Review: A Taint of Blood by S.M. Stirling

January 19, 2014 3 stars, Audio Book, Book Review 9 ★★★

A Taint in the Blood S.M. Stirling

First in the new Shadowspan series from the New York Times bestselling “master of speculative fiction” (Library Journal).

Eons ago, Homo Lupens ruled the earth. Possessing extraordinary powers, they were the source of all of the myths and legends of the uncanny. And though their numbers have been greatly reduced, they exist still- though not as purebreds.

Adrian Breze is one such being. Wealthy and reclusive, he is more Shadowspawn than human. But he rebelled against his own kind, choosing to live as an ordinary man. Now, to save humanity, he must battle the dark forces of the world-including those in his own blood…

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. They seriously grated on my nerves in the very beginning. But of course the more I listened I eventually got used to it and it wasn’t so bad.

Adrian is a shadowspawn, hellspawn? demonspawn? The word they used already escapes me hah! But anyways think vampire but he’s one that fights his nature – he doesn’t want to drink blood and when he has to it gets it from a cold icky donated blood bag from The Red Cross. He figures he donates to the institution and he’s a man in need of some volunteer blood from time to time. Someone has a guilty conscience much?

So he and his girlfriend Ellen just split and right about that time Adrian’s evil twin sister comes to town and abducts her. Very unfortunate for us audio listeners her name is Adrienne. You know I might even have this backwards since I listened instead of reading it – so my spelling could be wrong here are their names. It doesn’t matter really because in the audio it sounds almost freaking exactly the same when pronounced…kind of bugged me to no end. If I would have read it instead of listening I bet it wouldn’t have bothered me so much.

As we move along Adrian gets pulled back into an organization he had retired from that are out to kill off the evil menace (they don’t really do such a great job of it) – and he’s off to rescue his kidnapped lady from said evil twin.

A few mild concerns: There was a touch bit of overload on info for me in A Taint of Blood but I think if I would have read it instead of listened to it I would have enjoyed it more. Some of the scenarios seems a wee bit convenient but what is fantasy if not convenient?

The telepathic talking portion with the long pauses between each word in the narration almost ended things for me entirely and I was a touch close to not continuing with the audio. Can you tell yet that I’m a sensitive freaking listener?

All things considered, it looks like it could be a good series so I’m going to continue. Though I’m going to skip book 2 and go straight to book 3 as part of a personal experiment. As I honestly didn’t listen with undivided attention to A Taint of Blood  and it was only given 1/3 of my attention while I went through my normal workday, my review might not be entirely fair. The third book I’m going to actually read in print so we’ll see how it holds up to my – trying books later in a series as a ‘standalone’ experiment.

A Taint of Blood

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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9 Responses to “Review: A Taint of Blood by S.M. Stirling”

  1. Pamela D

    That is so annoying that two characters almost have the same name! I would be so confused, if I was listening to the audio book. Good luck with your stand alone experiment.
    Pamela D recently posted…Sunday Update!My Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I know! I mean the names I’m sure are probably spelled different but when they are pronounced in the audio they just sound WAY too much alike for me and it kept freaking confusing me. So yes definitely continuing on with the print versions only on these books. I would have rated it better I bet if I hadn’t listened to the audio. Funny how the audio can send you one way or the other.

  2. Wendy Darling

    Oh, one of those conscientious blood-bag-drinking vampires, huh? I bet he drives a Prius, too. 😛

    This is the first review I’ve read for this book, and the story sounds awesome! I don’t mind the quibbles you have with the book in theory, and if you’re interested enough to continue with the series, it sounds like it’s definitely worth checking out. I’ve heard good things about this author’s other books.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Reviews: Going Rogue and Burn BrightMy Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Hey hey now! I drive a Prius! It ZOOMS babY!

      Well it’s an older title – I think at least 3 years old. I’m determined to start reading more of the books I’ve been “meaning” to read this year instead of only review books. Course I’m already fully stacked up on review books as well. But no matter I’m going to read oldies too from now on. At least one or more a month. How else can we discover and share those old gems?

      Definitely interesting enough to continue on. At the time when I wrote this review I was too focused on the things that bugged me (mostly audio quibbles) so I’m looking forward to reading more.n I like the main character too.

  3. Wendy Darling

    Hah hah, my brother has a Prius. 😛 I’m just poking fun at the very PC nature of it all.
    I saw the ratings on GoodReads and now I’m nervous about the book, though. I think I may wait to see what you think of the sequels before deciding.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Discussion: Bookish Pet PeevesMy Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Agreed – It wasn’t stand outish, personally I wouldn’t recommend it to you. It doesn’t scream WENDY to me. But we’ll see how I like the next one I read. I can’t wait to see your adult blog go live. I feel like I know so much more of your YA tastes than your adult tastes. But I think we might be right in line with our SFF adult AND YA books. For this particular series – I noticed the third book in the series was coming out so I grabbed it for review and thought hmm I wanted to read the first anyway so lets give her a go.

      So I wasn’t blown away but interested enough to skip the second and read the third. Am I terrible? LOL Do you ever skip books? I think when it comes to reviewing now I can do it – I never would before I became a blogger.