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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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 5) Jeaniene Frost


The Night Huntress Series used to be my favorite series. Now it's struggling to stay in the top five, in large part because it's been so long since we've had a Cat and Bones book. Jeaniene Frost focused on books in the Night Huntress World over the past year and a half, giving Spade and Mencheres their own HEA book. I did not care as much for the NHW books as I do the Cat and Bones books.

This Side of the Grave is the fifth Cat and Bones book, and I think Ms. Frost is feeling her way through a long running series at this point. I applaud her for not making Cat and Bones fight with each other - that was fine while they were working things out, but now they are married and that should be behind them. It was great to see them getting along, working together, communicating with each other, and trusting each other. We also saw a decent amount of the other couples who have formed, and it was nice to see them getting along with each other and working together, as well.

Here's the blurb:

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.

I figured parts of the plot out long before Cat did, which was a touch annoying. I wanted to shake her and get her to think. I knew how it was going to end at about the halfway point. Sure, there were details I didn't know, but I had the general idea of the ending.

I love that Cat got to spend so much time with Vlad. He fascinates me. Also, I like the idea of the Master Vampire powers coming to them when they are strong enough to wield them - and Cat has trouble handling them when she's gifted with them as a baby vamp. It's just one of many worldbuilding details that makes Jeaniene Frost such a great Urban Fantasy author.

As for the writing elements:
  • The plot was so-so, and I figured it out long before the main character.
  • Pacing had a few issues.
  • Prose and dialogue were superb.
  • Character development was once again excellent.
  • World-building continues to be creative and detailed with just enough of our reality thrown in to make you go hmmmm.
The Cat and Bones books have all recieved a 10 of 10 from me in the past, but This Side of the Grave is going to get a 9 of 10. I will keep the series at a 10 of 10.

  • Book Rating: This Side of the Grave: 9 of 10
  • Series Rating: 10 of 10
Funniest line comes from Bones to someone just learning about vampires and asking the basic questions -- "Ask me if I sparkle and I’ll kill you where you stand".

We were given a preview of the next book in this series, One Grave at a Time, and I think I'm going to like the premise of the next book. We only have to wait six months this time, as it's scheduled for release August 30th of this year, thank goodness.

Night Huntress Novels
1. Halfway to the Grave (2007)
2. One Foot in the Grave (April 2008)
3. At Grave's End (December 2008)
4. Destined for an Early Grave (July 2009)
5. This Side of the Grave (Feb 22, 2011)
6. One Grave at a Time (Aug 30, 2011

Night Huntress Universe 
1. First Drop of Crimson (Feb 2010)
2. Eternal Kiss of Darkness (July 27, 2010)


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