Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: This Side of the Grave

(Night Huntress #5)

Jeaniene Frost
Paranormal Romance
357 Pages
Available Now

There's never been a dull moment for Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones, and they're certainly not going to find such a moment in the near future. A large number of ghouls, led by one who calls himself Apollyon, believe Cat will use her new and unusual vampiric powers to launch a species war against them and are attempting to be proactive against such an event by slowly and methodically eliminating the vampires.

One by one vampires are going missing, and Cat and Bones find themselves having to call on Marie, the ghoul queen of New Orleans, for help even though she is incredibly powerful and always unpredictable.

Along with Vlad and Mencheres, as well as some questionable assistance from Marie, Cat and Bones attempt to hunt down any and all information they can about Apollyon's whereabouts and his plans for Cat, trying desperately to prevent a war that will not only possibly expose, but will also surely decimate both groups.

Jeaniene Frost is one of those authors who writes stories so engaging and entertaining the pages seem to flip of their own accord and we end up reading one hundred pages in the time it takes us to read fifty in another story. We find ourselves smiling, blushing, and snorting in amusement at certain characters' impressive one-liner retorts, relaxing fully and completely as we make ourselves comfortable and give ourselves over to a creative mastermind. This Side of the Grave is another fun-filled romp through the Night Huntress world, one where the laughs keep coming, the smoldering heat of Cat and Bones continues to singe the pages, and the relationships between the protagonists and those around them continue to grow until our emotional proximity to those whose lives unfold before us can get no closer. Ms. Frost's characters, for all their undead status, absolutely come to life through her effortless storytelling, engaging us, taunting us, and drawing us in to their world as though we've belonged there all along.

Cat and Bones are as enjoyable as ever, their journey from tentative allies to lovers to husband and wife one we don't mind returning to experience over and over again. Cat, previously one to act impulsively in an effort to protect Bones and those she loves, makes a valid effort in this tale to curb that instinct and work with Bones as opposed to acting on what she believes is his behalf. She is still her witty, amusing self, but now in her we see a new maturity and our already healthy respect increases a few more notches. Bones, always impossibly and gloriously charming, doesn't disappoint as his unabashed and unapologetic love and admiration for Cat is a powerful force that never fails to cause our hearts to flutter and our limbs to liquify as we simultaneously harbor an irrational jealousy toward Cat for her luck in men, and yet smile warmly in appreciation of an enviable and beautiful relationship.

Aside from a romantic pair that has held us captivated through four prior books and maintains their possession of our undivided attention yet again in this story, Ms. Frost has a true gift for creating secondary characters who manage to make an unforgettable impression with their presence. The banter between Vlad, Bones, Cat, and Mencheres (as well as an all too short exclamation from Ian) is a staple in these books, and one of the elements most anticipated whenever a Night Huntress spine is cracked. Each character is full bodied and spectacularly developed, their distinct personalities as unique as a genetic marker and their presence always resulting in a richer reading experience as we glory in their humor, sit up and take note when they are unexpectedly serious, and frantically highlight their unforgettable quotes so we can share them with everyone we know.

Though This Side of the Grave is not necessarily the most memorable or impressive of the series as the plot lulls a bit at times, the action does pick up at the end and we are left with an interesting new development. Jeaniene Frost writes a well-rounded story, one that mixes a bevy of elements together in a most delectable blend, and if you've yet to experience Cat, Bones, and crew, grow a pair (of fangs) and get to the bookstore for a taste.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I've heard so much about Cat and Bones, yet I haven't read the series yet. I really should get my hands on the first book.

  2. I have not read this series, but your review makes me think I would like it. I definitely enjoyed your review.

  3. I simply agree with you on every point. I liked it - as I will probably like every Cat and Bones book - but I didn't love it like the others. Still, I can't wait for the next one :(

  4. I'm still in the middle of reading this one! Great review! Love this series! :)

  5. Love this review! I love visiting Cat and Bones and the gang but I agree the plot wasn't the strongest in this installment.

  6. The first sentence of the last paragraph - exactly how I felt. It's still a great book, but it didn't quite hit the same level as the other four. I think/hope it's a bridge in the series and that the next book will bring the drama back - haha, I know I'm horrible, but I loved the tension between Cat & Bones - made it feel like SO MUCH was on the line! Kind of worried though - did you pick up on any of that scary foreshadowing? ***bites nails***

  7. *sigh* This series exquisitely written. Jeaniene is a master at her craft. :)

    "Each character is full bodied and spectacularly developed...." - Love this description. Sounds like a fine wine...Fab review, Jenny. :)

  8. Vlad! Vlad! Vlad!

    Great Review and spot on :) I just love her books and her storytelling ability! She is just exquisite!

