Smoke and Shadows (Book 1) - By Tanya Huff

(Tony Foster, #1)
Urban Fantasy

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 an 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 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!

I never cared much for Tony in the previous series (Blood Series). I didn't dislike him, but just didn't pay much mind to the minor character. I was curious how it would be pulled off making him the primary protagonist, and as a character it turns out I enjoy him more now. His older street jargon has been replaced with more proper speech - we're informed this has been encouraged by Henry "offstage." My favorite parts really involved Henry, as I always loved the character. Tony isn't as exciting as the previous Vicky (who got on my nerves much of the time for her attitude) or the adorably lovable Celucci.

The Shadowlord, an intriguing and unique enough villain, is well-written. It's not every day you read a book focused on living shadows that are part of a larger being. The story itself is a good one but the pacing is too slow for some areas; as an example, when emphasis is placed on Tony's day-to-day interactions on the stage set, none of this interested me and I kept gliding through passages where he chats with co-workers. Being boring is a book or movie's greatest sin, and while Smoke and Shadows never committed this crime exactly, it was sadly close some of the time.

Henry comes back and is as great as ever, I love the whole possessive type angle, but I found the whole "hunger" and "seduction" expression vague at best and over-used. There was no tension with these scenes, it was just written, no build-up and no description. This, thankfully, is a minor thing that did not distract me from the otherwise interesting and somewhat unique story that I enjoyed reading. Not a book you would be forced to read through in one sitting, forgoing sleep and other life needs, but a book that still keeps you drawn in just enough to keep wanting to reach the end line.

The negatives (and pluses) aside, I'm wanting to read more of the series. The ending of the book let loose some intriguing ideas about Tony's character that suddenly makes him more intriguing. I would like, of course, to keep seeing more of Henry and his relationship with Tony for, like the previous series, he is much of the glue that keeps the stories together. I remember being depressed that the Blood Lines series ended, and I'm happy it's been picked up again for a few more rounds, even if it's with a new 'bloodline'.

   Book Quotes:

“It took him forever to get to downtown Vancouver although Tony had to admit that saving the world by public transportation was a particularly Canadian way to do things.” 

“Better the comfort of a lie than the absurdity of the truth.”  

“I'm sorry."
About what?"
He shrugged, made uncomfortable by the question."I'm not sure. It's a Canadian thing.”

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