(Rather than do individual posts on each of the first three books in the Generation V series, reviews of all three are included in this post. I will post a review of the fourth book, Dark Ascension, tomorrow on its release day.)
Vampires and Bears and Foxes, Oh My!
REVIEW OF GENERATION V (BOOK ONE)
Fortitude Scott is just like you. He has a degree from an Ivy League university, a dead-end job, is behind in his rent, and has nothing to fall back on but the fabulous wealth of his family. Also, he’s a vampire. (Ok, he’s probably nothing like you.) He is, however, a wimp. (No comment.)
A fair amount of the positive attention I’ve seen toward Generation V lauds it for a unique twist on the vampire canon. It has that, although I think that hardly makes the book. It has also been noted how many urban fantasy tropes Brennan averts. Fortitude is long on idealism and short on ability. (It was also sold to me on the basis that Brennan uses the word “vajayjay” but, um, no.) That’s all true (exactly once on the last, by my count), but what I think gets overlooked is that Brennan does everything else very, very well. Genius being 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and all that.
So trust me when I say that you’ll want to see what happens when a vampire from Europe shows up in Fortitude’s mother’s territory and young girls start disappearing and Fortitude begins to investigate despite against his mother’s orders and with nothing and no one on his side except a kitsune of questionable reliability. (The kitsune, Suzume, almost makes the book by herself, by the way. Brennan’s take on the Japanese kitsune mythology is even more interesting than her take on the western vampire, and Suzume’s sass balances out Fortitudes wimp factor.)
REVIEW OF IRON NIGHT (BOOK TWO)
Brennan’s Generation V attracted attention for updating the vampire canon. Iron Night, its sequel, does little to extend that update, and exploration of Brennan’s world is otherwise light, as we only get a good look at one new “monster” and more info on another. Brennan’s take on vampires and the like was refreshing, but it wasn’t what made Generation V such a good book. It was everything else. That trend continues with Iron Night. Fortitude Scott is still a flawed and blessed character. He’s still real and worthy of a book’s attention. After the real character development in the last book, he’s stronger and more assertive but still himself. His interactions with Suzume are as good as ever, and we get to see him interact much more with both other fae folk and his family.
Iron Night opens some short time after Generation V. Fortitude has begun to accept his heritage (symbolism!), training with his brother Chivalry and accompanying him on collection rounds for the family fae protection business. He’s moving up in the world: he’s now a waiter instead of a barista and has a roommate who pays his share of the rent. Things get interesting when Fortitude’s roommate shows up brutally murdered in his apartment and he starts asking too many questions (he’s nosy like that).
REVIEW OF TAINTED BLOOD (BOOK THREE)
Tainted Blood is book 3 in the Generation V series. Fort continues to grow in his confidence and role in the family business (keeping the supernatural community in Madeline Scott’s multi-state territory in line). And it’s a good thing. It’s interesting times. Sexual tension between Fort and his kitsune (trickster fox) bodyguard, Suzume, is high. Madeline Scott is dying and her supernatural fief is roiling in anticipation.
The central mystery of the book involves the murder of the leader of the metsan kuniga. The metsan kuniga, originally Finnish in extraction, have the ability to shape shift from human to bear form. I think we can agree: Wolves are awesome. Werewolves are the suck. Werebears are welcome.
Tainted Blood sometimes spends a little too much time on exposition, especially going back over stuff we learned in the first couple books, although as always with that sort of thing YMMV. The central mystery of the book just isn’t as exciting as what went on in books 1 and 2. Brennan’s new additions to the supernatural canon tend toward the baroque, although this probably isn’t any worse an example than the first two books.
But, as always, the book is carried by Fort and Suzume.