Review of This Side of the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost.
Warning: This review may contain spoilers from the previous four books!! Please read Halfway to the Gave, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, and Destined for an Early Grave before reading this review!
Quickie: Disappointing, especially when compared to the rest of the series. Enjoyed it, but didn't love it.
Full: 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.
Well, it sound nice in the back-cover description... but I felt like there was hardly any real action at all. I was so, so excited for this book, I've been dying to get more of Cat and Bones. And I did, I suppose. I'll break it down into the good and the bad.
-Cat and Bones book 5, yay!
-Cat's new abilities were pretty cool, and it was interesting to see how they came into play throughout the book.
-Vlad. He's one of my favorites, and I just love having him around to liven things up a bit.
-Post-Eternal Kiss of Darkness Mencheres. Loved seeing him again, and seeing Kira as well.
-Okay we get it, Cat and Bones are in love. And in the honeymoon stage. Which is great for them and gross for us. True, it was cute to see them so happy and all that... but I missed the biting remarks and witty retorts. We glimpsed it, but it was an important part of the Cat and Bones relationship. I was sad to see so little of it.
-The action... or, what action? I'm used to all kinds of great butt-kicking scenes and some getting-butt-kicked scenes, but there were only like...3. Things just didn't seem as intense or important in this book. I felt like the "hunting down the ghoul" part was the plot thread in the background and the "Cat's feelings about everything" plot thread was front and center.
-To continue with Cat's feelings- While it was interesting to see what happened with Cat's new abilities, I was pretty bored of hearing how amazing and freaky she was. Yes, we know, she's being hunted down because she's so weird... now what are you going to do about it?!
-This book felt like a weaker re-play of all the other books. Cat has some new discovery about herself, Cat and Bones have passionate vampy sex, somebody wants Cat (or someone Cat cares about) dead, a bloody battle ensues and Cat makes the bad man dead. That formula worked for the previous four, but it just didn't work in this book.
Now before you go calling me a hater... I still love the series. It's one of my favorites. But this book just didn't deliver, not for me. My suspicion is that my beloved JF has been putting all her efforts into the wicked-awesome World stories, and maybe didn't get to put as much time into This Side of the Grave as it needed.
All that said, I'm still a fan. I love her, I love her work, and I can't wait for the next Cat and Bones book.
3 out of 5 stars.
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