Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Fortitude Scott is about as far from the usual alpha male vampire as you can get. He’s a barista with a degree in film theory, a deadbeat roommate and a cheating girlfriend. He drives a beat up Ford Fiesta and his shoes are held together with duct tape. He’s also witty, self-deprecating and his narration is refreshingly original.
Fort hasn’t actually begun the transition to full vampire so he’s still “mostly human.” He sees how inhuman his two older siblings, Prudence and Chivalry, are and wants to cling to his humanity as long as possible. He also knows next to nothing about the supernatural world, due to willful ignorance as much as to his family’s overprotective nature.
Fort’s family are the only vampires in New England, and he’s always wondered if other vampires are more like him or like his siblings. So he’s curious about the visitor from Italy who’s come to learn his mother’s secret for creating healthy offspring. When Luca arrives for dinner, Fort “felt distinctly disappointed—the first non-related vampire I’d ever met, and he was a Euro-trash tool.” He was also, as Fort quickly realizes from the young girl in his entourage, a pedophile. That’s when Fort decides it’s time to start getting involved in supernatural affairs and sets out to stop Luca and rescue his victims. Due to some old and complicated rules of vampire hospitality, he has to do it without his mother’s assistance.
There’s not a lot of action in the first half of Generation V, but I was so fascinated by the characters that I didn’t really notice. Prudence is absolutely terrifying and Chivalry is full of contradictions. Suzume, Fort’s kitsune bodyguard hired by his mother, is already on my short list of favorite sidekicks. It may be debatable, though, who’s really the sidekick in their relationship, which is equal parts flirtation and sibling rivalry. She’s smart, sassy and sexy. She kicks serious ass, but doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously.
Kitsune are foxes who can take human form. They’re tricksters who cast illusions and in Brennan’s world they’re all female. I’ve started to see them pop up in books more often, mostly in really small roles and often as villains, but Suzume was the first of that crop and is by far my favorite.
Some of the subject matter in Generation V might make some people uncomfortable. The villain abducts and abuses children. Though Fort and the readers see evidence of it, we never actually witness the act. For me it was unpleasant, but it was effective. I can certainly understand some people’s reluctance to read about it, but I also understand the author’s motives in giving the very human Fort a very human adversary (well, except that they’re both vampires). It wouldn’t make sense for the guy who’s never been involved with anything supernatural to suddenly want to take on a necromancer raising a horde of zombies. And if Fort’s adversary hadn’t so clearly deserved his fate, Fort might have second-guessed his actions. He had enough to worry about at the end of the book without adding that guilt to it.
The mythology Brennan has created is truly fascinating. The mechanism for creating vampires is like none I’ve ever seen before (and I’ve read a lot of vampire books). There’s also a brief introduction to the elves and just enough about the kitsune to make me want to know more. I’m really looking forward to seeing what other creatures she’ll put her unique spin on in the rest of the series.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to rape and pedophilia.