Years ago, after graduating high school, a group of friends and I spent senior week at the shore. There, a friend brought the first two Vicky Nelson (Blood Noun) novels by Tanya Huff. By the end of the week, everyone in the house had read them.
More importantly, now over twenty years later, they have aged extremely well.
The basic premise of each book is a mystery, a supernatural one of course, that Vicky must solve. Vicky is a former cop, who left the force due to a degenerative eye dieses that has destroyed her night vision. In the course of the first book, Vicky teams up with Henry Fitzroy, a vampire who happens to be the bastard son of Henry VIII (he’s that Henry who died young). Together, along with Mike, Vicky’s former partner and friend with benefits, they defeat evil. In the course of the series, Mike learns what Henry is, and the threesome negotiates their love triangle.
Unlike most current UF, Huff’s love triangle features a human woman, a vampire, and a human male instead vampire/human/werewolf. What is more interesting, is that Huff’s love triangle is also an open relationship on all ends. There are similar love triangles in various series. For instance, the original Anita Blake one involving a vampire and a werewolf. But unlike the Blake novels, Vicky does not expect her men to be faithful to only her. If she is already more than one love, so are they. While there is jealously, Vicky does not force the men to adhere to nonsensical rules the relationship is one of equals.
What is also great is that each person brings a strength to the conclusion. The three survive and thrive because they work as a team. Vicky might be the central around all which turns, but she is not super Vicky. She is not super Vicky. Too often in many UF series - such as Dresden, Blake, the Hollows – the lead is the only one who saves people. Not here. Both Henry and Mike are vital components of heroic daring do. It is a true partnership and triumvirate.
Henry is not a weepy emo vampire. Thank god. He might be nice, but he has bite and while he respects Vicky, he does not crave into any emotional blackmail, sticks to his code, and is willing to push back. No one in the relationship is a doormat.
And the men are the ones who start the relationship talk.
There also isn’t much angst. There is regret especially after Vicki becomes a vampire, but there isn’t constantly angst and drama. Things get resolved and sorted out. It makes a nice change from a never-ending love triangle with a sappy ending that is vaguely rapey.
And the books also address the question of consent and obligation in the character of Tony who realizes that his feelings for Henry are complicated. This is something that is not always examined in UF.
Huff deserves more credit and acknowledgement for her Vicky Nelson series. While it relies less on sex and romance, then most modern UF novels, there is romance and love there. What Huff does is showcase a strong woman in a relationship with strong men as all three struggle to come to terms with self.