Fortress of Blood is the second book in the Mina Murray series by L.D. Goffigan. In the first book, The Beast of London (click to read my non-spoiler review), Mina's fiance Jonathan Harker has been abducted by vampires and Mina decides without hesitation to travel to Transylvania to rescue him. Now in Fortress of Blood, Mina and her crew have figured out where Jonathan is being kept and are squaring up for a rescue mission. Mina learns more about her family, their secrets, and even herself.
It took a little bit for me to get into Fortress of Blood, but after I pushed through a chunk in the beginning I definitely felt myself getting hooked. Goffigan obviously knows how to write great action scenes, and an action scene happens early-ish on in the story that I got completely swept up in. I also think the pacing of the last two books are really great.
However, this book is definitely less action-y than the first one which means its more focused on the characters themselves. Which for the first time ever for me, I am going to admit that I think that was a mistake. The characters that seemed so strong and badass in the last book felt weaker and a bit whiny in this book. I think the reason why I loved The Beast of London so much was because the book felt like the novel equivalent of a action movie. It wasn't trying to be anything it isn't, but in Fortress of Blood there is a lot of melodrama was included that I think made the story less exciting.
The characters got rough for me. I still enjoyed both Mina and Abe (who I wish had more of a presence in this book) but I had issues with a few other characters. One being Jonathan, who seemed absolutely useless the whole time and the moment he's back in the story I wish they had left him to die with the vampires. Which is interesting because I actually didn't mind his character in the first book. The other character I actively don't like is Gabriel. I think the dialogue in this book definitely got worse in this book versus the first, but Gabriel's dialogue in particular felt the least believable. I also don't like that the reader is being told that both Gabriel and Mina are protective over each other and are so close, but they not only barely know each other but all their scenes feel awkward. It's just not believable for me.
There are a few events that pop in this book (that I don't want to go into detail because of spoilers) that I felt like didn't make sense and I didn't like. One in particular that takes place gets completely erased and reversed like it never happened and it felt unnecessary and a waste of time. Which was really annoying and felt half thought out to me.
Obviously there's this huge fight scene we are gearing up for in this book. We've been building it up, the characters are getting ready for it, and I was really excited because like I mentioned earlier, Goffigan is a great writer of action sequences. I was highly disappointed instead, because the big fight scene is over before it even really began. And then we were right back to meaningless drama that didn't need to be so heavily focused on. It felt anticlimactic.
Overall, I am definitely disappointed in this sequel. I absolutely loved the first book and I was excited to jump in and read the second, so much so that I bought it without a second thought (I was given the first one in exchange for a review). Depending on what I hear from reviewers I trust I will decide if I want to continue with the story. Maybe this is just the curse of the second book, a problem a lot of series have issues with. I am not against giving the third a try, but after this book by expectations aren't very high.