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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-08-13 04:45
Dark Ascension (M.L. Brennan)
Dark Ascension: A Generation V Novel - M.L. Brennan

3.75 stars rounded up

Dark Ascension, M.L. Brennan's fourth installment in Generation V series feels like a bridge to lay down the fundamentals for Fortitude Scott's future as one major event happens here: Madeline Scott's death.

As the vampire leader of a territory that stretched from New Jersey’s border with Pennsylvania up into southern Québec as well as Fort's sole source of blood, Madeline's death changes everything.

First, the leadership. Madeline stated that she would have no sole heir, meaning that the authority is now divided equally between Fort and his siblings: Prudence and Chivalry. This brings a lot of tension because Fort and Prudence have a totally different way of approaching thing. Prudence will always resort to violence -- she wants to make sure that vampire is the ruler and willing to wipe away others to achieve that. While Fort, with his bleeding heart, has always been more prone towards compromises. Chivalry, on the other hand, prefers everything to be in status quo.

Second, Fort's vampire status -- with Madeline's death, he finally needs to do what he always tries to avoid. Fort needs to take the step to be a full vampire (for that, he needs to kill his host father -- and MY GOD that moment was chilling!!) and drinks human blood.


I found the journey of Fort handling these changes to be interesting -- Fort definitely cannot go back to who he was before. He has new responsibilities, new challenges, and dealing with violent Prudence will not be easy. I also enjoyed the way Fort navigating his relationship with Suzume -- after all, she is a kitsune, a fox first then human rather than the other way around.

The ending of this book clearly prepares readers that there will be trouble ahead. I don't think Prudence will let Fort get away with the 'coup' that easily. It would be a show down and I am genuinely concerned with the result. Especially since Brennan doesn't seem to hold back on the hard stuffs (for example Fort killing Henry, his host father, or the annihilation of the succubi group). I believe there will at least be two more books and I am sure that Brennan has something up her sleeve...

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review 2015-08-03 08:40
"You climbed a tree, broke into my room, kidnapped one of my sweaters..."
Dark Ascension: A Generation V Novel - M.L. Brennan

Dark Ascension

by M.L. Brennan


Have you ever found a book that was a dead perfect fit for your mood? When I picked up Dark Ascension, I was still reeling from some incredibly depressing recent reads and just looking for something a little fluffy. Neither the title nor the cover of Dark Ascension gave me much confidence, but as soon as I started reading, I started smiling.


Fortitude Scott is cursed, and not just by his gawdawful first name. Fort is a vampire, and a scion of the powerful vampire who rules the entire supernatural world in the northeast. Fort is, to say the least, conflicted about his family and their tactics, particularly the kill-first-and-ask-questions-never methodology of his sister, Prudence. He's happy enough living with his (literally) ghoulish roommate and working nights at a karaoke bar, even if he's heard enough Bon Jovi for a lifetime. But with his mother, the matriarch of the vampires, quickly fading, Fort is suddenly faced with the hardest task of his life: getting along with his sister.


Despite the title, Dark Ascent is one of the best examples of "feel-good" urban fantasy I've found in a while. Sure, bad things happen, but there's this inexplicable layer of niceness over it that, while it doesn't minimize the bad stuff, keeps the book heartwarming despite it all. The plot itself moves at a measured pace as Fort tries to get adjusted to the changes in his life, and I enjoyed every minute of it, from a pack of kitsune teaming up to trick everyone at the karaoke bar to sing Bieber songs to Fort's blood-drinking experimentations. There's enough pathos to keep the plot moving, and Fort's frustrations with his siblings are practically tangible, but even so, the book never lost its feel-good aura. Part of this was due to Fort and his superhuman levels of optimism. Take his reaction to a late-night emergency meeting at a skeevy diner:

"When it comes down to it, twenty-four hour diners are wonderful, because where else can you walk in and get French toast at any hour of the day? If nuclear fallout ever ended up happening, my plan was to hole up in a twenty-four-hour diner and just eat French toast."

