**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: American Vampire
Published by Roc on May 7, 2013
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Vampires
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.
But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.
But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.
I always get excited when I read the first book in a new series. There’s always the promise of something new, original and immersive. M.L. Brennan’s GENERATION V fulfilled that promise and then some. If I could distill what I loved about this book into two words, those words would be Fortitude Scott.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, fortitude is the “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” This defines Fortitude Scott, the hero of GENERATION V, perfectly. Fortitude is the anti-alpha, a welcome hero in a genre that is glutted with alphas. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good alpha male character in my urban fantasy but I just fell in love with how real Fort felt. He is twenty something, has a useful degree in Film Theory, a dead end job at a coffee shop, and a manipulative roommate and girlfriend who sleep with each other. How can things get worse, right? They do. But I’ll get to that. Fort is smart, with a sharp, self-deprecating voice that had me laughing out loud and wanting to find him a nice girlfriend. Because he deserves it. He’s such a nice guy! Fort is so lovingly ordinary that he feels like an everyman, but underneath the humor lies a strength of character that makes him remarkable. It is precisely this well-defined, original, new voice that hooked me into the story from page one.
But Fort is also a vampire facing full transition, desperately trying to hold onto his humanity. This is where the humor of Fort’s voice really counterbalances the darkness of his world. He has a vampire family – the deceptively strong Madeline, his mother, and his siblings, the downright scary Prudence, and the aptly named Chivalry. How he was born and the complex relationship he has with his mother and siblings is the dark heart of the story. The relationships he has with them are built on fear, though there could be a true fondness between him and Chivalry, and I found the layers in these relationships fascinating. Given his history with them, I can’t understand why he doesn’t detest them all but then again, he doesn’t have much choice but to be part of this family if he’s to understand and survive his transition.
Brennan’s vampire world is dark and she gives us an unredeemable, disgusting villain to pit Fort against. Given Fort’s, shall we say, lack of physical strength and obvious youth, the stakes are high. You worry he won’t make it. But there’s no courage without fear and Brennan firmly places this seemingly ordinary young man in the middle of extraordinary circumstances and the resulting conflict kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.
Finally, Suzume. She is Kitsune, the mythical Japanese fox shifter. And she is a badass. Suzume is everything Fort is not – confident, aggressive, physical, and very plugged into the supernatural world around them. There’s definitely chemistry and, as his bodyguard, she and Fort spend a lot of time together. I loved their banter, I loved Suzume’s badassery, and the kitsune myth is an not oft used world in urban fantasy. I hope we see more of her.
If I had to get picky I would say some of the world-building got a little foggy for me. Specifically, in Brennan’s creation, a vampire’s birth is an original concept but I had to re-read some sections in order to understand the process. Fort’s birth is a bit of a mystery so I fully expect those concepts to be further explained over the course of the series.
Regardless, GENERATION V is a wonderful start to an interesting new series. Funny and dark with a hero you can’t help but love, Brennan’s American Vampire series is now on my auto-buy list. 4.5 Howls!