M.L. Brennan

Books: Fantasy

Generation V (2013), Iron Night (2014), Tainted Blood (2014), Dark Ascension (2015)

Generation V

Generation V (2013)

generation-vFortitude Scott is the youngest of three children, and a vampire. But being a century and a half younger than his closest sibling, Chivalry, makes things difficult. Especially since he hasn't fully transitioned and is trying very hard to hold onto his humanity.

First, I really liked the vampire mythology she created here. She has a very different take on how vampires are created as well as how they survive and what can kill them. And how they've managed to hide for so long.

Fort, as a not yet transformed vampire, is interesting. For very good reasons, he resents his vampire family, but his mother decided he should be raised as he was for reasons that slowly become clear (though not explicitly so) as the story progresses.

There was a fair amount of humor–much of it Fort's self-depreciation.

Clearly my usual workout sessions of standing still and pouring coffee were not enough to keep pace with a fox.

But I have to say that Fort's being a doormat got irritating rather quickly. I suppose that it made a kind of sense, but I did find it hard to believe that Fort would really not have a spine. It didn't throw me out of the story, but he did take passivity to extremes that made me want to smack him.

Also, there are kitsune.

"Suzume, I'm not going to carry this," I called.

"Why not? Don't worry, it's stolen."

I do love tricksters.

There were a couple things that were excellent, and a couple things that bugged me. At one point, Fort goes to one of his siblings for help. I really liked how that turned out–it was not how one would have expected that meeting to go.

On the other hand, I really am not fond of the trope of a character walking away and coming back to help the protagonist at the last minute. Just once I'd love for a fully developed secondary character to walk away and NOT return just in the nick of time, forcing the protagonist to save themselves.

That wasn't enough to make me dislike the book, it's more a personal quirk of how I wish things were instead of how they actually were.

But it was very interesting, and I'm looking forward to the next book.

Published by Roc

January 2014 | Rating: 8/10

Iron Night (2014)

iron-knightThis is the sequel to Generation V, and finds Fort (short for Fortitude (his mother is centuries old, so you'll have to forgive his name)) working with his brother Chivalry (see aforementioned comment about their mother) checking up on the various creatures and beings who owe fealty to the Scott family.

While he's still trying to hold down a shitty job and live on his own. And also get in shape and learn the basics of defending himself. (He did get the crap beat out of him in the last book, so he had plenty of motivation for the physical changes he is choosing to make.)

His sister Prudence (his mother chose poorly in naming her, seeing as how she seems to lack all Prudence) still seems to hate him, and doesn't understand Fort at all–or why his mother has chosen to raise him as she has. (This is actually fascinating–how vampire babies are made.)

The dialog was sharp and enjoyable.

"They are very good at hiding, not unintelligent, and are good at disposing of bodies without leaving much evidence behind. It's a fact of the world that those qualities can be very useful."

I mean, this is wonderfully self-aware and snide:

"Being a waiter is not a career choice; it is a job-hunt default."

And I continue to adore Suzume.

"Are you always hungry ?" Hosting Suzume was already proving to be a drain on my wallet, and I winced.

"I'm a fox, Fort. We're opportunistic predators."

I mean, really adore Suzume:

She lasted halfway through the movie (admittedly only that long because of the presence of both Sigourney Weaver and the badass female helicopter pilot) before changing into her fox form and spending the remainder of the film playing with a balled-up piece of paper.

Yeah, I totally have a crush on yet another trickster. Go figure.

Additionally, there are tons and TONS of nods to many different flavors of geekery.

For one awkward second, I realized that the only way Suzume could possibly look hotter to me was if she had a tattoo of the TARDIS on the middle of her lower back. I was profoundly grateful in that moment that the kitsune were unable to read minds.

The story is well done, the mystery is interesting, and I am fascinating by the changes Fort is going through, as he continues to become a full vampire.

All in all, good fun. (And it gets an extra half point for multiple Firefly references.)

Published by Roc

May 2014 | Rating: 8.5/10

Tainted Blood (2014)

tainted_bloodThis is the third book in the Generation V novel, and finds Fort helping to cover for his brother, following the death of Chivalry's latest wife. This means he's sent to take care of situations where he is in over his head.

Luckily for him, he's friends with Suze, and a kitsune can be a very helpful partner in an investigation.

As it had turned out, a fox is very capable of jumping straight to the top of a refrigerator, then hopping on top of the hanging cabinets, scampering over to the bakery tin, and gobbling a third of the contents before you can stop her.

Well, mostly.

But she is helpful, because they're dealing with the metsän kunigas, or bears.

The man was suddenly and effectively hip-checked to the side by a woman whose age and facial features matched his too well to be anything other than a close sibling. Her chin-length haircut might've suggested Busy Professional Mother, but her expression clearly read Irritated Big Sister.

Fort also has to learn more about his heritage, about how to be a vampire.

Which is very interesting. I'm quite fascinated by the way things are turning out in this story, about how scientific Prudence is about vampire feeding needs and requirements. And how Fort reacts to his future life and what it will entail.

But of course the story is also filled with plenty of snark, as Fort continues to refuse to live of his mother's fortune.

Living in a college town as I do, I am quite familiar with the type of housing offered up to students.

(T)hose tired but massive apartment buildings that are such a staple of off-campus housing that the owners have realized that they never have to do maintenance ever again, because naïve young students will continue forking over their parents' money regardless of the size of the rat infestation.

So it's another interesting addition to the series, and I continue to be curious as to how Fort will manage once he completes his transition.

Published by ROC

December 2014 | Rating: 7.5/10

Dark Ascension (2015)

Dark-AscensionI believe this is the conclusion to the series. If it's not the conclusion, then I'm extremely disappointed with the ending. If it is the conclusion, then I'm okay with the ending. It wasn't awesome, but I can understand the desire to neatly wrap things up.

Fort has started his transition to a full vampire (I really find her vampire mythos fascinating, and quite enjoyed it) but has continued trying to delay it, as he continues to try to come to terms with who and what he is.

There were some thing I very much liked in this book, including Fort truly coming to terms to Suze and what she is.

"That's terrible, Suze. Why are you so happy about that?"

"Because, unlike you, I believe in the beauty of capitalism. I am proud to be an American, while you are showing suspiciously Canadian elements of socialistic inclination."

"You told your cousin that I was having teething pain," I said slowly.

"No!" Suze denied immediately. "No, I would never betray a confidence. I definitely never even mentioned your name. I just mentioned that it was for an adult vampire." She paused, and pondered what she'd said for a second. Then, "Okay, bad news. It's possible that Yuzumi might figure out that it's for you. She has pretty good deductive reasoning skills."

I sighed heavily. Apparently hoping that the embarrassment of teething at the age of twenty-seven would remain a secret known only to those closest to me had been something of a futile dream.

Fort and Suze are very different creatures, and have completely different mindsets. And they have to come to terms with their different natures. That quote sounds rather trite, but it is part of the difference between Fort and Suze and their natures.

I also love the bits about Fort's family living in the modern world.

The delights of climate-controlled living were a favorite conversational topic with my family, challenged only by the thrills of window screens and refrigerators. I'd heard more maggoty food stories than anyone outside the range of a Ken Burns special.

That really seems like what someone who lived for hundreds of years would talk about the most.

I did like Fort's resolution to his needs following his full transition (it's not a unique solution, but it had apparently never occurred to his siblings to use such a solution). I also like Suze's additions to Fort's plan.

As to the end of the book, I am satisfied if this is the conclusion to the series. If there is going to be another book, I'll find this ending somewhat irritating.

Published by ROC

December 2015 | Rating: 7/10