Fort is pretty much a teddy bear. If anything, he's a little too bleeding-heart to feel genuine, but even though I tend to hate too-perfect characters, I found Fort incredibly likeable nonetheless, possibly because his frustration at his own impotence feels so genuine. As Suze notes, Fort is

"A marshmallow Peep in the microwave of the world."

And that brings me to Suze, Fort's kitsune girlfriend and a wonderful character in her own right. Suze is a wacky firebrand with no concept of tact or consequences. The interactions between Fort and Suze were simply hilarious, from their Christmas gifts to one another (he gets her a "What Does the Fox Say" t-shirt; she hires someone to steal his car and take it to a shop to fix the radio) to her very literal interpretation of a request to "watch the ham" (she watches while it burns) to her very special gift after Fort starts teething--but hey, at least it's not a terrycloth ice-cube-holding octopus, so it could be worse. (Yes, this actually comes up in the book.) And then there's her idea of an after-fight make-up gift:

"You climbed a tree and broke into my room this morning, didn't you?"
Her smile widened.
"You climbed a tree, broke into my room, kidnapped one of my sweaters...all to surprise me with--oh, shit, what else did you do?"

I could probably keep quoting this book all night, but long story short, if you're ever in the mood for a fun, funny, heartwarming bit of vampire-laced urban fantasy, you have to give this book a try. As for me, now I know what series to turn to when I need a feel-good urban fantasy.


~~I received this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Penguin, in exchange for an honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~

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review 2014-09-19 16:44
Book Review: Generation V
Generation V - M.L. Brennan

I highly regretted the fact that it took me so long to pick up Generation V. I didn’t expect it to be this awesome and that’s already saying a lot because I went into this book with high expectations. Thank goodness, it delivered with flying colors. Generation V was certainly a refreshing read as it deviated from usual vampire story. I mean, let’s face it. If you are searching for a vampire book in online stores or in your local book stores, what are the chances of coming across a vampire story wherein the male vampire is not mesmerizingly handsome, brooding, creepy, stalkerish and isn’t suffering from the stay-away-from-me-because-I-am-too-dangerous-for-you attitude? Zero to low chances? But M.L. Brennan was able to provide a story that greatly speaks that there’s still hope for vampire books.


Generation V follows the story of Fortitude Scott, a young vampire who grew up in a normal human environment. By normal, it means that Fort was brought up by human parents and said parents didn’t know that they’re actually nurturing the son of the most powerful vampire in the New England area and some parts of Canada I think. Because of Fort’s unique upbringing, his moral compass is definitely on the right direction. He desperately clings to humanity by becoming a vegetarian, by restraining himself from drinking blood (even if the act is slowly killing him) and being compassionate to the woes of humans.


But what really made Generation V an interesting read was because Fort is not only a desperate human-wannabe but he’s also the lamest vampire that I have the misfortune honor to meet. He allowed his girlfriend to cheat on him to the extent that said GF had sex with his roommate who in turn didn’t pay the rent for four months (and Fort ended up paying for the whole rent even though he’s broke). In simpler terms, Fort has no backbone at all. He just let people walk all over him that I was already cringing as more and more scenarios were revealed showing how pathetic his life is. My mind was definitely shouting, “Fuck it, Fort! Grow some balls, you wimp!” And oh, are you expecting that Fort’s going to be your knight in shining armour when you find yourself surrounded by the bad guys? I am really sorry because Fort will sorely disappoint you. You better start running because Fort will just end up falling on his sorry ass. But if you think I hate him then think again. Despite being a weakling, I found myself warming up to him. He is such a fun character to read and although he lacked a lot of capabilities, he is a hero in his own way.


Things got funnier when our female MC, Suzume Hollis, entered the scene. Suzume is Fort’s appointed bodyguard and definitely Fort’s opposite. She’s literally badass, shrewd and wait for it, a werefox. How cool is that? I instantly loved her not just because of her badassery but my online gaming character is a werefox, too. I LOLed so hard when she started inflicting havoc on Fort’s life. If only I was able to take a video of myself while I was laughing, you will have an idea how this book made a mad woman out of me. Tears of joy? Check! Stiches on the side? Check! Swinging uvula? Check! Aching stomach muscles? Check!


