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Review: Generation V

I never get tired of reading vampire books. Seriously, never ever, ever. Despite how often they're used in urban fantasy literature nowadays, I'm under the belief that they present a challenge for many authors– because they're used so often, it's an effort to come up with a new mythology for the monsters. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed Generation V,  the first of the Fortitude Scott books by M. L. Brennan so much. The hero isn't stereotypical, the way vampires are created is unique, and the extra creatures aren't common (no werewolves in the series– yet). The book was a lot of fun, and despite it's cover, not meant for a young adult audience. The subject matter is darker and more serious than that, but older readers like me will be able to relate to Fort's adventures and misadventures. Definitely an entertaining read, and a series I doubt I'll grow tired of.

 

Great colours on the cover!

 

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.…

 

Right off the bat, we know that Fort isn't a common hero. He's average and forgettable... except that he's transforming into a vampire. Yes, transforming, not simply becoming one. This definitely captured my attention, since with most vampire stories, the character is bitten and infected and turns almost immediately. Not the case here. The process is long and complicated and involves hosts, and the transformation is increasingly unpredictable. It also takes years of experimentation, trail and error, and ultimately causes some derangement in the subjects. This refreshing take on vampire mythology is one of the key elements of the story, and it kept me curious from beginning to end, especially when it was made clear that there's something different about Fort himself.

 

The other element of the story is the uncomfortable part that doesn't make this entirely suitable for younger audiences– the villain is hunting young girls and tormenting them. And I do mean young, and I do mean torment. It makes the villain absolutely abhorrent, and while nothing truly explicit happens, there are some descriptions that might make some readers curl their lips in disgust. While I'm by no means applauding it, the chosen crime in this book does help to further the idea that is a driving force behind Generation V– that the more a human transforms into a vampire, the less value they have for human life, something that Fort is all too keen to avoid.

 

As I said before, Fortitude, his ironic name aside, isn't what I would call a typical hero. You can tell that from the moment you learn he works at a coffee shop that's essentially the cheaper, crappier version of Starbucks. But that lack of awesomeness is perfect, since when he grows and does become a hero, the transition is surprising and enjoyable. It leaves you wondering where his character can go from here.

 

Fort is by no means the only strong character I've developed a new love for Suzume, his kitsune bodyguard with the most hyperactive attitude of anyone I've read in a long time. I love her. She's truly unpredictable, and not someone whose bad-side I would want to encounter. I also love reading about Chivalry, Fort's older brother who cares deeply about him and does all he can to keep him safe. On the villain side, the main antagonist aside, I was truly terrified of Fort's older sister, Prudence. She's about as far removed from humanity as a person can get and still be considered alive.

 

Generation V is a fun book, and I would recommend it to all urban fantasy fans who are looking for some refreshing lore in their vampire books, and who want to see a "real" man develop beyond his pushover demeanour into a strong protagonist you can't wait to cheer for. Now... if only he could get a decent job.

 

Amy