A war is brewing . . . one that could potentially wreak havoc and destruction across the supernatural playing field.
Vampire VS. Ghoul
Undead VS Undead
And Cat is at the centre of it all. Her new vampiric powers are potentially all-consuming and powerful, and she has the ghoulish world running scared.
`This Side of the Grade' is the fifth book in Jeaniene Frost's `Night Huntress' series.
The new `Night Huntress' book is always a much-anticipated release. Fans salivate in anticipation of the new Cat and Bones instalment and countdown months, weeks and days until they can get their hands on this hot little paranormal. Unfortunately, I wasn't in love with this book.
It's really hard to pin-point precisely what didn't work for me, but I think it has to do with lack of romantic tension.
One of the great things about this series is the cemented romance between Cat and Bones. `Night Huntress' is unique for the fact that Frost put the `will-they-or-won't-they' technique to bed and gave fans an ongoing, committed relationship between her protagonists. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Cat and Bones being together and loved up. Heck, I have re-read Chapter 32 hundreds of times (who hasn't?) but I like it when there's tension between these two. I love it when Frost places a hurdle before their relationship - because even though Cat and Bones are together, and their love is the only sure thing in the `Night Huntress' series, I loves me some tension between them! In the past Cat and Bones have been torn apart by a secret government organization, Cat's jealousy over Annette and Gregor's obsession with Cat. But in `This Side of the Grave' Cat and Bones are (unfortunately) stable and in a good place, romantically. There's no real strain on their romance, no outside parties igniting jealousy or inner-demons inciting discontent. They're just happy. And that's great . . . but a little boring to read. I didn't even find Chapter 21 to be overly steamy, despite many a reviewer comparing it to 32 of `One Foot in the Grave'. I'm sorry; I just needed a little more spark between Cat and Bones; I would have appreciated an appearance from Annette, or more flirting from Tate. Anything!
A big focus in `This Side of the Grave' is on the changes Cat has undergone since being turned into a full vampire by Bones. Frost has written some very complicated changes for Cat to overcome and keep under wraps - to mention them would be to give away some big spoilers . . . suffice to say, these physical advancements will have a big impact on Cat and the entire trajectory of the series. I can't wait!
I appreciated reading some old fan favourites in this fifth book. Tate and Juan haven't really been a big presence for a few books now - but I was thrilled to read them come back into Cat's life. It was also nice to read a `guest-appearance' from Kira and Mencheres, fresh from their book `Eternal Kiss of Darkness'. I'm a big Mencheres fan, and I loved reading him being loved up and gushy! But best of all was Vlad. He has a fairly big role in this book, and some brilliant interactions with Cat. I think Frost is gearing up for her two Vlad spin-off books . . . and after reading his appearance in `This Side', I can't wait for Vlad to take centre stage! Of course, I still have my fingers crossed for Ian, Tate and Juan spin-off books too...
`This Side of the Grave' was an enjoyable (and much anticipated) `Night Huntress' addition. It wasn't my favourite, but I like where Frost has taken Cat's character and the reappearance of fan favourites to the storyline. I would have liked more romantic tension between Cat and Bones, to keep things spicy, but I realize that it's an odd complaint when the protagonist's cemented relationship is one of the big pluses of this series. Go figure.