The secondary characters were an interesting bunch as well. You have Fort’s mother, older brother and sister which made up for a dysfunctional vampire family. And reading how their relationships play out was a pleasure to read.


Another thing that made love this book so much is that ML Brennan didn’t take the easy route when she formed the whole story. Instead of werevolves, we’ve got werefoxes or kitsunes, disgusting elves, and revolting witches. The vampires in Generation V are not the obvious clichés. They are not immortal, they are not all Adonis and Venus incarnates, and most importantly, they do get old. Their pro-creation would take more than just biting and sucking the blood of a human. I will not walk you through the complicated process. Just read it and be amazed.


Generation V is not without its flaws however. The plot was not that innovative but please take consolation that it was executed properly, nicely paced and tightly woven. Really, I never had a dull moment while reading this book. The hilarious bits were nicely balanced with no holds barred, gory action scenes and some emotional moments.


Summing it up, there’s absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t pick up Generation V. Non-UF readers and vampire haters will still adore the book for its well-rounded and quirky characters and downright funny moments. Another favorite to be added on my ever-growing fav list.

Source: thoughtsandpens.com/2014/09/19/book-review-generation-v
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review 2014-05-22 03:35
Iron Night (M.L. Brennan)
Iron Night - M.L. Brennan

The second book from M.L. Brennan's "American Vampire" series was still rockin'. 

Unlike some urban fantasy series I read, where the revelation of mystery was kept until near the end, it actually didn't take that long for Fort and Suzume (with the help of Matt, as well) to find out who killed Fort's roommate as well as discovering the fae's connection behind it. It did take the joy out of guessing it but it didn't mean that the book lack of fun. It was still enjoyable reading how Fort dealt with the problem.

The book offered a clue of why Fort was different than his brother and sister -- how he was still more 'human' than vampire. I would love to know more about what the fact would do to Fort's power when he fully turned.

Personal Urban Fantasy With Male Protagonist Challenge May 2014: story #5

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review 2014-05-15 10:17
Generation V (M.L. Brennan)
Generation V - M.L. Brennan

This novel came to me by way of Goodreads "Readers Also Enjoyed" feature -- and since my own personal reading challenge in May 2014 was "urban fantasy with male protagonist", I thought it was perfect choice. Plus I liked the cover *haha*

Well, safe to say I'm adding this to "series I'll be following"!! Here's the thing ... I found Fort (his full name was Fortitude Scott; with an older brother named Chivalry, and older sister named Prudence. Yep) to be quite a different character than what I usually encountered in this genre.

Fort wasn't an Alpha character -- in fact, I thought almost throughout, Fort was a bit of a doormat. His family, his boss, his girlfriend, his roommate, practically everyone Fort knew walked all over him. But it didn't mean that Fort was a wimp or a coward. In fact, I found the joy reading how Fort stood up to his mother and (very scary!) older sister when he decided that he would go against a sadistic phaedophile murderer vampire. Fort might not be as powerful but darn if he wouldn't die trying. And I just loved him for it.

There was something humorous to how Fort dealt with the people who looked down to him, like he knew his life was crap, but at the same time, he wanted to stay true to himself. He wanted to keep that humanity (he was a vegetarian vampire!) inside him and Fort was always worry that he would lose it when he fully transformed into a vampire. Although I personally thought there would be something more to his being, what with the clue of Madeleine (Fort's mother) created him differently.

Of course, since Fort was lacking that vampire skill, which probably would kill him, Madeleine assigned a bodyguard to protect her son. Here came Suzume, a kitsune (that was a FOX that could turn into a human, as Suzume told Fort), who simply kicked ass. I loved her too. Suzume was AWESOME. She turned Fort's world upside down and I assure you there wasn't any BORING time with this girl.

I loved how this book still added something to the vampire myth (the whole vampire children creation). I thought Fort's family dynamic was intriguing (I even believed there was something to Prudence, despite her horrible attitude to Fort). I enjoyed this first book a lot -- and I definitely would check out the next book.

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