On the surface, "Generation V" by M.L. Brennan seems like any other urban fantasy. It certainly has all the prerequisites: a hero that that is unsure...moreOn the surface, "Generation V" by M.L. Brennan seems like any other urban fantasy. It certainly has all the prerequisites: a hero that that is unsure of his place in the world, but with a strong moral compass; an established, even ancient, rigid social hierarchy against which said hero rebels; angsty romance; and—last but not least—vampires. I love a good (emphasis on good) vampire romance as much as any 20-something female—or more accurately, as much as any 90s kid--but this went beyond the level of pure entertainment. Maybe it's the protagonist, Fortitude (“Fort”), who at first predictably doesn't want to embrace who he is and what he is expected to be, yet does (literally and figuratively) embrace his centuries-older brother (the very epitome of the suave, polished, non-chalantly gorgeous enterprising young(ish) vampire) and his vampire mother, who is (again predictably for a vampire matriarch figure) held in almost divine esteem, her authority unimpeachable.
In the interests of a well-rounded review, I’ll mention that there is an entire paranormal world that interacts with the vampires. Fort teams up with a hot girl (big surprise) who also happens to be a shapeshifter, a kitsune (Japanese fox-spirits that adopt the form of human women to beguile unsuspecting human men, kind of an obscure paranormal entity whose inclusion was pleasantly surprising), and in the course of the story we meet an elf and a witch, and are teased with further legions of the paranormal (in the “they’re among us!” sense).
Back to vampires: Brennan's backstory for vampire procreation is unique and refreshingly irreverent. It does not seek to romanticize vampire "love" or the "creation" of vampire progeny; instead it presents the continuation of the race as dependent on a process that is frankly somewhat revolting to human sensibilities, perhaps highlighting the fundamental differences of vampires as beings. I for one felt like humans got the short end of the stick, and more than usual. Brennan's vampires are alive, and Fort tells us this towards the beginning of the book; furthermore, these vampires were never victimized humans, in the sense that they weren't a snack-become-creature-of-the-night, but they start out as humans (though born with the potential and "destiny" of vampirism) and sort of "grow into" vampires.
The way Chivalry, Fort's much-older brother and a stereotypical vampire, interacts with humans in his life is particularly intriguing. Without revealing anything, I will say that Chivalry has had a long relationship with humans while being a vampire, and his attitudes and actions toward them (us?) are pretty interesting. He's probably my favorite character.
Having read a lot of paranormal and urban fantasy adventures/romances, I’ve seen it all before. The plot of this book has been revamped in countless iterations and the protagonist is almost cookie-cutter. But this story stands out from all the other angst-ridden paranormal romances; I really like the humanistic and societal implications of the coexistence of the normal and the paranormal. It’s not like every other vampire romance, that casts the hero as the lonely moral creature, fundamentally different in his attitude toward humans. These vampires (Fort, Chivalry, and their mother, at least) show emotion, confusion, and complexity in their regard of humans and other paranormal species, a situation made uniquely possible by their birth as, essentially, humans and their growth into vampires.
So by the end of the book Fort cleans up his life (sort of) and faces/comes to an uneasy truce with his heritage and the reality of his family's world. Loose ends get kind-of tucked in, but Brennan leaves the floor open for a sequel. Judging by the fact that Goodreads lists this as the first in a series, a sequel is in the cards. Yeah, it's going to be another wacky-capers-as-unlikely-hero-saves-the-day series, but I'll be curious to see how Brennan deals with Chivalry, Fort's mother, and the terms of coexistence between vampires, humans, and the rest of the paranormal world. (less)
It's been a long time since I've read a book I couldn't put down. Hayder's writing style is edgy, with that dry British wit, and her characters are in...moreIt's been a long time since I've read a book I couldn't put down. Hayder's writing style is edgy, with that dry British wit, and her characters are intriguingly flawed. The story is engrossing (maybe because it's so horrifying). Definitely worth a read. Oh, and my new favorite author: Mo Hayder.(less)
I read the annotations afterwards and now I want to read it again just to see all his references to other works! IMO, authors should [be allowed to] d...moreI read the annotations afterwards and now I want to read it again just to see all his references to other works! IMO, authors should [be allowed to] do that more often; using characters and stories from history and other works to create a fabulous new story. A superb book!(less)
I accidentally started reading "Undone" before I got this one ("Undone" actually takes place after this one) so I sort of knew what was going to happe...moreI accidentally started reading "Undone" before I got this one ("Undone" actually takes place after this one) so I sort of knew what was going to happen... but it totally floored me anyway. A great book, an example of how amazing a writer Karin Slaughter is. Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver are back, and there's trouble in Heartsdale. Sara's being sued for malpractice (I know, right: Sara?!?) and it's eating away at her. And yet there's bigger trouble in Reese in nearby Elawah County, also known to the careful reader as Lena Adams' hometown. Lena's gone to see her uncle Hank because of a tip from a neighbor... and then Jeffrey gets a call from the Reese police chief that there's been an explosion and his detective's in the hospital. Under arrest. What follows is a baffling journey into the seedy undercurrents in a dirt-poor Georgia town and surprising discoveries about the troubled life of Grant County's first female detective.(less)