56 points/100 (3 stars/5)
Alert: LGBT themes

Tony Foster is a production assistant on a TV series about a vampire detective. He is also a fledgling wizard. Now they’re trapped on location in a haunted house. A haunted house that wants to kill them. Tony may be their only way out of the hell they have found themselves in.

Smoke and Mirrors is thankfully kind of better than Smoke and Shadows. It isn’t nearly as confusing as the first book. The perspective switches were fewer and less confusing. It is also vaguely more interesting to me as a story, even though I’ve seen it a dozen times before. It was just sooo long. It was much longer than it needed to be, and I felt as trapped as the characters were throughout the book waiting for something, anything to happen so I would be less bored.

The entire story was that most of the people on the vampire detective show are trapped in a haunted house that is trying to kill them. I think if this was the first time I had seen this story, I would have been really interested in it. It is really chilling in a way, and managed to creep me out despite my being very bored with the story. As it was, I have seen this story play out many times before, and there really wasn’t a lot new added to the story archetype.

Minor rant here: Why the hell is it that everyone is so pissed off at Tony this entire book. They think because he is a wizard he should be able to stop everything that is happening. As if he is a god or something. They hate him because he immediately can’t get them out. Tony knows one spell. That is it. The fact that he is even calling himself a wizard at all is hilarious. He is so incompetent that if Arra was still around, she’d beat his ass for for being so egotistical. I just hate how half the book is people yelling at Tony because he isn’t doing anything…because he can’t.

Also, someone discipline those fucking kids already. For fucks sake! They’re going to get you all killed through their inability to follow directions! Arrrgh

It looks like Tanya Huff is exploring tropes from other genres and bringing them to urban fantasy through Tony Foster. I just wish that these tropes were actually explored instead of being the same thing I’ve already seen, just thrown into modern day Earth without a care for what it actually means.