  9. Misha - Cat and Bones were one of my first PNR experiences back when I wasn't sure romance was a genre for me, and I got instantly addicted. I just adore these books:)

    Jan - I think a lot of people would like this series, there are sex scenes and they are very sexy;) but the story and the characters are so strong that I think these would appeal to even those who may not enjoy romance as much:)

    Danny - I agree, I will enjoy every book she writes - she could write the alphabet and I would be excited about it, but this one wasn't quite as strong.

    Jacinda - Me too! I'm ready for the next book already:)

    Nic - I think it's a good sign for an author when even the weaker installments are incredibly entertaining:)

    Linds - I love their tension too! I think it was nice they were working together more in this one, but I do miss their drama:)

    Smash - So true! I love Jeaniene:)

    Felicia - VLAD!!! He killed me in this book, he and Ian crack me up:) I can't wait for his book, I'm dying to see what he'll do when he finds a woman he wants:)

  10. I enjoy this series, thanks for getting me hooked on it.

  11. I agree! Frost's writing is very well rounded and her character development is phenomenal.

    I love the way Bones loves Cat! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one Jenny. My inner fangirl squeed!

  12. I really have to "meet" Cat, Bones, and Vlad. I keep hearing so much about them. I need to get to this series soon. So many books, so little time! *Sigh*

  13. Cathy - You're very welcome, I try to spread the Bones love wherever possible;)

    Missie - Love Jeaniene. Love her. I'm so read for the next Cat and Bones and then VLAD!

    Rummanah - You do, they're fabulous:)

  14. I've heard such rave things about the books and especially about Cat and Bones. I have yet to read it but its on my reading list.

  15. I've heard a lot about this book and the characters. Thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  16. I loved this book! I think what changed most inthis book was Cat being more responsible and thinking about her descions before doing them. I miss that about her. Her snap descisions is what made it exciting. Plus Bones always had to come and help her out. I like the fact that she is grown up more. But I do miss her crazy thinking. Great review Jenny! Super excited to read the next book. (And hoping that Cat gets in trouble!!) LOL

  17. Oh I have my fangs! I have this one, but haven't been able to get to it. *cries* I need me some smexy vampiness coupled with my favorite couple! Heh. Yes, I'm already squeeing over the next book. (hey! look how many words I made! lol)

  18. Jenny - Cat and Bones are awesome, two very unforgettable characters:)

    Brandi - You're welcome:)

    Savy - I miss her snap decisions too, but I do like that she's starting to think of Bones before she acts, it makes them more of a couple. I'm hoping for some more tension in the next book though, they're all smolder-y when there's tension:)

    Melissa - You are hilarious. There is smexy time to be had in this one, get on it!

  19. Another series I am behind on, but I have told myself to finish a couple of others first ;)

  20. All I can say is...I heart Bones...:D Great review Jenny!

  21. This sounds like a fun series. I love books that mix paranormal creatures. Here you have both vampires and ghouls.

  22. Awesome review as usual! I like an author that can create great secondary characters. I think that they are just as integral to enhancing a story as the lead characters!

  23. Blodeuedd - Hope you get a chance to get caught up soon, I love these books:)

    Kelsey - That's all that really ever needs to be said isn't it? I heart him too:)

    Alison - It's great! I know you're not a huge romance fan, but these would be good books to test the waters, Jeaniene's characters just suck you in!

  24. "Though This Side of the Grave is not necessarily the most memorable or impressive of the series as the plot lulls a bit at times, the action does pick up at the end and we are left with an interesting new development."

    I totally agree with you! Jeaniene cant do no wrong hehe

  25. This is another series that I haven't read. I really must - it sounds so good.

  26. So I dumbly bought this book thinking that it was the first book in the series. Oops!
    Must read first four books... They all sound so great!

  27. Wonderful review! I've been wanting to read this series. Your review has now moved it up on the priority list. It sounds like it is well worth the investment.

  28. I'm glad to know you gave this a 4. I just got it in the mail yesterday and I'm so pumped to read it. It makes me look forward to it even more! *squee*

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile