Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
Fortitude Scott is your average guy struggling to make ends meet. He works at a dead end job at a local coffee shop, Busy Beans, and has an apartment he shares with deadbeat, Larry, not to mention Fort’s supposed girlfriend that has decided to sleep with other people. Oh and did I mention that he’s a vampire? Well kind of. He hasn’t actually made the transition yet and has no idea when that will happen. In fact, he dreads that day seeing how his vampire family is, he has no desire to be like them.
Fort tries to keep his distance from his family as much as possible, but is called to be present when a cousin from Italy comes for a visit. One of Luca’s traveling companions is a young girl that is obviously suffering from being his property. Fort tries to intervene and force him to leave the girl with them, but to no avail. The next day she is found dead. Also, there was a bloody home invasion that left two parents dead and their two daughters missing. Fort knows in his gut that Luca is responsible, but his family refuses to interfere leaving Fort no choice, but to get involved himself, even though he is no match for the old powerful vampire. He enlists the help of shapeshifter, Suzume, who is supposed to be protecting him. Can they save the two missing girls before Luca takes a fatal bite out of them?
I dove right into this book and enjoyed it…. for the first chapter at least. But then I started having problems with the characters; I found that I just didn’t like them very much.
Let’s start with our lead character, Fortitude. There aren’t a lot of strong male leads in this genre so I was really looking forward to a book centered on one. But unfortunately, this didn’t turn out to be that kind of book. I think Fort was such a disappointment for me, nothing else this book offered could offset it. I love a good flawed main character, but I think the author went a bit overboard with Fort’s weaknesses. After reading for a while, I discovered that he was really just a big wimp, never standing up for himself or really doing anything with his life. His family kicks him around, which I can forgive, but him letting his roommate stiff him on rent and doing nothing to change it? Now in his inner monologue he often mentions talking to Larry, but he never actually does until he finally snaps toward the end of the book. Then, there is his girlfriend, Beth, that walks all over him and so on and so forth. It got really old reading about him being walked over by everyone and him not having the courage to even stand up for himself.
Then we have Suzume, the fox shapeshifter. The only word that comes to mind to describe her is annoying; incredibly so. She has a huge ego and is completely self-centered and I found her and her antics to be incredibly immature, bringing nothing to the story as a whole.
So reading these boring characters go about their hunt for Luca in an ass-backwards kind of way made completing this book a real challenge.
I do have to comment on Brennan’s vampires though. They are different from anything I have ever read, especially when you read what they have to do to create a baby vamp and when you discover what Fort’s mom has locked up in her basement and why. It’s not bad, just…. different. Their creation was definitely an exercise in thinking outside the box!
And, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The characters did start to grow a bit towards the end of the book, at least Fort did. The jury is still out on Suzume. But Fort *finally* grew a backbone and started standing up for himself! He went off on Larry complete with violent threats and even a punch thrown, he called it off with Beth, and he did what he felt was right even though he had no idea how to make it work, but figured it out along the way. Now that Fort is finally coming into his own, I sincerely hope the next book builds on that making a more enjoyable read for all.