Destined For An Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4) Mass Market Paperback – Jul 28 2009
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About the Author
Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series and the Night Huntress World novels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to nineteen different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling—by car. Airplanes, children, and cookbooks frighten her.
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Destined For an Early Grave begins with Cat and Bones going on a much needed vacation. Cat wants to go to Paris for no reason that she can think of. Bones is all for it because he wants to give his lady love and vampire wife the world. Off they go not expecting an adventure that may ruin their whole foundation of devotion and trust. Cat shares her heart and body with Bones but won't allow him access into her mind and deepest thoughts. Bones feels hurt even though he knows the Cat has problems with letting others get too close to her. I really do wish these two would go through some marriage counseling. And they are going to need some major counseling after they finish with Gregor.
Gregor wants Cat. A few weeks before Cat and Bones met at the bar she was taken by Gregor to Paris. Gregor tried to gain the trust of the fragile sixteen year old Cat, seduce her and marry her because he knew what Cat would be capable of in the years to come. Cat doesn't remember Gregor at all because Bones, grandsire Mencheres was able to erase Cat's memories of her time with Gregor. Mencheres also knows how important Cat is because he can see the future. He made sure Cat and Bones met. Mencheres manipulated their relationship but let nature takes it course. Now Gregor is invading Cat's dreams. Gregor is a dream snatcher and can grab people from their dreams. He is trying to take Cat away from Bones because he believes that Cat is his wife.
Cat knows her heart belongs to Bones, but she needs her memories back. Bones is scared and doesn't want Cat anywhere near Gregor. What if Cat regains her memories and wants to be with Gregor instead? Both Cat and Bones are walking around egg shells with one another. Cat wants to confront Gregor and the issue head on. Bones wants to place Cat in a protective bubble and kill Gregor himself. And when Cat goes off and deals with Gregor even after Bones tells her not to, he is fed up. What happens after that will have you clutching the book and gasping because the thought of Bones and Cat not being together is horrible.
Not only does Destined For an Early Grave give the reader more insight on the vampire culture Jeaniene has created, but this is where she shows how important friends and family are. Bones and Cat's support system is wonderful. There are many times that Bones and Cat annoyed me to the point I wanted to smack them because they are just too stubborn to listen to one another. But to circumvent this, there are a few other characters that have grown on me. They keep things in perspective and lighthearted. Jeaniene has written a great group of male figures. Bones will always be first in my eyes but now I am total fan girl of Spade, Ian and even Vlad. At first I felt Vlad was a bad rip off of the whole Dracula myth but Jeaniene really makes Vlad shine here. Menecheres is the voice of reason even though he is a manipulative bastard half the time. We also get a different side to Cat's mother, Justina. She can be a harpy but something shocking happens that may change your mind about her.
The tension is very thick in Destined For An Early Grave but there are moments where the laughs come out. Jeaniene is a near genius at dialogue. The snarky one-liners are all over the place. I couldn't stop chuckling and shaking my head at the same time because they are so good and will make you blush. Not only are some pieces of the dialogue shocking in nature, but Jeaniene keeps thing lively with the vampire fighting and death. Some of the characters may not make it in the end and you will have no idea who will be alive at the end. Jeaniene does keep you guessing.
Destined For An Early Grave was a very enjoyable and fun read. Those who are fans of this series will be very happy with the results especially that of Cat and how she resolves her issues with her vampire heritage and her feelings for Bones.
In a world where there's so much to read and so little time, I've reread "Halfway to the Grave" at least three times since I got my kindle 2 back in March of 09. It's the characters! They're so compelling.
Bones is my favorite male lead of any romance series I've ever read. He's beautiful, he's badass, he's got a great sense of humor, and he's emotionally balanced.
Cat is also a compelling heroine. In the first three books, she's hard-nosed, courageous, and vulnerable, but she's also afraid of her feelings and judgmental. I liked that, misguided as she is sometimes, she loves Bones so much that she's willing to sacrifice her own happiness for his safety.
The plots of the first three books are great, but it's this dynamic between Kat and Bones that keeps me coming back over and over.
