**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 #2
Published by Roc on January 7, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Vampires
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
Underemployed by day. Undead by night.
Underachieving film theory graduate and vampire Fortitude Scott may be waiting tables at a snooty restaurant run by a tyrannical chef who hates him, but the other parts of his life finally seem to be stabilizing. He's learning how to rule the Scott family territory, hanging out more with his shapeshifting friend Suzume Hollis, and has actually found a decent roommate for once.
Until he finds his roommate’s dead body.
The Scott family cover-up machine swings into gear, but Fort is the only person trying to figure out who (or what) actually killed his friend. His hunt for a murderer leads to a creature that scares even his sociopathic family, and puts them all in deadly peril.
Keeping secrets, killing monsters, and still having to make it to work on time? Sometimes being a vampire really sucks.
I received a finished copy of IRON NIGHT for review from the publisher but I bought a Kindle copy for myself because I love this series that much that I wanted to have a digital copy and a hard copy. After having read the first book in the series, GENERATION V, I knew that I was in for something special – a main character I love (Fortitude Scott), a sidekick-maybe-love-interest who kicks ass and serves hilarious snark (Suzume Hollis), and a very original and compelling vampire mythos. IRON NIGHT delivered on all that and more. I was not disappointed.
Fortitude is my favorite thing about this series. He’s a unique hero in a genre that tends to go for the alpha-male-sexy vampire trope. Fort doesn’t glitter, or wear leather pants, or have wind blowing through his long hair. He’s a geek who happens to be a vampire desperately trying to hold onto his humanity and I find his character relatable (as much as a vampire can be) and just a lot of fun. In the first book, Fort is physically weak and generally clueless about the supernatural world he finds himself a part of. In IRON NIGHT, he’s buffed up and is clued into the working of the world around him and his responsibilities to it. But what’s truly compelling is his growing realization about his bloodier instincts. He’s beginning to struggle with his vampire nature and his human sympathies. Fort is realizing there may come a time when he can’t control it; he’s realizing there is a harder edge inside himself that is just starting to show. Brennan did a fabulous job of developing Fort and pacing his growth. Seeing the character slowly change before you, and the lingering question of who he will become, makes for the best kind of hero.
The mystery at the heart of IRON NIGHT is pretty gruesome and, of course, I loved it. Fort’s roommate is murdered, various body parts cut off, and Fort makes it his mission to bring the killer to some version of justice. His search takes us into the Elf community, which isn’t all pixie dust and is generally pretty screwed up. The mystery is well-plotted, has a few surprising points, and kept me interested throughout. Through this mystery, the supernatural world of Providence, RI is opened up a bit more along with knowledge of how the Scott family is positioned in it. They rule the place. It’s almost like a mafia family where businesses pay money to the Scotts in order to operate in their territory. Suddenly, the realization of who Fort is is only further reinforced.
And of course the supporting characters are stunning. Suzume Hollis in all her badass glory is back. But, much like Fort, we see a different girl. Under all her bravado and smartass commentary is a vulnerable heart. The tension between her and Fort is fantastic and you just wish Fort would pick up on the clues. We learn more about the Kitsune, the Japanese shapeshifting foxes, and Suzume’s cautionary tale about loving a human. I’m hoping book three gives us more of the Kitsune! It really is a standout mythos with a wonderful female character at its center. And, finally, Prudence, Fort’s sister. Prudence! She’s one scary lady. She tags along as Fort’s enforcer and there are some breakthrough moments in her and Fort’s relationship. Prudence wants her baby brother to grow up and does something drastic to make that happen. It’s a crazy well-written moment that elucidates why Fort is different.
I can really go on and on – the worldbuilding is original, Brennan expertly balances the light with the dark, the dialogue crackles…There’s nothing I didn’t like. Though I admit there were a lot of fractions and I was never good at math. You have to read the book to understand. And it would be worth it. ML Brennan has created one of my favorite new urban fantasy series with it’s original world and compelling hero. If you want a fresh new take on the vampire mythos, you would do well to start here. 5 howls!