This Side of the Grave - Jeaniene Frost This Side of the Grave—Book five in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
I have put off reading this book for quite a while because the previous book in this series, Destined for and Early Grave, left me feeling kind of disappointed in where the series was going. I should have had more faith. This book knocked it out of the park, and addressed all the character points that had me disappointed in the last book in such a way as to allow character growth and open up avenues for further development within the world she created. In short, Ms. Frost is a genius, and while I cannot promise never to doubt again, I will try to keep this experience firmly in my mind and at least promise to give her the benefit of the doubt and see it through. As far as I am concerned she has earned that right and the most precious gift I can bestow on an author, my trust.
This Side of the Grave picks up about two months after Eternal Kiss of Darkness, reuniting us with our favorite redhead and her irrepressibly roguish husband. Cat and Bones again face the threat of a vamp/ghoul war incited by the peculiarity—not of her half vamp status anymore—but of her disturbing abilities as a vampire with an occasional heartbeat. The whole gang reunites in this one, including cameos by all of our world book couples as well as the frightening Queen of New Orleans, Marie Laveau, our friendly ghost Fabian, friends and family from the compound and of course my personal favorite side character Vlad (Who I am thrilled to know has his own series, Night Prince, coming out soon...which in part fueled my fervor to work my way through the titles sitting on my shelf so that I could go out and get and then devour Vlad’s story with zero guild. Only one book left to go and quite a while until release I think I’m good. :).
This book, to me, was all about characterization and growth. While the action scenes kicked butt, the plot was complex without being Machiavellian, and I truly enjoyed all the wit that was heavily sprinkled throughout with a tongue-in-cheek disregard for propriety, including writing in a scene with Joan of Arc; the real magic was in Cat’s growth as a character. Honestly, without this I don’t think I would have been able to continue reading the series, but Ms. Frost managed to round out her main character in a way that made her a more complete individual while still retaining her flaws. A hard thing to do when she is still the main push behind the series, as you don’t want her perfect…then it becomes a bore…but you can’t have her too dense…or people begin to lose patience. I think Ms. Frost managed to reach that plateau of balanced without losing momentum very well, and I am looking forward to seeing where she takes the story next. The one plus side to waiting so long to read this book is that I now have the next one in the series just sitting there waiting to be read. I can’t wait.
I give this book an enthusiastic four stars