Review: Generation V by M. L. Brennan
Urban Fantasy / #1 out of 4 (so far), Generation V
“I stared. ‘That’s horrible.’
Lulu looked surprised, and shot a confused look at Suzume. ‘Are you sure this is a vampire? He sure doesn’t sound like one.’”
Fortitude Scott finished a film theory degree, works at a terrible coffee shop, and tries at all costs to avoid his family… who are, incidentally, vampires. Unfortunately, he is forced to interact with them when a new vamp (Luca) comes to town. Luca is offered hospitality by Fort’s mother—but a horrified Fort suspects that he is committing unspeakable crimes against the human residents of the Scott family territory. This doesn’t particularly perturb the rest of his family, and so it’s up to Fort and his one ally, the powerful but sometimes unreliable kitsune Suzume, to stop Luca however they can.
Generation V is probably the vampire story I’ve most enjoyed since… well, since Buffy was on the air. What it has in common with Buffy, and what most endears it to me, is the way it pokes fun at and undercuts the drama of vampire mythology. Madeline Scott, the feared vampire overlord extraordinaire, wears enormous glasses and grandma sweaters. Chivalry Scott, Fort’s older brother, is exceptionally polite and well-mannered and forever bitter that wearing a cravat is no longer fashionable. And Fort is a vegetarian.
The most appealing aspect of Generation V is its principal cast of Fort and his much more badass sidekick, Suzume. Fort would be right at home in my circle of friends—has an unemployable arts degree, doesn’t eat meat, is a huge dork at heart who makes all the right pop culture references. (And for the record, Fort? Clue and The Princess Bride are two of the best movies of ALL TIME and NOT in the slightest embarrassing.) He is an unlikely hero in that he’s a total pushover, and completely unequipped to be dealing with the crap he’s dealing with, and yet he absolutely cannot bring himself to stand by and let it happen. So, inept and clumsy and sort of useless as he is, he goes for it… and it’s charming.
Lucky for him he has fox-shifting, prankster bodyguard Suzume looking out for him most of the time. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate how utterly screwed he would be without her.
And Fort’s ridiculous family dynamics were hilarious even as they were horrifying. He has to contend with a much better-looking and better-dressed older brother, a sociopathic and sadistic older sister, and (so far) 3 biological parents in addition to two adoptive ones, including a seemingly frail mother who actually runs a criminal empire. There are the vague beginnings of a romance, and it’s shaping up to be one I could actually enjoy – which y’all know almost never happens and is a huge deal over here. But really, who wouldn’t want to date Suzume? I know I do.
Generation V is engaging, easy to sink your teeth into (ha ha ha), and actually made me laugh out loud at times. It has some exceptionally grim world-building and graphic content, while still remaining energetic and entertaining… in this sense, it reminds me a bit of Vicious, with fewer superpowers but more sarcasm and sexiness (superpowers of a different sort, right?). There are some pretty one-dimensional characters used mostly for comic relief, like Fort’s girlfriend Beth and roommate Larry, and I didn’t find the story as suspenseful as I would have liked… But these are really, really insignificant complaints. I love Suzume, I love Fort, I love the character arcs they had in this book, and I can’t wait to continue with their adventures.
And fortunately, since books 2, 3, and (as of last week) 4 are out, I won’t have to!
If you like ___________ you should check out Generation V:
- Dark, humourous, entertaining, and/or plot-driven books
- Sexy and mysterious kitsune
- Awkward vampire heroes who don’t take themselves too seriously (and don’t sparkle)
Avoid Generation V if you do not like:
- Content that includes pedophilia, child abuse, rape, sexual assault
- Violence and gore in general