Ohmigosh, how I love Tanya Huff. I was lucky enough to meet her years ago during my bookstore days, and to this day I credit her (alongside Charles de Lint) in me not giving up on urban fantasy completely. That’s neither here nor there, but I thought I’d admit my bias going in, because “End of Days” is one of my favourite stories from The Clan Chronicles: Tales from Plexis and the reasons for it being so are similar to my reasons for adoring Huff in general: the characters are written so damn brilliantly, wittily, and snarkily enjoyable.
We meet Elaine Hutton at the end of her time with Plexis security. That’s right, we’re starting a story with someone who wears a badge (sort of) and is close to retirement, and she’s been tasked with training a new (young) recruit over her last case before she leaves. Admit it, you’re already worried she’s going to die in a blaze of glory to save (and inspire) the inept kid, right? Right? Well, worry not, because Tanya Huff skates all around those tropes without landing on any of them, and instead twists them just-so into something fresh and enjoyable (but snarky and grumpy and witty and ohmigosh I love these characters).
The particular facet of Hutton that’s unique to her in specific is a sad truth of life on Plexis: she’s the only officer anyone’s heard of who doesn’t take bribes of any kind. That makes her unique, and uniquely qualified to take the new kid under her wing, and also qualified to butt heads with some truly disagreeable people who usually bribe their way out of trouble. Ultimately, the end of this one had me chuckling and laughing as I expected it to, but also a wee bit sentimental in the final moments. It’s a great story, but then, how could I have expected anything less?