Review contains spoilers.
This book could have been bad. Nowadays any book that has vampires in it makes me suspect that sexy blood suckers and/or Bella-sues will be making an appearance. However, this book really doesn’t have that. Thank goodness.
Meet the Scotts, a family of vampires. Madeline is the matriarch, an old, powerful, and respected vampire with a large territory and three children she sired. Prudence is the oldest child; she’s independent and cold. Proper, obedient Chivalry is the middle child, and although he’s married, he still lives with Madeline. Then there’s Fortitude, the youngest sibling and the main character of the book.
Fortitude (Fort) is a loser. He works at a crappy Starbucks knock-off, has a useless liberal arts degree, and a junker car. He has a girlfriend, but she’s a rebellious super-liberal and she’s openly cheating on him with his bum of a roommate. The only “cool” point is Fort’s favor is that he’s a vampire. Or rather, he will be after he goes through vampire puberty. But he doesn’t want to be a vampire, so he avoids his family and eats veggie wraps instead of steak, hoping that’ll delay vampire adulthood.
Fort isn’t a complete lost cause. In fact, he’s the most empathetic of his family; not difficult, considering most of his family has as much empathy as a brick. His family sees humans as pets, servants, and food, while Fort likes and respects humans as sentient beings. This is part of the reason why he doesn’t want to become a full-fledged vampire.
Thing is, even with his good heart and good intentions, Fort does some stuff that firmly qualifies as stupid. A big bad vampire visits the Scott family, and while in their territory he kidnaps a girl. Fort is horrified, both by the kidnapping and his family’s lack of concern about it. So he, a weak baby vamp and with a bad poker face, decides to try to confront the vampire and bluff him into releasing the girl. His backup plan? A gun he’s not even sure can kill the vampire.
Other interesting characters appear in the book. There’s a curmudgeonly witch, a half-elf, and a family of kitsunes. One kitsunes, Suzume, is funny and becomes an important character. I suspect she’ll be a love interest in later books, but for now I like her.
Overall this is a was a fun book. It wasn’t deep or ground-breaking, but it was fun, had a good pace, and wasn’t bogged down by an insipid romance. The author’s take on vampire biology was interesting, and I like dynamics of the Scott family. I plan to try to read at least the next book in this series.