Kathy Davie's Reviews > This Side of the Grave

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
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's review
Jul 07, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, urban, romance
Read in July, 2011

Fifth in the Night Huntress urban fantasy series taking place in a contemporary America. A little bit Army and a little bit mercenary.

Cat picks up a new skill thanks to Bones' ruthless teaching methods as she suddenly understands his and Vlad's ruthlessness.

The Story
Apollyon continues to incite the ghoul masses with the threat of the vampires, led by that half-vampire freak, Catherine Crawfield, also known as the Red Reaper, enslaving all ghouls for eternity. The truth is that Apollyon has been chanting this same refrain for centuries in hopes of taking power and being in charge of everyone supernatural. At least we hope he'll stop with the supes.

His followers are killing, hard, all the Masterless vampires they can find reducing the possible troops that could fight back. Assassins coming after Cat and Bones. But the couple are hard on Apollyon's heels partly through the help of their ghostly friend, Fabian. And an unexpectedly violent meeting with Marie Laveau in New Orleans. Marie makes it plain that with her Master, Gregori, assassinated she no longer has any allegiances to vampires. She is Queen of her ghouls, Majestic is her name.

The Characters
Cat cracks me up with her unintended double entendres.

Timmie, um, I mean TIM, re-enters Cat's life in a most unexpected way. Surprisingly accepting of Cat's new status, well, new since he encountered Cat. Tim throws his lot in with Cat and Bones with his own side request.

Mom makes a startling new decision about her life and Don, unfortunately, has already made his choice about his own life while Tate seems to have finally arrived at the only reasonable conclusion.

Apollyon ramps up his ranting and the backstory on him sets Cat's teeth on edge while giving us a new perspective on 15th century saints.

Spade and Denise play a part in this adventure as well—part of the posse to take down Apollyon.

My Take
I've been noticing for the past couple of years the number of stories which reference real-life books as well as today's movies and music. Discovering what the various stories' characters like to watch/read/listen to provides insight into the characters not only into what their likes and dislikes are but also the author's reference points. Bringing some unexpected "legs" to the particular media with inspiration for we readers to explore our own culture more.

I do enjoy the twist authors take on historical personages or events giving us a new perspective…however unrealistic. Vlad comes across as so much more of a rounded person than one would expect. Based upon the usual treatment authors take on his character. As for the "true" reason behind Joan of Arc's immolation…eeek… Then there's the bit where Frost reminds us of how old Bones is when Cat thinks that "Bones had mastered the art of seduction before this country even elected its first president." It's one thing to know, intellectually, how old he is but to have an historical event to place just how long ago that was is a mind bender. And I thought it was pretty cool the things my grandparents had seen come into their lives!

Cat certainly takes a new approach to spying while setting up a whole new possibility of alliances. I'm curious as to whether Frost takes this possibility any further in the next story and just how long Cat retains her new powers…

The Cover
Looking at the cover with Cat wearing her red form-fitting min-dress atop a roof dressed with gargoyles and pigeons looking out over a city would make you think we were gonna spend some time in Paris…not. Between Apollyon's choice of venues, Marie Laveau's office location, and the status of vampires in general, This Side of the Grave as a title is scarily appropriate.
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