3.75 stars rounded up
Dark Ascension, M.L. Brennan's fourth installment in Generation V series feels like a bridge to lay down the fundamentals for Fortitude Scott's future as one major event happens here: Madeline Scott's death.
As the vampire leader of a territory that stretched from New Jersey’s border with Pennsylvania up into southern Québec as well as Fort's sole source of blood, Madeline's death changes everything.
First, the leadership. Madeline stated that she would have no sole heir, meaning that the authority is now divided equally between Fort and his siblings: Prudence and Chivalry. This brings a lot of tension because Fort and Prudence have a totally different way of approaching thing. Prudence will always resort to violence -- she wants to make sure that vampire is the ruler and willing to wipe away others to achieve that. While Fort, with his bleeding heart, has always been more prone towards compromises. Chivalry, on the other hand, prefers everything to be in status quo.
Second, Fort's vampire status -- with Madeline's death, he finally needs to do what he always tries to avoid. Fort needs to take the step to be a full vampire (for that, he needs to kill his host father -- and MY GOD that moment was chilling!!) and drinks human blood.
I found the journey of Fort handling these changes to be interesting -- Fort definitely cannot go back to who he was before. He has new responsibilities, new challenges, and dealing with violent Prudence will not be easy. I also enjoyed the way Fort navigating his relationship with Suzume -- after all, she is a kitsune, a fox first then human rather than the other way around.
The ending of this book clearly prepares readers that there will be trouble ahead. I don't think Prudence will let Fort get away with the 'coup' that easily. It would be a show down and I am genuinely concerned with the result. Especially since Brennan doesn't seem to hold back on the hard stuffs (for example Fort killing Henry, his host father, or the annihilation of the succubi group). I believe there will at least be two more books and I am sure that Brennan has something up her sleeve...