Iron Night (Generation V #2) by ML Brennan (Roc, Jan. 7th, 2014)-If you’re like me and read Generation V, the first of ML Brennan’s fresh new urban fantasy series starring Fortitude Scott and his vampire family, then you were, and are, eagerly awaiting Iron Night. I’m here to tell you that not only is the wait almost over (it’s out Jan. 7th), but Iron Night is just as good as Generation V., and indeed offers up some new surprises. When Iron Night opens, Fort has actually achieved a kind of balance in his life as of late. He’s got a job as a waiter, that while a bit stressful (can you say insane head chef?), is, after all, a steady paycheck, and he actually likes his new roommate, Gage. His brother, Chivalry, has also been showing him the ropes of the family business (collecting tithes from the supernatural residents of their mom’s territory and keeping them in line), and has even been upping the ante on his physical training, that, along with his newfound vamp prowess, is making Fort into something quite formidable, indeed.
All of that tenuous stability comes to a screeching halt when he finds Gage brutally murdered in their apartment. Fort would love to believe that it was just a coincidence, that it had nothing to do with Fort’s vamp status, but his family can’t take the chance, and Madeline’s cover-up machine is soon running at full force. Unfortunately, Fort’s old friend, former cop and PI, Matt McMahon is on the case too, and keeping Matt safe and off of his mother’s radar is one of Fort’s top priorities. With Suzume’s help, Fort should be able to track down Gage’s killer and neutralize the problem before it gets out of control, right? Well…maybe…if it didn’t involve some very old, very powerful beings with a load of power at their fingertips.
Fort is back in all of his rather sweet, slightly bumbling, reluctant vampire glory, and I say “slightly” bumbling because there’s an edge to Fort in Iron Night that wasn’t there in Generation V. Because of his training with Chivalry, he’s got quite a bit more self confidence in addition to his new strength and speed, but his self-effacing humor and intrinsic gentleness is still there, and those things are what make Fort a standout in this genre and brings this series quite a bit above the usual vampy fare. Well, that and the unique, and uniquely creepy, vamp mythos that ML Brennan has introduced. My favorite kitsune, Suzume is always a delight, and for all that fell for her in Generation V (including me), you won’t be disappointed, because she’s front and center here, along with Fort. The introduction of a lovely shopkeeper named Lilah brings the always present sexual tension between Fort and Suze into the spotlight, and if you’ve been hoping for a match, well, stay tuned… Fort flies in the face of just about everything a vampire should be, and continues to do so, willingly, but there’s only so much he can fight when it comes to his very nature, and it’s becoming increasingly possible that he may not be able to fight indefinitely. But he’ll try, and it’s what makes Fort so damn lovable. There’s plenty of action and supernatural baddies to round out Fort’s narrative, but it’s Fort’s journey, within himself, and with his family (sister Prudence takes a much larger part in this installment), that really makes this shamelessly addictive series sing.