I'm on p486 (a bit over 3/4 in) and I just need to read something else. Not that it isn't good; it's fantastic! I really want to finish but it's just....moreI'm on p486 (a bit over 3/4 in) and I just need to read something else. Not that it isn't good; it's fantastic! I really want to finish but it's just... so... long... Have you ever read a book that was really (I mean /really/) good and you just want to finish it because you know the ending is going to be epic, but you feel like it should've ended 100 pages ago? I really wish this was split into two books, because I feel like I've already read one book (there's enough material for that). And now I'm probably never going to pick it up again, because picking up in the middle of a book leaves a bad taste in my mouth (regardless of how good it is). Also, it's a library book, so it's not like I can have it laying around, waiting to be finished. Rawr! It's frustrating! Really good book, Weeks is a stellar bard, but I need to move on. *sighs*(less)
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)