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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3) by Jeaniene Frost

I was up until well into the night so I could finish At Grave's End, the latest Cat and Bones story. UPS delivered it around 5:00, just as the family was sitting down to supper. By the time I got the girls ready for bed and actually got to begin reading it I was chomping at the bit. But it was worth every second I had to wait. What an incredible book.

One kind of off-topic thing I want to say though, I think the model on the cover is pregnant. Look closely, the face is a bit fuller, there appear to be more boobs, and you can see what looks like a pregnant stomach hanging down. They did a great job of putting her in a position to conceal it, and I'm glad they got the same model for consistency's sake. And she looks great, incredible even, for a pregnant woman... still with those legs that don't stop. Okay, I'll stop commenting on the cover now and get to the book.

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

Some things won't stay buried...

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself – and Bones – from a fate worse than the grave.

The book starts with action and the action rarely lets up for very long. I didn't lay in bed and read this one, I sat up, with a pillow in my lap hunched over reading it. And I flew through it. I'll have to go back and read it again to pick up all of the nuances.

I'll even admit to doing something I very very very rarely do. At one point I just had to know something and I briefly jumped ahead in the book to read and see if what appeared to be happening was really happening. I read for maybe ten seconds, just long enough to see one thing but not long enough to spoil anything else, and then went right back to where I was. I can only remember doing that with two other books my entire life. This book makes three.

A lot happens in At Grave's End besides the plot in this book. I mean, the plot is once again well thought out and really good, but one of the great things about books in a series is that there is a lot more going on than just the plot, right?  So what else happens? With the intention of informing but not spoiling I'll say that: 
  • Cat grows up some more, in a couple of ways. 
  • More surprisingly, Cat's mom even does some growing up. 
  • Bones becomes more powerful. 
  • Two of Cat's team take Bone's up on his offer of turning people into vampires. 
  • We learn a whole lot more about Mencheres. 
  • And we even get to meet a historical figure.

As I was telling a coworker about the premise of the books yesterday, I realized something. Yes, it's a good story, but from any other author it wouldn't be my favorite series. Sure, the world building is interesting, and the plots are good. But we get that in a lot of other series as well. I think that part of what makes this series so good is the mastery of the author in actually telling the story and building the characters. We have wonderful conversation along with lots of humor, fear, tension, happiness, sadness, despair, lust, anger, wonderment, and... a ton of other feelings and emotions that I'm not going to take the time to write.  We get to know Cat and Bones and Justina and Tate and Juan and even lesser characters like Mencheres and Spade. We see their personalities in a way that not many authors can manage. 

The next book, An Early Grave, is due out in 6 months. Once again, I can't wait.

Series Rating: 10 out of 10
Book Rating: 10 out of 10

Night Huntress Novels
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress 1) October 2007
One Foot in the the Grave (Night Huntress 2) April 2008
At Grave's End (Night Huntress 3) December 2008
An Early Grave (Night Huntress 4) July 2009

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