Title: This Side of the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Avon, An Imprint of Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Print ISBN: 978-0061783180
eBook ISBN: 978-0062065797
Length: 384 Pages
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. …to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.
Cat Crawfield and "Bones" Russell continue to be one of my favorite paranormal/urban fantasy couples, they are smart, hip and just so much fun. Once again I found myself drawn into the world created by Jeaniene Frost, which I didn't want to leave when this installment was over.
Cat has been through a lot since the start of this series. Having survived the showdown with "Gregor", she and Bones have been rounding up the remaining troublemakers. When Cat and Bones discover that master less vampires in Ohio, where Cat is originally from, they have no choice but to investigate. They are not surprised to discover that their nemesis is one of the troublemakers that they have been searching for and that he is using Cat's new abilities as a reason for preaching anti-vampire rhetoric and stirring trouble between ghouls and vampires in an attempt to start a supernatural war. I feel that Cat's character continues to grow in each book, she's had to let go of her "vampire prejudice" and now is having to learn to judge each supernatural creature on it's own merit. Cat is also learning to control her emotions better and her love for Bones continues to grow. She's also learning more about friendship and working on her other relationships, though she still has a quick temper.
Bones continues to be an incredibly important character in the series, both as Cat's love interest and as a Master Vampire. It's really nice to see Bones concerned for Cat's welfare and support her. He's still very territorial about Cat being his wife and with his mind reading abilities, this proves to be very dangerous for anyone who has inappropriate thoughts about her.
The scenes between Cat and Bones are very well written and I especially liked that Cat is working on her "impulsive" behavior and thinks before she leaps into action. We get to see quite a few of my favorite secondary characters including Mencheres, Bone's grand sire, who is becoming very important to the series. We also get to see Denise and Spade, Cat and Bone's best friends. I really liked what Ms. Frost is doing with these two characters, especially with Denise's growth in self confidence. Vlad makes another appearance, and is becoming one of my favorite supporting characters, I find him highly amusing.
The villain is someone we met in This Side of the Grave: A Night Huntress Novel and without giving spoilers, I won't say who he is but I will say that he is definitely a thorn in Cat's side and that his behavior will force Cat to re-evaluate how she deals with their enemies in the future. The ghoul queen of New Orleans, Marie Lavou or "Majestic", makes another appearance in this book and though she is not portrayed as a villain, she is somewhat of a gray character. When she forces Cat to do something she's not comfortable with, and which results in a new and unusual power for Cat, I did begin to wonder about her ultimate motivation.
The ending was perfect for this story and left both Cat and Bones in a good place. There are still a lot of unresolved issues in the supernatural world and there are more changes coming in the future. It will be interesting to see where Ms. Frost takes us next in this complex and highly interesting world that she's created. Due to the nature of this particular series, I do continue to recommend that the books be read in order.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: The book reviewed was purchased for review.