Review: Dark Ascension by M.L. Brennan (Generation V #4)


Dark Ascension by ML Brennan // VBC ReviewDark Ascension (Generation V #4)
M.L. Brennan
Published: Aug. 4, 2015 (Roc)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series. If you haven’t started yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Generation V.

The worst kept secret among New England’s supernaturals is Madeline Scott’s failing health. Everyone assumes that Prudence, her eldest child, will be next in line to rule, including Prudence. But Madeline wants her three children to govern by committee, which means Fortitude will have to officially commit to the family business he’s been avoiding his whole life. He’s been winning allies within the various groups of supernaturals for months while filling in for his brother Chivalry, and they’re all depending on him to curtail his sister’s homicidal tendencies.

Although its bookended by a pair of action scenes, Dark Ascension is primarily an emotional journey. Between trying to navigate his new relationship with Suzume and dealing with his mother’s illness, Fort’s really put through the wringer. He continues to struggle to hold on to his humanity as he becomes more vampire. At the same time, he questions whether he should hold others to human standards when they are decidedly not human. Fort’s been dealing with the same issues from the very beginning of the series, even as his circumstances have changed, but I continue to be riveted by his struggle.

M.L. Brennan also gives some new details about the Scotts’ history and why Fort and Chivalry are a little bit different from other vampires, as well as how vampirism works in this world. I think the way that baby vampires are made and evolve is absolutely fascinating and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I’m always excited when another piece of the puzzle is revealed.

Going into each installment, I’m also curious to see which supernatural creatures Brennan will put her unique twist on next. Dark Ascension features possibly the first unattractive incubus I’ve ever seen. In fact, her succubi (both male and female) look like aliens from Star Trek. And their feeding causes some really interesting side effects. Her kobolds talk like Gollum, but look like Hobbit-sized versions of the werewolves from Underworld. (I’ve just realized that Fort made far fewer movie references than in previous books. It seems now he’s got me doing it for him.)

Despite all the heavy emotions, Dark Ascension is not without its lighter moments—kitsune karaoke is a wondrous thing. But mostly it feels like a transition, both for Fort and in the story arc. I think politics will become a much bigger part of his life, even inside his own family. I’m generally a big fan of supernatural politics, so I’m really excited about that.

Sexual content: references to sex

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