killing humans in a particularly gruesome way and it just happened to pick the wrong target – the roommate of Fortitude Scott. Fort, now being brought up to speed on the family business, pursues the killer with vengeance in mind, but he might have stumbled onto something far more dangerous than a common murderer.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Fortitude is really coming into his own; Suzume is as awesome as ever; the family dynamic is developing interestingly; the elves are 50 shades of creepy; and the plot itself is an improvement.
CONS: The final showdown was a little too short.
BOTTOM LINE: I haven’t been this excited about a series in a long time. This is urban fantasy at its best, with a strong focus on characters and relationships and an awesome take on established creatures.
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BOOK REVIEW: Generation V by M.L. Brennan

REVIEW SUMMARY: An entertaining and thoughtful urban fantasy thriller.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Vampire and college graduate Fortitude Scott must embrace the supernatural world he has so long avoided in order to stop a vicious monster.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Great characters, great dialogue, great themes.
CONS: Forgettable villain, lead character is occasionally eclipsed by support.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a strong debut with a lot of heart, with an interesting take on the vampire mythos.

I haven’t had a whole lot of time for reading lately (blasphemy, I know) but I was recently able to finish M.L. Brennan’s Generation V and boy-howdy was it a fun novel! I’m not big on vampires. I don’t find them as boring as zombies but they’ve never appealed to me like other monsters. I do love the movie 30 Days of Night for making vampires frightening (perhaps I should check out the comic) and Jonathan Maberry’s portrayal of blood suckers in Assassin’s Code is insanely awesome. Brennan’s vampires are extremely interesting in a completely different way.
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M.L. Brennan‘s urban fantasy debut Generation V was published by Roc this year. The adventures of Fortitude Scott will continue in the sequel, Iron Night, which is slated for publication in January 2014. Follow M.L. Brennan on Twitter as @BrennanML.

Beneath the Veneer of Escapism

by M.L. Brennan

On its surface, science-fiction and fantasy are about the strange, the unreal, the future, the past, the never-will-be-never-was, and sometimes the maybe. For the most part, except for a few line-walkers like Margaret Atwood, it’s viewed as genre escapism and shelved far away from the literary stuff. But peel back the surface and what you see is that these books are always about the present, and the questions they raise are very humanistic ones. Who are we as a people and a species? What horrors and wonders are we capable of?

I’ve taught college classes for a few years, and twice I’ve managed to slide William Gibson’s Neuromancer onto my syllabus. Oh, the horror on some of my students’ faces when they see it and hear me say the word “cyberpunk” for the first time.

It’s inevitable. A business major will squeak, “But I don’t get science!”

“It’s not about science,” I assure them. “It’s about morality.” (fact: that statement does not reassure a college first-year)
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