Which, of course, is why I was horribly disappointed to find it missing entirely from this book until the very end. Cat spent the entire book guzzling gin and stuffing her face full of ice cream. She was wenchy and whiny and stupidly headstrong. Where was my stubborn and courageous heroine? Why did she spend nearly no time kicking vampire booty? Why did she turn from the Reaper into a rumpled house frau, sucking down gin while suspecting her hubby of humping around on her? (I solemnly promise never to use the word hump ever again.)
And Bones? Why did he turn from a lovely, emotionally-centered vampire into a neanderthal? He spent the entire book keeping Cat at a distance, either emotionally or physically or both.
The final nail in the coffin (har) was that this book had several instances of "Easily Preventable Angst." You know, the kind where all bad feelings could be resolved if they, you know, acted like a couple and TALKED to each other?
I enjoyed the final quarter of this book which is why I gave it 3/5 stars. I still love the Night Huntress books, and I still firmly believe that Jeaniene Frost has massive talent. But I think this is just a weak entry in the series. I have every confidence that she'll come roaring back with a kickass fifth book. And I'll admit here and now that I'm pee-my-pants excited for the spinoff she's got planned.
So, Jeaniene! Sorry for the less than stellar review, but you're still one of my faves! You keep writing, I'll keep buying and reading.
Luckily for fans of the series, the book gets better. Trust me on this. If you can make it to Chapter 20, you will be rewarded with quick-paced action, unexpected surprises, and valiant fights against insurmountable odds. There is even a little make-up sex (although it doesn't compare to previous efforts). Cat develops as a character and sets the stage for - I hope - a much better follow-up book.
I would rate the first third of the book a 3 ½, the middle a 2, and the end a 4 ½. Stick with the book and the series. I am confident Cat and Bones still have a few good adventures left in them.
Any regular follow of this blog can tell you that I LOVED the first three books in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. I devoured them all in as many days and enjoyed them so much that I hosted a contest to give the series away to one lucky reader. When people have asked for recommendations of a fun, non-sparkly vampire series to read I've happily offered up the story of Bones and Cat for them. So when Destined for an Early Grave was released in July you can assure yourself that I rushed right out to buy it. And then despite numerous attempts to start it I'd only read a few pages before losing interest and putting it down. This saddened me because I had such high hopes for it.
I recently picked it up again and while I managed to read it to the end a part of me almost wishes that I hadn't. This book had stilted dialogue, poor editing (as in it seems vital transition scenes were axed making some things flow badly), and a plot that was drawn out way to long. One example of the poor transition editing comes on page 212 when Cat is heading up a rescue mission to get Bones out of New Orleans the scene reads as follows:
"On-screen, I saw [Geri] nearing Bones. He was at Pat O'Brien's, in the outside area, drinking what I guessed was his usual whiskey. His arm was slung around a pretty brunette, who was almost glued to him. Even now, her hand ran along his hip. I clenched my fists. B***h, you and I are going to have a long, bloody chat after this. Canelle couldn't hear my mental warning..."
Now I use this scene because now where leading up to Cat naming Canelle does she give any indication that she recognized who the girl with Bones was (Canelle is someone from Cat's past). It just made me pause and go, huh? Where did she come from. It just seemed like there should have been something more. Not a lot, but something.
I also found Destined for an Early Grave to be highly repetitive with a lot of random scenes that had no point. Like in the beginning when Cat and Bones first travel to New Orleans. Cat mentions she has no clean clothes so changes into a robe with nothing underneath and sits an seethes because Bones left her for a meeting. When Bones returns their conversation starts off pleasantly but then out of nowhere the two just start having a knock down drag out fight. It was one of may WTF is going on here moments that populated this read. Anywho during the fight it is mentioned that Cat's robe starts to come undone her naked breasts spilling out for all in the room to see. Things continue a few paragraphs more and then Bones and Cat start to make up and Bones runs his hand up her thigh meeting little resistance as she is wearing nothing under her robe because she hadn't had time to change. Um....yeah....thank you Captain Obvious for making it known that Cat was pretty much naked the entire time. I didn't quite get it so I appreciated the constant reminder to her lack of dress.
