64 points/100 (3 ¼ 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 who has been practicing on his craft. Now there are demons coming through to Earth and Tony may be the only person who is capable of sending them back to where they belong and closing the gates behind them.

Smoke and Ashes is definitely the best in the trilogy. The series definitely got better with time. It still jumped around a lot, though. It also was yet another book where once they start they don’t stop for anything. Smoke and Ashes also expands on the lore already established in the Vicki Nelson series in a way I kind of enjoyed, and kind of didn’t.

We have already seen demons before. This time they’re different. I can’t tell if they’re the same demon type as the one in Blood Price, or if they are entirely different. Either way, they’re different. These demons are more evolved than the one in Blood Price. The earlier one just seemed bent on chaos, though that was also a result of the person who summoned him. These demons seem to have an entire purpose they want to accomplish. However, it also makes them more bland. It is easier to explain them away as something that just exists now, instead of something that is truly terrifying. I’m not really sure I like this change, because I really liked the demon from Blood Price. I liked that level of complete unknown. With knowledge comes familiarity, comes lack of fear. Or something.

Throughout the whole book, Tony has to go around closing portals demons are using to come through to Earth. All while protecting a girl. And he doesn’t even want to sleep with her! (That’s a change, though he is gay, so not exactly surprising). This means that Tony has actually been practicing with his magic, even though he still isn’t that good with it. This is a change from other urban fantasy I read, where once the main character starts practicing, they become all knowing and all powerful and can do whatever they want. Nope, Tony still is having trouble, still doesn’t know enough, still isn’t all powerful. I like it.

It has been over ten years since the release of this book. I really don’t think we’re going to get another. Yet, this doesn’t really feel like the end. The only reason why it can be considered such is because Tony finally got the boy. It is cute, kind of made my eyes roll, but largely mediocre. As an end, it is just something to go with. I’m just disappointed that this series never did live up to my memories of it.