Generation V by M L Brennan
Just finished reading Generation V by M L Brennan. I loved this. It was a total whirlwind of a book as I simply couldn’t put it down. I think I’ve found another definite series to add to the list here – in fact, who am I kidding, I’ve already bought No.2 and preordered No.3 – yeah, that good! Such a treat. A vampire story with a difference in that at the moment the main character Fort barely has any vampire characteristics at all and therefore the whole paranormal element is brought to the story by others. Anyway, not to get ahead of myself.
Set in New England in modern day times the story brings to us the Scott family. Madeline, proud vampire matriarch and alpha of not just her family but the whole region. She rules with an iron fist and doesn’t suffer fools. Her children. Prudence, Chivalry and Fortitude. The whole family differs in age range and although vampires are incredibly long lived they aren’t immortal. Madeline now looks more matronly, I can’t remember how old she is to be honest but let’s just say she has a lot of years behind her. Consequently, she is a very powerful vampire. She’s unable to tolerate sunshine. And, she has sired her own offspring. Prudence and Chivalry are both also fully fledged vampires. Fort however is the baby in the family – he’s in his mid twenties and not yet grown into his fangs.
The central story revolves around another vampire entering Madeline’s territory, with her permission of course. Unfortunately this particular vampire has rather unsavoury tastes to say the least and although he has been given freedom to hunt his actions are really quite revolting! Fort, who is still more human than vampire is unable to stand by while this predator stalks the neighbourhood and unable to compel his family to show compassion takes matters into his own hands.
The problem of course is that Fort has no more ability than a regular mundane person. No outstanding speed or strength and to top matters he’s frankly a bit of a pushover. This guy brings a whole new definition to being a ‘doormat’. His flatmate abuses his hospitality and doesn’t pay rent, his girlfriend abuses his nature and sleeps with his flatmate! His own sister hates him (although this is a feeling which he returns with interest) and his brother is frequently exasperated by his immaturity and ‘humanness’. He’s not exactly a good match for an old and strong vampire. However, what he lacks for in brute strength he makes up for in dumb persistence.
Enter the scene, Suzume. I love this character. Suzume is a foxy female and I mean that literally. A Kitsune is a type of shapeshifter although I understand that Suzume’s ability to shift is to that of a human, a fox being more her natural state. She’s an excellent character, she has her limitations and she certainly isn’t capable of kicking everyone’s ass but she is such good fun to read. She frequently steals the show and she had me laughing out loud quite often.
Brennan also brings other supernatural creatures into play in a way that has them living amongst us poor unsuspecting humans. Elves play a part in this story and I imagine that the list of supes is going to increase as the series progresses. Not to mention the whole ‘Renfield’ twist to the story.
The start of the novel takes a little time setting out the whys and wherefores so doesn’t fly off to an immediate start but I think this element is necessary in order to fully understand Fort and the problems he has not only with his own family but also with accepting what he is and more to the point what he will eventually become. There are no angst ridden sparkly vampires here but if you think of Rice’s Louis then you’ll have an idea of the type of torment that Fort is going through. He dreads becoming a monster and strives to hold onto those elements of his nature that other vampires eschew such as compassion and sympathy.
However, as soon as the creepy slimeball vampire enters the scene the action ramps up dramatically. At this point we do see a slightly different side to Fort’s family than the one that he has portrayed and Brennan also ends the book with a question mark over a long standing friendship that could possibly turn sour. So, things are turned on their head a little by the conclusion
In case you haven’t picked up yet I really enjoyed this book. I’m not going to deny that it does have some rather uncomfortable elements to it. This isn’t YA for sure – it definitely sits in the adult arena. It is however a completely gripping novel with two amazing characters in Fort and Suzume. I can’t wait to read the next instalment!
I’m submitting this for my RIP event booklist over at Stainless Steel Droppings details here.
Check out this cheesy cover – this is a fine case where not judging a book by it’s cover is more than proven to be sound advice! No offence intended but there it is. Cheesy.