I also got so annoyed at the double standards that both Cat and Bones had for the other. Bones would get all upset that Cat was 'trying to protect him and treating him like a weakling' when she'd try and stop Gregor from interfering with their lives. So much so that he got all huffy said they were done and stormed out cutting off all communication. THIS from the man who built an entire panic room/cell in a safe house and tossed Cat into it, locking her in - for her own safety because she could be hurt - when there was a ghoul attack. Cat isn't human, she is half vampire and filled with a whole lot of kick ass. It just didn't make sense. Nor did it ring true since the two had fought side by side in every previous book.
Another example of the poor transitioning also came from the end when all of a sudden it was just a fact that Cat would turn into a vampire. There were a couple of instances in which she'd be chatting to one of the other vampires in the story and then the topic would just switch to something like 'so when are you going to tell Bones that you decided to turn?' They dialogue in those scenes was just so stilted and didn't really ring true. There were so many conversions that occurred throughout the book that I just couldn't imagine taking place. That's just how awkward they were.
I don't know maybe I just expected too much from Destined for an Early Grave but it was just a struggle to get through. I persisted only because of my love for the previous books in the series that I was sure that it would get better. Only it didn't. Now I wonder if I'll even bother to check out the next Cat/Bones tale (because after what Frost did to Cat's mother you know there will be another book) or the spin-off series that Frost has recently started. I also can't in good faith recommend this book to any of my readers. If you like Jeaniene Frost, please, I beg you stop after book 3 - At Grave's End - do not read this book. And if you are new to Frost I do still highly recommend the first three in the series. Just know that you might want to skip this one.
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
Spoilers be everywhere in this one.
I have had some irritation with this series in the previous books, but nothing even close to how pissed off this book made me. Was there even a point to this mess? Because I didn't really see one.
The missing memories courtesy of Mencheres seemed to come out of nowhere. When previously unknown events, that are a secret to all but one, pop up it doesn't seem clever, it just seems like the author pulled it out of her ass. Also, the fact that these events centered around another vampire who just happened to have a previous husband claim which conveniently led to tension between Cat and Bones... You see what I mean? Where did that come from?
The relationship between Cat and Bones hit the skids big time here. I read this book with a huge knot in my stomach. It wasn't a nervous-but-excited-to-see-where-this-is-going knot. It was the kind of knot you get when you hear your parents having fight. You feel sick and wish it would just stop.
Unfortunately, it doesn't stop. For about 3/4 of the book they snipe at each other and say horrible things. Cat also continues to fix any of her problems with a Gin and Tonic. It really seemed like they weren't the same characters anymore. If I didn't know it was the same series I wouldn't even recognize them. All the caring and love that characterized their relationship before seemed to morph into a weapon to club each other into misery with. It wasn't fun to read about. I don't enjoy watching characters treat each other this way and spew out these things they can never take back. For Gods sake, Bones had the nerve to question her commitment to their marriage because she wanted to know the truth of her marriage! (total jerk move by the way) Does that seem like the Bones from the last book? It sure doesn't to me!
Vlad was the shining star of this story. When is he getting his own book? He is a great friend to Cat. I love that he pushes her about her feelings about Bones. That's what real friends do. They push you until you finally admit the truth. I felt so bad for him when he admitted that he missed sleeping with someone. Sleeping alone is one of the hardest things to get used to.
Mencheres also played a part in this one, obviously. He didn't stand out much, but one thing did catch my attention. When and why did he lose his ability to see the future?
Regarding Bones and Cat: There was no "right" person in their fights and separation. I felt more sympathy for Bones, but mostly because Cat burned through any sympathy I had for her in the last book with her handling of the Tate situation. That doesn't mean Bones was justified though. I do think the rant he blasts her with before he leaves is completely justified. I've been dying to say that to her for a few books now. But, Bones shouldn't have deliberately let Cat be hurt by her false assumptions. He knew exactly what she would think and he just let it happen.
The whole point of the book seems to be to provide an extremely complicated set up to compel Cat to finally become a vampire. I can't help but think there was an easier (and more likable) way for the author to go about this. I find Cat's differences as a vampire intriguing, although I feel bad that she still can't be just one of the masses.
As of this moment I do not plan to read anymore of the books following Cat and Bones. I do still plan to read the spin offs, but I just can't handle the mess they have made of their relationship anymore. I should have stopped reading at book 2.
One last thing: How lame to be stuck with Justina for all eternity.