Smoke And Shadows (book 1) by Tanya Huff (review)

December 16, 2014 All Reviews, Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy 0 ★★★★

Smoke And Shadows (book 1) by Tanya Huff (review)Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff
Published by Penguin on April 6th 2004
Number of Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Urban
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Purchase: At Amazon
four-stars

When Tony Foster relocated to Vancouver with vampire Henry Fitzroy, he knew it was his chance to get his act together. In an example of art echoing life, Tony landed a job as Production Assistant for the syndicated TV show "Darkest Night," a series about a vampire detective. And except for his unrequited crush on the show's handsome costar, Lee Nicholas, Tony was pretty content...at least until the day everything started to fall apart on the set.

It began with shadows -- shadows that seemed to be where shadows didn't belong, shadows that almost seemed to have an existence of their own...

Tony tried to ignore it -- until he found Nikki Waugh's body...and felt the shadows' touch... Then shadow cast its claim on Lee, and a stunt crash went wrong for no discernible reason, and Tony knew he had to find out what was threatening everyone on the set. And, of course, he needed Henry's help.

It wasn't long before the trail led to CB Productions special effects wizard, Arra Pelindrake -- and a frightening answer only a young man with Tony's background could accept. But knowing what he faced was only half the battle -- surviving the unsurvivable, and defeating the undefeatable that was the real challenge!

“A vampire, a wizard, and a production assistant go into a bar…”

This is the first in a spin off trilogy from the Blood series. Henry Fitzroy is a major character in the Blood books, but only a secondary character in this one.

I really like Tony, he’s funny and stubborn and takes the whole ‘having to save the world’ plot with minimal whinyness. He’s also gay, for those who prefer not to read that sort of thing. His love interest is a straight boy, an actor in the TV show he works for. He used to be involved with Henry Fitzroy, and one of the writers on the set is interested in him. But for all that, there isn’t really an emphasis on it. It’s just one of those things that is about him, like being a PA.

You can tell the author did a lot of research into how a TV studio should run. There’s just as much written about Tony’s job as a set PA and the TV show they’re producing, as the paranormal stuff. I found this really interesting, though I can see how others might find it boring. I think it added a pretty neat element to the book.

For those Henry Fitzroy fans (of which I am one), he gets a lot of book time. I do like how he is described, and vampires in general in this universe. I admit I read this series before the Blood series, and then was disappointed that Tony was such a minor character in that one. This series also has a few spoilers for the Blood series, so I would recommend reading that one before this trilogy. However, even having read this one first, I had managed to forget the spoilers by the time I picked up the Blood books.

One fun bit in this book I haven’t seen previously, one of the characters, Arra, uses Spider Solitaire to read the future. It isn’t explained how exactly it works, but she seems to always be playing it and then comments on how such-and-such a card has blocked her other moves and ends the game. Also, at least in my copy of the book, each scene break has a suit of cards. Which change depending on the chapter you are on. So chapter one had clubs, there was one next to each page number, and then instead of extra space or any of the usual markers for a scene break, there would be a single club. The next chapter would have a different suit, and then it would repeat after all 4 had been done. I thought it was a pretty cute touch.

The last line of the book is funny, and I wasn’t really expecting it. I would highly recommend this book and series to anyone who likes fantasy and vampires and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (There’s a reference and bits of the book reminded me of the show!)

four-stars

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