fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Tanya Huff Blood Books 4. Blood PactBlood Pact by Tanya Huff

In the first few chapters of Blood Pact, the fourth novel in the Blood Books series, Vicki Nelson receives extremely bad news concerning her mother’s death. The news gets worse when she travels to Kingston and realizes that her mother’s body is being used in an appalling series of experiments. Blood Pact is the tale of Dr. Frankenstein, brought up to date in a gruesome manner. Vicki tries frantically to find out who is behind the desecration of her mother’s corpse, ably assisted by vampire Henry Fitzroy and cop Mike Celluci. Both men love Vicki and are trying to win her heart, but all of this is put aside when the three band together against a common foe.

I had my complaints about the last book in this series, Blood Lines, feeling that it dragged a little, used a ludicrous plot and made two dimensional cardboard cut-outs of characters that had been powerful in the first couple of books. Sure, the plot of Blood Pact is no less far-fetched — dealing with an insane but brilliant scientist and a greedy university admin chief who are attempting to resurrect the dead — but the characters are richly drawn and very real. For me Mike is the standout, especially in the last third of the book when he and Vicki are racing to find Henry before it is too late. His love for her, his determination and bravery, his wry sense of humour, and eventually, his willingness to lose the woman he loves to another man in order to save her, are just tremendously written.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it is explosive and heart-rending, and leaves plenty of questions for the next book.

Tanya Huff writes with assurance and poignancy concerning the death of a loved one. It’s clear that she has experienced the sense of loss felt by Vicki, because the realism and grittiness of her reactions ring very true.

Of course, Blood Pact isn’t perfect. Huff has clear talent, but these books can be quite uneven. For instance, there is an odd, under-developed, and unnecessary subplot in which one of the walking dead starts to have feelings for his mistress.

Also, the fact that Vicki is rage-fuelled, lost in grief and obsessed with finding her mother to the point of losing her mind doesn’t make for happy reading. Blood Pact is grim and relentless, with very few moments that lighten the atmosphere. Even the humour is of the black variety. However, I would say that this isn’t a negative of the writing; in fact, Huff writes this exceptionally well. It is more a matter of personal taste. When you read as a form of escapism, it doesn’t help to have the real world thrust so spectacularly into a book about vampires and the walking dead!

Huff also repeats her characters’ tics to an annoying degree. Vicki is always pushing her glasses up her nose, and pushing the curl off of Mike’s forehead.

That said, Blood Pact is overwhelmingly creepy (in a good way), and definitely the best of the series.


  • Amanda Rutter (guest)

    AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....