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A Taint in the Blood: A Novel of the Shadowspawn Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 4, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
The "Publisher's Weekly" writeup complains that
"Stirling hits just about every cliché, from the
grizzled vampire hunter and mentor
to Adrienne's pathologically devoted servants...".
The book includes these elements, but Mr. Stirling's approach to these
cliches is decidedly un-cliched.
None of it seems forced, and the plot lines seem very much
character- rather than plot-driven.
As his career has progressed, Stirling has gotten better and
better at writing *people*; this book does not disappoint in that
regard. There are no "why would someone do THAT?" moments that
seem typical of genre novels.
One of the real strengths of the book (and of Mr. Stirling's work
generally) is the depth to which the world and the bases for
the Shadowspawn's talents have been thought through.
This differentiates "Taint in the Blood" very strongly from
books like Laurell Hamilton's, where vampires just *are*, with the
world otherwise pretty much unchanged from the one we live in.
I think Mr. Stirling had fun writing this book;
I certainly had fun reading it, and look forward to the sequels.
Stirling's big strength in all his books is world building. Here he takes the traditional vampire lore and twists it into a shape that's more interesting than most urban fantasy. There's the history and origins of modern-day 'demon cannibals' who are born not made, mix in Shadowspawn proclivities and lifestyle, add a pinch of killing methods and details about warfare, and fold in the rules of the Power and how to work around it. Then you bake it into something that looks like a regular cake, but is actually a molten lava cake filled with chocolaty goodness (couldn't help myself, the novel is filled with all sorts of foodie details).
This book has all the clichés. There's the main character Adrian, the wealthy and brooding immortal who's trying to break away from his evil family and their 'humans are only good for food' attitudes. There's the grizzled mentor Harvey, thrice divorced, who carries around his sawed-off shotgun with silver bullets and used to work with Adrian for the Brotherhood. There's the plucky heroine Ellen with the body of a goddess (she's a dead ringer for Marilyn Monroe...Read more ›
The start of this story is the blip in which Stirling's short story, "Pain and Suffering" (P&S) begins.
This is seriously creepy! I got turned on to this series by a short story I caught in Down These Strange Streets: "Pain and Suffering" (Shadowspawn, #2), and it sounded intriguing. I never expected a character like Adrienne. This woman is seriously evil. It's just incredible how well Stirling writes the evil of the Shadowspawn. They're terribly intelligent vampire-like beings who are also staggeringly self-absorbed with very sensitive tastebuds which makes some aspects of their eating behaviors a gastronome's delight. But they swing back---often---to their discussions of their ruling the world, and I wanna get off!
Stirling provides a very subtle tell as Jose, Peter, and Monica try to put a good face on the state of their lucyhood in their informal meet-and-greet between Ellen. It's just gut-clenching how horrifying that subtle is. The backstories Stirling created for them were interesting, and something of an indictment against our world.
Ick, there was something morbidly fascinating about Dr. Duggan's clinical observations of Homos sapiens nocturnus as well as her practical instructions on surviving a feeding...double-ick.
I'm clueless about the whole "I driiiink youuurrr miiiiilk shake" routine...
The truly scary part is that Stirling compels you to feel sympathy for Monica, even as she terrifies you. He's almost as bad as she is in appealing and repelling you from paragraph to paragraph.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got to chapter 4 and threw it out. This was horribly written. The first Chapter was "okay". I was hoping it would get better but instead got worse. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dragonomine
I read the whole thing and was hoping the end would make the book worth it. The end was too simplistic and easy. The book was just bad. Read morePublished 15 months ago by MBC
I stopped reading this about 325 pages into it. When it comes to the point I'm just skipping over stuff, I'm done. Tired of reading about their blood, food, etc. Read morePublished 18 months ago by KCarlson
S.M Stirling gives the vampire genre an interesting twist. This is a good light read, I found it engaging and entertaining.Published 21 months ago by Rebecca Cheney
Good series, on my second time reading it. Definitely something different for me. Stirling can be dark, and this series certainly is.Published on May 22, 2014 by Nancy Whyms and Richard Blackburn
I listened to A Taint of Blood on audio book as background noise while working. I also almost stopped because some of the the accents were difficult for me to get used to. Read morePublished on March 1, 2014 by Pabkins
After reading much of Stirling's other works, i was looking forward on his take on the supernatural. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by Jeff Klein
Too much time was spend on Ellen
Too much detail on the sex/feeding I don't need a detail breakdown of dominate submissive relationship. Read more