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Phil's Rambling Rants
July 3rd, 2004
09:20 pm


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Book Review: Smoke and Shadows
Today's book review is Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff.

This book sort of continues the marvelous Blood series. It centers on Tony, with Henry being an important supporting character, and makes a few references to things that happened in the Blood books that might be slightly cryptic if you haven't read them, but it's a self-contained story.

Tony is a production assistant for a 3rd-rate television production company which produces "the highest rated direct-to-syndication vampire detective series on the continent" (I think I'm quoting that right; apologies if it's not exact). I don't know diddle squat about the television business, but the way the company and the production work in the novel certainly rings true to me.

Since this is a Tanya Huff novel, I don't think I'm violating my own no-spoilers rule to spill that Strange Things start happening in the studio very quickly, and it's up to our hero, his trusty vampire, and whatever help he can scrounge up to save the world from Something Terrible. The nature of the Something Terrible is, to put it bluntly, a little over the top in hokeyness; even a reader who doesn't have a problem suspending disbelief for vampires, werewolves, mummies, and the other supernatural oddities Tanya has given us before might find this just a little hard to swallow. But really, we're not reading these books for the realistic plot situations, we're reading them for the powerful characters that have to handle these situations and the wonderful jokes that she sneaks in. The ambiguous character of Arra and the development in the ongoing relationship between Tony and Henry are enough to make the whole book worthwhile -- which isn't to say that there's nothing else there; there's plenty.

I will admit that my rating is biased; I don't think Tanya will ever deliver a book I don't enjoy. But if you don't like the way Tanya Huff writes, your taste is sufficiently messed up different from mine that my ratings probably are worthless to you anyway. I give it a 9 out of 10, mainly because the nature of the supernatural threat is not up to her previous standards of believability.

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Date:July 4th, 2004 05:30 am (UTC)

Is this really a YA book?

Something that I realized after I wrote this that I had meant to mention and forgot...

I am under the impression that this book was marketed as a "Young Adult" book. I find this a little bit surprising, given that there's quite a bit of violence and also frank mention of homosexuality, sex organs, and such, even though there's no actual sex 'on screen'. I don't think there's anything wrong with exposing children to the sexual material, but I would think a lot of parents would disagree.
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