Book Review: Iron Night by M.L. Brennan
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book 2 of American Vampire
Date of Publication: January 7, 2013
All right, important things first: Urban Fantasy fans, you NEED to drop everything and check out Generation V by M.L. Brennan. Like, right now! I’ll wait. After you read it, you’ll be all caught up for Iron Night and then you will understand why I love this book so much, because if there’s one word I can use to describe this sequel, it is “Perfection”. I really enjoyed Generation V, but Iron Night takes things to the next level, and even goes further to address everything I had ever wondered or was skeptical about in the first book.
The best part is, you still get all the elements that made Generation V so great. Fortitude Scott is back, and though he may be one step closer to becoming a full-fledged vampire, he is still the underdog with a heart of gold that we know and love! Things seem to be finally looking up for Fort, too. His friendship with the kitsune Suzume Hollis is deepening, his brother is showing him the ropes to running the family territory, and though waiting tables isn’t exactly bringing in the big bucks, at least he’s got a job. And for once, he’s even got a pretty cool roommate.
It was all too good to last for Fort, though. That cool roommate of his ends up dead one night, killed by something unnatural. The powerful Scott family matriarch immediately throws her weight around and covers up the details, pinning the crime on a patsy. Fort is left as the only one trying to figure out the truth behind his friend’s murder, resolved to make the real killer pay. What he finds, however, is something more dangerous and terrifying than he could have possibly imagined.
First, what a great story, bolstered by incredible character development. If you’ve read Generation V you’ll already know that the protagonist Fortitude Scott was funny, sweet, cute, but — let’s face it — also kind of a doormat. Used and manipulated by everyone in his life, it almost got too painful to read! Like any underdog though, he comes into his own. I started to see that happening by the end of the first book, and I’d looked forward to seeing M.L. Brennan take that further in Iron Night and boy, does she ever! Fort’s kind heart and goodness still shines through and gets him into trouble, but he’s not letting just anyone walk all over him now (okay, Suzume still gets to but that’s because, well, she’s the Suze). A transitioning process like that has to be gradual and handled carefully, without making Fort go from “the little guy” to “top dog” overnight, and the author pulls that off flawlessly.
We also get to know more about the Scott family, along with those fascinating dynamics. Some of the best scenes in the book feature Fort’s interactions with his family members, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually beginning to really like his sister Prudence. I was very glad to see her greater involvement in this novel, even though she’s still insane and scary as hell. And finally, we get some answers and explanations into why Fortitude is “different” than his siblings. That was something I’d been itching to find out since the end of the last book!
Also, recall how I was completely blown away by the wildly original and unique ideas in Generation V. I bet you’ve never encountered vampires like M.L. Brennan’s vampires! She does it again in Iron Night, offering a fresh take on supernatural creatures…though this time, it’s with elves! Let’s just say after reading this book, I’ll never look at Legolas the same way again. And how can I review this book without talking about the humor? A lot of UF series these days feature humor, but this is one of the few that has actually made me burst out laughing. Incidentally, this was how I almost choked to death on the granola bar I was munching on while reading Iron Night, and that was only on page 2. Curse you, M.L. Brennan, your sharp wit will be my undoing!
There are just some amazing moments in this book. Having followed Fort’s story over these two installments, I am so invested in these characters, both main and supporting, and it’s nice to see the author has all kinds of surprises up her sleeve. I desperately wish I could go into one of my favorite scenes without revealing any spoilers, but for now I can only describe my reaction to it: the feeling I got at the end of the movie Se7en. All I can say is that the baddie in this book is one evil, ruthless monster. And it only made this story all the more awesome.
I can’t recommend these books enough. This sequel was simply amazing, and it was everything I’d hoped for and more. Earlier this year when I read Generation V, I knew this had the potential to become one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series. Well, Iron Night pretty much made that official!