Wednesday 6 January 2010

Blood Lines - Tanya Huff

Blood Lines is another solid entry into the series about Vicki Nelson, a PI with a degenerative eye disability, Henry Fitzroy, centuries-old vampire and son of Henry VIII. Since he plays a much bigger part in this book, mention should also be made of Mike Celluci, police officer and sometime lover of Vicki.

In previous novels Huff has tackled vampires (obviously), werewolves, summoning demons and here she wanders into the realms of ancient Egypt and mummies. In the slow burn start to the book a new sarcophagus is found by Dr Rax, curator of the Royal Ontario Museum, and brought to Toronto. After a series of mysterious deaths, the situation comes to the notice of Mike, who starts to believe that an actual mummy might be haunting the streets of Toronto. When he is pulled from the case, he asks Vicki to investigate on his behalf. Eventually Vicki pulls together the threads to realise that the people of Toronto are in mortal danger and time is running out for the mummy to be stopped.

I have to confess, this was my least favourite of the books so far. The main essence of the plot took a really long time to get started properly - for a while it was just so much Egyptology claptrap - and the subplot concerning Henry and his fear of going mad because of his dreams was dull. I disliked the period in the book that Vicki spent in jail, since it affected the pacing of the book hugely, and the ending was a bit of a letdown and a copout.

For once, as well, I didn't enjoy the characters as much. Considering he is an all-powerful immortal who walks the night, Henry is incredibly whiny and vulnerable in this book. Mike is just annoying. And Vicki seemed once more pushed to the sidelines (as I felt with the second book). I mean, although she features in a lot of the book, she just isn't growing as a character. She is just reacting to those around her, and much of the spiky character that I enjoyed in the first book is absent. All we have now is a pushy and argumentative individual with little charm to recommend her.

And how I dislike her reactions to the two men in her life! For one thing, she is flitting between them (Mike by day and Henry by night) with not a qualm or a pang of conscience. Henry declares his love for her, and she shrugs it off as a given - in fact, moans at him for even having said it. When Mike says he wants to discuss the love triangle situation they find themselves in, she considers him a pain in the ass for doing so. She is distinctly unloveable on these occasions.

There were parts I still enjoyed, and moments in the book were incredibly tense, but I just found the overall plot less than entertaining, and the relationships between the characters annoying. I'll read onto book four, but I'm definitely less enamoured with this series.

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