May 17, 2013

REVIEW: This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5)

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5), by Jeaniene Frost
Published February 22, 2011
Publisher:  Avon
Format: audiobook - borrowed from the library
Genre:  Adult Paranormal Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

After the emotional roller coaster that Jeaniene Frost took us on in Destined For An Early Grave (Night Huntress #4), I was ready for a more comfortable Cat and Bones. Comfortable with each other - yes. I did get that. But, in true fashion, comfortable is most definitely NOT the word to describe their situation. And, I don't actually think I'd have it any other way.

While things seem to be calming down on the home front, at least as far as Cat and Bones' relationship goes, the pot is getting stirred elsewhere. A very nasty ghoul has his designs on eliminating Cat - permanently - as a means to stop a species war between vampires and ghouls. Of course, Bones is most definitely not down with that plan, war be damned. So, he, Cat, Mencheres, Kira, Vlad, Spade and Denise set about trying to formulate a plan B.

Meanwhile, Cat is trying to get the hang of being fully undead - well, as undead as her nuances will allow her to be, anyway. She's got all these powers she can't fully handle yet. Then, after a meeting with Marie, the Queen of the Ghouls, that problem is amplified ten-fold.

I have to tell you, as much as I love Cat and Bones, This Side of the Grave was one of my favorites because of a different character. VLAD TEPESH. 

"Much slower, I turned around to see Vlad examining his fingernails, as if his hands weren't still ablaze in the flames that had blasted the ghoul's head off moments before.
'What the hell was THAT?' I gasped.

'Premature inflamulation,' he replied. 'Happens sometimes. Very embarrassing. I don't like to talk about it.'"
While Bones is off playing his part in the plan to take down the ghoul nasty, Cat, Vlad and Mencheres work on trying to get her powers under control. Vlad's method of "teaching" involves poking her and antagonizing her and outright beating the crap out of her. I frikkin' love that guy. And, his methods work. Cat not only figures out her unique powers, but I get the feeling that she gained a very good friend and ally in Vlad. Not that he wasn't already those things, but their relationship seemed strengthened by their time together.

Bones and Cat seem to have entered a very comfortable stage in their relationship. There are less hot and sexy moments between these two, and I definitely miss those. Those moments just seem so... right... between these two warriors. There was one in This Side of the Grave, but one is just not enough for me. I must insist on more Russell married sex moments in the future.

Despite the lack of physicality, the love between Cat and Bones is till very palpable. It's the best part of the story - Bones' adoration and protectiveness for his wife is what has made him one of my most favorite male book characters of all time. That has not changed, and thank goodness for that.

There is tons of action, laughter, excitement and fear in This Side of the Grave. Once again, Frost has outdone herself. The Night Huntress series continues to be one of the best series out there.


Krista said...

I really loved Vlad's personality in the Night Huntress series. I was a little disappointed with how he was portrayed in his own books.

Krista said...

I know! Vlad was such a jokester in the NH series. Not so much in his own books. He was much more serious, I thought.