Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers
Book three of M.L. Brennan’s GENERATION V series and Fortitude Scott is starting to annoy me. Why? Because Fort’s progressive, do-gooder attitudes are eventually going to get a lot of people killed if he keeps siding with groups other than his family.
After the big conflict with the Elves (Ad-Hene) that led to Prudence, his older sister, trying to force his final transition to becoming a full vampire, Fortitude has been taking on more and more responsibility within the family business. It’s truly like a mafia family, but instead of managing drugs, prostitution and robbery, they are controlling other supernatural races who live with permission in Fort’s mother’s territory. The challenge for Fortitude is that he seems to have taken in the brain-washing of socially progressive Ivy League graduates who want to pretend that everyone is actually nice and that bad things only happen when we provoke them.
Chivalry’s wife has died. This is an inevitable event for a human who shares blood with a mature vampire over time. No matter how healthy the human is, the eventual outcome is illness and death. The fact that Bhumika loved Chivalry so much that she willing risked death to share his life doesn’t fit with Fortitude’s perception of the world. Again, his attitudes run counter to the best interests of his family and he can’t help but judge his brother for what has happened.
With Chivalry grieving for his dead wife, Fortitude is assigned the liaison work with the metsan kunigas (shapeshifters who turn into bears) after the murder of their leader. For Fort this is another chance to get to know more about the hidden communities that live under his mother’s control. It’s another area where Fort’s socially progressive attitudes begin to cause problems. As the investigation progresses, Fort continues to compromise core agreements that have existed between the vampires and other races. His desire to see those other races flourish and have more self-governance creates a very real conflict with his older, much more powerful siblings.
As much as I detest the soft-headed progressive that Fortitude seems to be growing into, his relationship with Suzume is a lot of fun. Brennan’s depiction of the Kistune is quite interesting and the development of their social pecking order and breeding habits is very well thought out. I wish that Fort could embrace a little of the hard edge that they seem to understand.
Of the three books that Brennan has released in this series, I liked Tainted Blood the least. The story felt too politically correct for an urban fantasy story with characters and ideals that seem headed towards some really, really ugly consequences. I respect Brennan for having Fortitude begin to grow a backbone, but I am expecting some magic wand waving in the next book to show how everything is going to be fine and Fortitude is not going to find himself very, very permanently dead because he pushes his sister and brother too far. There are real consequences for trying to fight the natural order of things and I will have to wait and see if Brennan agrees or decides to wish them all away.