Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review: Smoke and Mirrors (Tony Foster #2)

"...things have been quiet since the defeat of the shadows. Then Chester Bane, head of CB Productions, rents Caulfield House, a long-deserted, turn-of-the-last-century mansion, to shoot an episode about a haunted house. It should be an easy week, with a perfect setting, the cast all in place, the script ready to go, but there's one little hitch that no one's counted on. Caulfield House really is haunted!"

Smoke and Mirrors, by Tanya Huff, is the second book based on Tony Foster, a reoccurring character from the highly popular Vickie Nelson/Henry Fitzroy "Blood" series. The setting is contemporary Vancouver, British Columbia where he relocated with ex-lover Henry Fitzroy, 450-year-old bastard son of King Henry VIII of England. Once a homeless kid living on the streets at the age of 15, Tony returned to school for his GED and has his own place. Now at the age of 23, he landed a job as a Production Assistant at CB Productions for the syndicated TV show, "Darkest Night", a vampire-private investigation series. He discovered he was a real wizard after battling evil shadows in the first novel, Smoke and Shadows,. He thought his life could not become more complicated than it already is.

His boss rented a haunted house for an episode of his TV series. It look like the perfect place to film. It was old and no one was living there anymore. Surely, no one would be harmed in the production. However, Tony noticed strange things. People who were actually dead ghosts replaying their deaths continuously. When the actors and production crew become locked inside the house, which feeds off their fear, anxiety and ultimately death, Tony had to think fast. This also meant he had to reveal his secret as a wizard. Could everyone survive the horror until sunrise, or would the house consume them all for eternity?

I thought this was an excellent opportunity to review this book out for Halloween. Although I was somewhat reluctant since I was very disappointed with the Shadows novel, I really enjoyed Mirrors! It had the typical haunted house plot, but this gave me a chance to learn all the major and minor characters and their personalities. Some major Blood fans will be disappointed that Henry basically only has 20 lines throughout the entire book, but he was not needed. The story felt real, some scenes scared me, and I felt sympathetic with the ghosts and people who died in the haunted house. Huff managed to keep the wizardry to a layman's level so I never questioned her intentions with the story. Tony came out as a hero and progressing wizard. In addition, he might have a new boyfriend that he never would have expected in the next novel. I want to read the next novel, which was clearly lacking in the previous Huff book in this series.

In sum, I highly recommend Smoke and Mirrors because Tanya Huff redeems herself from her disappointing first novel in the series. Filled with humor, suspense, and horror, Mirrors recognizes why Huff fans love her books so much. Please read the first book of the series because Huff makes many references to it, and you will enjoy the second book better. Plus, Halloween is approaching soon, so get it before it's too late!

Stay tuned to the next book in the Tony Foster series, Smoke and Ashes.

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