This Side of the Grave

Night Huntress, Book 5

Half Vampire Cat Crawfield and her husband Bones have spent the last seven years fighting for their lives and their love. Just having won their latest battle, Cat’s new abilities and powers are threatening to upset the balance of power in the supernatural world and end the temporary peace…

With vampires disappearing mysteriously, rumors of a pending species war are thriving. Someone is stirring tensions between the vampires and ghouls and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent human beings will become collateral damage. Cat and Bones have no choice but to ask for help from a dangerous “ally” – the ghoul queen of New Orleans. The price of her assistance may prove to be more treacherous than the threat of a supernatural war…to say nothing of the consequences Cat never anticipated…

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is the fantastically entertaining fifth book in the Night Huntress Series. Cat Crawfield and “Bones” Russell are one of my all-time favorite couples in the Urban Fantasy genre; they’re smart, hip and so much fun. Ms. Frost drew me into the world of her characters and I didn’t want to leave it when the story ended.

Cat Crawfield has been through a lot in the last seven years since she became known as “The Red Reaper”. Having survived the showdown that occurred in the previous book, Cat and Bones have been rounding up the remaining troublemakers and hoping they will have some down time to spend together relaxing and just generally enjoying their recent marriage. When Cat and Bones discover that master-less vampires are beginning to disappear in Ohio, Cat’s home state, they have to investigate. They discover that one of their “nemeses” is starting trouble between the vampires and ghouls in an attempt to start a supernatural war. Once again, Cat finds that her existence and unique abilities are being used as reasons for the building anti-vampire sentiment being eschewed. I really enjoy how Ms. Frost is continuing to develop Cat’s character. She’s had to let go of her vampire “prejudice” and has had to learn to judge each supernatural character on their own merit. She’s learned to love; her love for Bones and her friends grows daily and she’s slowly learning to express her emotions. Of course, she still has a quick temper and is somewhat snarky, in a totally fun way.

Bones continues to be an incredibly strong character in this series. I continue to fall for him more and more. He’s loved Cat since he met her and intends to be by her side for eternity. He continues to be highly protective and supportive of her. He’s also extremely territorial about Cat being his wife, his woman, and with his mind reading abilities any man, human or supernatural, needs to be careful of their thoughts about Cat.

The scenes between Cat and Bones are very well done and they continue to grow as a couple. I really like how Cat thinks before she jumps into action, unlike what she did in the past, as that almost always backfired on her. She’s now working to make joint decisions with Bones. We also get to see quite a few familiar characters, introduced in previous books, in this story. Mencheres, Bones’ grandsire, has become fairly prominent in the series and I like what Ms. Frost is doing with his character, as he’s really becoming quite personable. Denise and Spade, Cat’s and Bones’ best friends, make an appearance in this book. I love how Denise is really taking control over her life and the self-confidence she’s gained. I also have to confess my growing love for Vlad, who’s become quite sexy. He’s growing on me as he continues to develop his friendship with Cat.

The villain in this story is one that we’ve met before; he was a somewhat secondary villain in the previous book. Without giving spoilers, I will say that he continues to be a thorn in Cat’s side and does force her to re-evaluate how she deals with her enemies, an area Cat will continue to address as she matures as a vampire. We also revisit the ghoul queen of New Orleans, Marie Lavou, or “Majestic”, as she prefers to be called. Even though she’s not really a villain, she does force Cat to do something she’s not comfortable with, which results in new powers that neither Cat nor Bones could have anticipated.

The conclusion of the story is perfect for this installment and leaves our characters in a good place. There are still many issues in the supernatural world, and many changes are taking place that will impact what happens in the future, with the vampires and ghouls and their interaction with the human world. I look forward to the next book in this series that will be released sometime this fall.  

Book Blurb for This Side of the Grave

The highly anticipated continuation of Jeaniene Frost's New York Times and USA Today bestselling Night Huntress series, in which Cat and Bones face an enemy unlike any they've met before.

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. say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2011 4.50