Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I refuse to feed into this formal wear fetish you have.”
Fortitude Scott is attempting to handle his transition to full vampire while maintaining his humanity. He has a new job with a psychotic chef who has made it his personal mission to punish Fort for being a vegetarian. He has been working with his brother; learning the family business and bulking up so when he does get beat up, he heals a little faster. He also has a new room mate who’s nice and pays his rent on time. All in all, life isn’t too bad.
But when Fort’s room mate dies under mysterious circumstances, Fort and Suzume, his kitsune sidekick, find themselves immersed in a paranormal mystery involving elves, treaty disputes, and a serial killer who’s definitely not afraid of the Scott family reputation.
Fort only wants to live his life on his own terms but secrets, siblings, and murder makes being a nice guy suck sometimes.
Iron Night is the second book in M.L. Brennan’s entertaining and eclectic Urban Fantasy series involving a reluctant vampire and his need to retain his humanity in the face of his increasing appetites and his charming but unsympathetic family. Ripe with mystery, suspense, and a cast of richly diverse characters that will have you laughing and rolling your eyes at their antics. A clever mixture of dark humor and earnest sobriety, our hero, Fortitude Scott, walks a very fine line between his vampire nature and his own set of morals.
Often I find sequels to be precarious in that they will either blow you away or completely turn you off the series. Iron Night shows us that Brennan is no one trick pony. Picking up a few months after the events in Generation V, we learn that Fort is being groomed to control his territory and enforce it for his family. He has become more accepting of his need to drink from his mother on a more regular basis and is allowing Chivalry to “bulk” him up so that at least teenagers won’t be as apt to mug him anymore.
Fort continues to be an engaging mixture of sincerity, bravado, and self deprecation. His character is evolving at a comfortable rate; not an instant warrior but no longer apt to be the first one killed anymore. He’s now the second. While he is still not comfortable with transitioning into a vampire, he understands he cannot stop it and has learned it’s better to be prepared. His internal dialogue is still a joy to read and leaves you giggling at his thoughts on his family, friends, and life in general.
“Being a waiter is not a career choice; it is a job-hunt default.”
Still heavily character driven, Brennan continues develop and evolve her main characters while introducing new characters to her world. She explains in detail their origins and place in the story without overloading us with useless filler. The mainstay for me in this series is the relatability of the characters. Though supernatural in make up, each is imbibed with a familiarity that makes it incredibly easy to relate to them. Family is still a strong theme and we not only see this with Fort, but also with other characters and the storyline itself. We sense deep changes coming to the Scott and kitsune household that is slowly resculpting the landscape and adds an undercurrent of grief to the storyline. I expect some serious battles are headed our way.
Chivalry, Fort’s brother, continues to play a large part in Fort’s life. Though hundreds of years older than Fort, Chivalry is his biggest supporter and protector. He genuinely loves Fort even if he doesn’t even pretend to understand Fort’s emotions towards humans.
“…Accidents happen. Your roommate ran afoul of something on his own and was killed. If you could accept that forming these kinds of guilt-ridden attachments to humans you come into tertiary contact with is futile and self destructive, you could step back and release his death had nothing to do with you. Send a wreath to the funeral, hire a cleaning service, and move on. “
We don’t see as much of Chivalry in here as he has a situation of his own to handle, however he’s always only a phone call away. Fort’s mother continues to entertain us as she tries in her own special way to support him.
“… he did tell me you had your own bit of excitement with that renter of yours managing to get himself murdered. Bad luck, my turtledove, but really, what do you expect when you rent in Providence?”
I do like Fort’s sister Prudence is back and heavily involved in his life this time around. We are still unsure of the reasons for her animosity towards him but some interesting clues are given that lead us one step closer to the answer. I suspect her role in Fort’s life will become more intense and complicated as the series progresses.
The conflict and plotlines are stronger and more intricate in this installment. Fort is forced to rely more on his family and sacrifice some of his own strict morals in order to solve his room mate’s death and defeat killer(s) whose own reasons are corrupt, selfish, and in some instances, non existent. Suzume continues to have Fort’s back even as she teases and pranks him with impunity. Fort’s friendship with Suzume is an integral part of the storyline. There is a definite movement towards romance for Fort though I’m not sure if he is ready for everything that will come with it.
The ending is a climactic finale with plenty of action and suspense. Fort has to step up to the plate and he does so brilliantly. I do like that even with the changes Fort is dealing with and the decisions he is reluctantly forced to make, the core of him remains the same. Multiple sub plots once again come together to give us even more background into Fort’s eventual evolution and clues to future storylines.
I wholeheartedly recommend this series to everyone who enjoys a dark humorous urban fantasy and is looking for something new and fresh in an oversaturated genre. Brennan has brought back the dangerous and cruel supernatural creatures of old and integrated them into the modern society with nary a hitch. Word of caution though. As I mentioned in my review of book one, Generation V, this has a NA feel to it due to the age and attitude of hero and his sidekick.
Overall Rating: A