The Blood Books, Vol. 2 (Blood Lines / Blood Pact) by Tanya Huff, Blood Lines, has one of the most disturbing scenes in it. I read the first two books without cringing, but there is one section in this book that had me cringing even after the section was gone.
Vicki Nelson, Henry Fitzroy, and Mike Celluci return in this book to fight an ancient Egyptian mummy. Yes, not only are werewolves and demons in the same book as a vampire, but now a walking mummy. This mummy isn't just wandering around in ancient rags terrorizing the city, he has a purpose, and that purpose is to feed on souls and resurrect a god.
Henry's ka, or soul, attracts the mummy because it burns brightly, and Henry is almost tempted to take the mummy up on his offer of companionship, until he finally realizes that he is not the one in need of companionship. This book also sheds further light on the triangle created by Vicki, Henry, and Celluci. Vicki is very torn between the two, and the men are very aware of how each feels for her, which raises the tensions between them even further--especially when they work together to corral the mummy.
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I will not go into detail about the disturbing section of the book, but I will say Vicki is a much stronger woman or better at hiding her pain than I would ever be. After her ordeal, she does not curl into a ball or dissolve into a puddle when it ends. If anything, she fortifies an even stiffer protective wall around herself, which I'm sure plays into her overall character development throughout the series.
Tanya Huff's Blood Pact in The Blood Books, Vol. 2 (Blood Lines / Blood Pact) is the best of the books thus far. I read through this book quickly, and though I knew the inevitability of the series, I was unprepared for the final outcome. Throughout the series, there have been werewolves, mummies, vampires, and now Frankenstein monsters. When you deal in the unknown, mad scientists are bound to come out of the woodwork. I guess I never expected the mad scientist to be so young. Though Catherine is a genius, she is utterly naive about her work and why the administrator, Dr. Burke is interested in her work. While many of us like to think we are smart and on the verge of discovery or just great work, we often fail to recognize our own motivations or those of our colleagues and bosses. Even now, this may be the case.
Vickie Nelson's mother is in trouble, worse than a life or death situation can be. Marjory, who has driven her daughter crazy with her questions and advice, becomes a scientific experiment of a young graduate student at the Life Sciences unit. The conspiracy to create Frankenstein-like creatures goes beyond the graduate student's ideas and genius to reach up into the upper ranks of the University's bureaucracy.
Vicki finds her mother's body has been stolen and she buries the pain of loss to search for her mother's "kidnappers." The struggle to keep the loss inside and remain removed from the situation enough to find her mother's body and the criminals who took her is apparent in all of her actions and interactions with Henry and Celluci.
The love triangle also rears its ugly head in this book, though both men agree to be civil to one another and put Vicki first. It's admirable, but in the end, one of them has to choose to let her go and leave her forever.
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Now, in this series, there is one particular tidbit of the Vampire reality that I do not find very conducive to love stories per se, but I can see why it was written into the story because the love triangle would never have ended. For all of Vicki's strength, she has this uncanny ability at being unable to commit. She cannot commit in her personal life and she is inevitably forced to commit because of circumstances within and yet beyond her control.
There is a great deal of inner turmoil in this book. Vicki, Celluci, Henry, and even Dr. Burke. It also highlights some of the most interesting problems in graduate schools among naive yet intelligent students and faculty.