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Cheat the Grave

(Signs of the Zodiac #5)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,016 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Return now to the battle between Shadow and Light being fought in the dark, unseen corners of “Sin City” Las Vegas. The fifth book in Vickie Petterson’s Zodiac series, Cheat the Grave follows newly mortal Joanna Archer on her most chilling adventure of all.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Harper Voyager (first published May 10th 2010)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,016 ratings  ·  141 reviews

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Tiffany Danner
May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010-reads
I have a confession, I am a VPeep, yes that’s right. I am a Vicki Pettersson fangirl. It’s partly because she is a Vegas girl and I love that connection in her stories, but also because she writes dark urban fantasy and I love it. She isn’t afraid to torture her characters or break the rules for the sake of the story. The last book in the series was shocking and turned the series upside down on its head. The main character, Joanna, was forever changed to the point that many thought the series wa ...more
The Flooze

Don’t you hate it when you’ve decided to drop a series…and then the author flings such crazy plot twists at you that you’re forced to say, “Ohhh, fine! I’ll read one more.”


That’s what Pettersson keeps doing to me.

In a welcome departure from the typical paranormal, Signs of the Zodiac is based on astrology and Tibetan myth. That’s point one in its favor. Point two is that it revolves around a group of superhero-type characters whose powers are reliant upon human belief.
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of urban fantasy
OMG! How long am I going to have to wait for book 6?? Torture!

So much happens in this book, crazy revelations and new mysteries to anticipate. After completely flooring me with the end of book 4 I was uncertain of how it would be possible to keep going with this series without coming up with a convenient plot device to give Jo her powers back. Well, Joanna learns how to keep fighting and embrace herself as she is and it's great. This book is so dark and sad in parts though. It's lacking the com
Regina De Los Reyes
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: complete-series
3.5 stars. The fifth installment in the Signs of the Zodiac series was an enjoyable adventure. Jo Archer was kicked out of the troop last book for saving a Changeling, she lost all of her powers and is now a mortal. Her former friends and lover have turned their backs on her but she finds that that life is not behind her. The Tulpa is still around hell bent on revenge and destruction, a homicidal maniac is after her from MidHeaven and she meets a band of Grays who were once lights and darks and ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it
PLEASE NOTE: This review will contain spoilers from the earlier books in the series.

I know a lot of people were quite disappointed with the direction this series has taken in recent installments, particularly with the loss of Joanna's powers.* I understand where they're coming from, but I withheld judgment until I could see where Pettersson was going. For me, the greatest strength of the series has always been its originality, specifically that it shied away both from paranormal staples such as
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
4&1/2 out of 5 stars!

*Contain spoilers, if you haven’t read the previous books in the series!

There are some series that just catch you by surprise and before you know it, you are in love, counting the days for the next installment and trolling any site or forum that discusses it.

That was what happened for me when I started reading The Sign of the Zodiac series by Vicki Pettersson. I found out about it by chance and one book in, I was hooked for good and I don’t want to let it go.

Joanna has b
Nov 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was so thrilled to receive this book s an ARC and I HAD to start it ASAP. After reading the first few pages I started to remember all the things that happened in the last book. I think this is one of the saddest urban fantasies I ever read. I'm not such a Urban Fantasy addict so that probably doesn't say much or it could be because I'm feeling Joanna's pain like my own. Ms. Pettersson really knows how to make her heroine believable.

I loved that Jo is not perfect- she has flaws but I like her,
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Hunter Becomes the Hunted!
I strongly recommend you read the previous books in the series (The Scent of Shadows The First Sign of the Zodiac, The Taste of Night The Second Sign of the Zodiac, The Touch Of Twilight, The Third Sign of the Zodiac and City of Souls and check-out from the library, the short story "the Harvest" in the Holidays Are Hell anthology) prior to reading this book.

It's nice to take a break from the usual vamps and demons and to curl up with a book that is one of the most c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Brummell
Jun 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, super-heroes, uf
I had a tough time with this book which is unusual for me with this series. I feel for Jo and what has happened to her. Along the way she has learned so much about herself, her heritage, and her place in the world. But it seems like whatever semi good thing that happens in her life she is destined to loose, this time around she is dealing with her loss of identity and the loss of the new family she created for herself within the troop.

I find the troop to be very fickle, if you can't live up to
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-baby
Re read 28/01/19
And here we have a number of unveilings, plot twists and turns and a good ole smack on with Warren (finally). Here, we also have the introduction of the Grays, a newish kinda troop. Joanna has no powers left save her human ability to fight, her wit and her brain. This is where she starts to step up and actually develop heroic attributes. Before she would just whinge. This Joanna works better for me.

So on a re read I'll leave this at 4 stars.

Original review.
Powers gone, whoosh, a
Jess F. (From Me to You ... Book Reviews)
"4 out of 5 stars! Okay ... yes I skipped over 3 books in this series to read this one and I am happy I did so, especially because it was written in a way that I didn't really need to read the others (unless of course I want to know exactly what happened), since this book could probably stand alone in the way it describes all that has happened to her in recent events. But I liked..."

Read more of this review and a TEASER here:
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like Vicki Pettersson, and I think I like her more as the series goes on. Her character shows growth and change, she's strong and interesting, and the evolution of her powers and the different relationships keeps things interesting, as does the addition of different dimensions and worlds. She's not afraid to kill characters off, either. I think this is a pretty underappreciated series if you like urban fantasy with strong female leads.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some authors seem to loose their touch the further into the series they go. Not true of this lady! She threw in the most beautiful plot twist semi near the end of this book. Oh, it was glorious! To say anything would give it away. Suffice to say that her books get better as the series goes, which is a nice change.
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
If I hadn’t invested so much time in this series I would stop now. Mind blowing how so many people like this series.
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I discovered among my sister’s borrowed books Vicki Pettersson. I love reading new authors but more than that- I love originality. I found that in the Zodiac Series. From the world building to the writing to the super hero soldiers themselves, it all reeked of originality. I was hooked from book one, page one, hell sentence one. Naturally, after finishing the series thus far, I felt compelled to review. So here it is.

