Blood Bank by Tanya Huff (Vicki Nelson #6...ish)

Blood Bank - Tanya Huff

This is an collection of the various shorts involving the Blood Books characters, and all seem to be set post Book 4 in the series, so collecting these up as book 6 makes total sense. I for one am glad to have it as a collection, I really like some of these stories, and it's nice to have them in one place.

After re-reading the first four of this series in a row (and unable to find book 5, I think my dog chewed it, but remembering that I liked it least of all first time around, so thank you dog) I was pretty much primed for this.

And I actually wish that all the series was collections of shorts. It can be done, in fact one of my favourite examples is similar in tone to the this series, albeit it's a steampunk, but it's still a vampire/lady detective series, name of which escapes me this minute (I bet I remember as soon as I close this review).

Anyway, I've consistently rated the rest of the Blood books a good solid 3, they're certainly engaging enough reads, and definitely forebears of a great deal of both the Urban Fantasy and PNR that we see today, some twenty years after their first publication. But they fall down, for me, in the plotting department. No mystery, little suspense, a little too much deus ex dracula. The only time in the entire series that I was actually flat out surprised by a twist was the end of book 4, and even that was sort of an anti-climax, with the big twist being followed by a rather ho-hum wrap up couple of chapters, encompassing the entirety of the next year and then some after the case.

These little gems, however, do a lot better showcasing both the excellent worldbuilding, and the quirky characters. What's more, they're quite a lot funnier than the actual series books (the one with Henry trying the personal ads is definitely the pick of the bunch.) There's more actual mystery in several of these stories than the entire rest of the series put together. And there is none of the annoying triangle with Henry and Mike stomping around each other doing the alpha male dance, and Vicki just getting mad at both of them for daring it. Instead we see Vicki and Mike actually making progress, as partners and as people. And Henry doing his thing as he has for over 400 years when he hasn't got Vicki and Mike to obsess over. Suddenly all three become a good deal more likeable for me.

So there you go. A nice wrap up to a pretty ok series, one that should certainly be given it's due for the effect it had on entire genres, but maybe has been surpassed by it's own offspring. Highly recommended if you read any of the previous books, probably a little mystifying if you didn't.