Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This Side of the Grave
Night Huntress #5
By Jeaniene Frost
Purchase now on Amazon

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Crystal's Review:
First line-
“The vampire pulled on the chains restraining him to the cave wall.”

To say This Side of the Grave was a highly anticipated book would be a major understatement. After waiting over a year for my favorite author to pop out the next Cat & Bones book, feeling jittery from withdrawal, I wanted to cry when I finally got it in my hands! Expecting another spectacular story from this magnificent series, author Jeaniene Frost did not disappoint.

Cat and Bones are back and they finally get a break, when it comes to their relationship at least. And after the hell they were put through in Destined for an Early Grave (that novel just twisted my heart) I think they more then deserved it. However, outside their bedroom door all is not well, the vampire world is on the verge of war. Just as Cat is starting to adjust to her new vampire self and her unexpected abilities, the ghoul Apollyon is trying to incite war between the ghouls and vampires. Claiming that if Cat’s heart still beats then she can still be transformed into a ghoul and take over as ruler for both vampires and ghouls. Cat’s death is the only acceptable outcome for him and his followers, and since he has succeeded in the past he has every confidence he will this time as well. *insert evil laughter*
Then we have the ghoul Majestic a.k.a. Queen Marie, who plays a major and fascinating role, manipulating both sides in the war, and adding an unexpected twist to the plot.

Full of dark, snarky humor and yes, loss; love and romance play a HUGE roll in This Side of the Grave. There were some incredibly heart-warming moments between Cat and Bones.
Cat has really matured, I know some readers found her annoying at times and I am included in that, but here her walls crumble and she has definitely turned into a fine woman that you can admire. And super sexy Bones is just as f’in hot as always; strong, badass, protective, sarcastic and funny. He really does it for me in this series if you know what I mean. ;) *sigh* Bones….. But back to TsoTG, Bones has come to accept Cat fully as an adept partner, and he proves this in both thought and action. There commitment to each other is really awe-inspiring and as a total romantic at heart I just melted over it.
Declarations of eternal love, hot-steamy sex, and though there wasn’t that tension and combustibility between them that we’ve come to expect from previous books the stability in their relationship was a nice change of pace. And several scenes were very emotional; I teared up quiet a few times.

Frost has also mastered the skill of writing intensely interesting side characters that I just can’t get enough of and she has proved that once again here.  Vlad, popping up in numerous scenes, just added to already entertaining dialogues with his dry humor, turning it into a riot. And a scene between Cat, Vlad and Mencheres had me about to wet my pants!

Though I did find this novel lacking where others in the series weren't. I felt in previous titles there was much more story packed into their small paperback packages, while This Side of the Grave missed that and seemed a lot shorter then it’s 300+ pages. There was a noticeable lack of action & suspense that I became addicted to from the first four novels. The reason being, I think, was usually Cat and Bones are dealing with so many different threats coming at them from all sides, it’s non-stop drama, but here we only have the one threat.
Also, there was a major plot point concerning Justine that I felt was huge in the over all story arc, yet it was only hit upon at the beginning of the book and never revisited in a in-depth way.
Regardless though, Frost continues the series with a bang; giving readers non-stop, page-turning entertainment from start to finish. A lot of questions were answer, new ones arose and a fun and exciting twist was thrown in at the end that left me squirming in my seat to find out what happens next. Luckily we don’t have to wait another year for book six, we get two more Cat & Bones stories this year! *squee*

Rating: 4.5 - Loved it! 

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