The Signs of the Zodiac Series by Vicki Pettersson

“Before you plan your next
Gwen Mitchell
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, urban-fantasy
Joanna Archer has sacrificed her powers to save the life of a child and embraced her newfound mortality. Banished from her troop of zodiac warriors, she finds herself surrounded by enemies with only her alias of Olivia Archer to fall back on. But the prophecies that surround Joanna haven't disappeared with her powers, and she finds herself pursued by an insane and unstoppable killer in a world where black and white have blended into shades of grey. Only those she once saw as foes may be able to ...more
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2010
Joanna Archer is now totally mortal, neither Light nor Shadow but an independent Gray who finds new allies in the most unlikely way imaginable who restore her faith in herself as well as come to her aid in this her time of greatest need...
After the year long break between book 4 City of Souls and Cheat The Grave it was nice to return to the adventures of Joanna Archer. This book was darker, more emotional and absolutely worth the years wait as once the "action" got underway there were so many th
Fangs for the Fantasy
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I have been struggling with this series. It started off wonderfully engaging, with a world that was absolutely unique in urban fantasy, and then somewhere along the way, it seemed to lose focus, that is until Cheat the Grave. This book reminded me of why I fell in love with the Zodiac books to begin with.

Now that Joanna/Olivia is mortal, the forces of light see her as useless, and to make matters worse, Solange has sent Mackie the piano player from Midheaven to kill her. If the Tul
Jan 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Las Vegas socialite and otherwordly avenger Joanna (Olivia) Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality—abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies and her enemies have nothing to fear.

Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail—an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who's determined to rip much mo
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, read-2014
After the outrageous events of City of Souls, I had no idea what would happen next in Cheat the Grave! It picks up ten weeks later, and Joanna is still learning how to be mortal. Everything can hurt her again, and her super senses no longer work, so she's been a bit paranoid as she helps Suzanna with her wedding preparations. When someone from her past attacks the bachelorette party, Joanna knows she's going to need some new allies in order to survive. Her ex-troop isn't allowed to give her any ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
A little less action, but a hell of a lot of satisfaction!

Actual review is a little farther down.

If you have not yet read the short stories that go along with the rest of the Signs of the Zodiac series, I highly recommend you do so before reading Cheat the Grave. I didn't know they existed until after I finished, but now that I have read them I really wish I would have gotten to them first.

The shorts are not completely necessary to the main story but they're certainly relevant, and go a long way
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
After the last book in this series "City of Souls" we were all wondering where Pettersson was going to take the story of her power-stripped heroine. Well in this book she takes us in a new direction; it was pretty well done and made for a good addition to the series.

Joanna Archer gave up all of her superpowers to save a child and her home city of Las Vegas. She's been abandoned by the Agents of Light and the only ones who have stood beside her are her (Olivia's) best friend Cher and Cher's mothe
Apr 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I don't know if I'm just falling out of love with the series, or what...but there's something chaotic and undisciplined about it that I can't seem to let go any longer. The mad blur of action that doesn't really accomplish anything and the sense that we're all running around in the dark and never getting particularly enlightened just shouldn't still be so predominant by a fifth book in a series. That said, I actually quite enjoyed Joanna hooking up with the rogues, and the way they instantly sta ...more
Dec 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unexpected reveal that makes me want to go back and re-read the previous installments.

Haven't liked Warren for awhile but this installment makes me hope he is sentenced to a fate worse than death.

The 6th sign of the Zodiac has yet to be revealed.

(view spoiler)
Scooper Speaks
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Favorite Lines: “But I took a moment before boarding the bus to look over the city I’d once fought to protect, alongside a bunch of supernatural beings I thought were my friends.

Fuck you–whoever you are–for being an armchair superhero, and standing on the sidelines while I shoulder this mortality. Fuck you for accepting the sacrifices I made for your world and then throwing me away like the trash. Fuck you for bottling your power like it’s your personal supernatural bong while I emptied mine out
Heather Book Savvy Babe
Going into this book, I was a little nervous. I am unfamiliar with the series, and this book is the fifth book in the series. Needless to say, I did not have any idea what the back story was when I began reading. While this did cause some gaps in the story while reading, I was fully able to catch up with the story, and I wasn’t lost or confused.

Cheat the Grave centers on Joanna Archer, former superhero and member of the light. After losing her power and becoming mortal, she is abandoned and livi
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
I have recommended the Zodiac series to anyone who will listen, and all who like paranormal fiction or urban fantasy. Or just anything fantastical, period. And I never thought I would say this, but I'm hoping that the series will wrap in the next few books.

The first three books were wonderful, but have taken on a totally different feel with "City of Souls" and now "Cheat the Grave". In "Cheat the Grave", Joanna Archer, formerly the Light's savior, must learn how to live as a mortal. After giving
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Vicki Pettersson is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, most set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll ever consider that glittering dustbowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas,Texas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).

Her most recent release is SWERVE, aptly titled as it's both a chase boo

Other books in the series

Signs of the Zodiac (6 books)
  • The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1)
  • The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, #2)
  • The Touch of Twilight (Signs of the Zodiac, #3)
  • City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac, #4)
  • The Neon Graveyard (Signs of the Zodiac, #6)
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