Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This Side of the Grave – The Night Huntress Series, Book 5

"A delicate balance stood centuries between vampires and ghouls. Along came the Red Reaper, who tipped that balance on little Cat feet."
Books:  Latest book in the series.
  1. Halfway to the Grave (2007)
  2. One Foot in the Grave (2008)
  3. At Grave's End  (2008)
  4. Destined for an Early Grave (2009)
  5. This Side of the Grave (2011) - 3 out of 5
AuthorJeaniene Frost  
Narrator:   Tavia Gilbert - 4 out of 5

Cat “Red Reaper” Crawfield was always special and she always hated it.  In Halfway to the Grave, we first meet Cat, a half-vampire (an offspring of a human woman and a vampire so recently turned his sperm still swims) who spent her college nights killing vampires for fun.  In One Foot in the Grave, Cat traded in her amateur status for a professional one, becoming a special agent secretly killing rogue vampires for the government.  At the end of Destined for an Early Grave, Cat hoped allowing her husband, master vampire Bones, to turn her into a full vampire would bring her into the fold, make peace, ease tensions.  How wrong she was.  Now, officially turned, Cat must hide an even bigger secret from the preternatural community.  The Red Reaper drinks blood.  Vampire blood.  And with that blood, she shares the powers of the most powerful among them.  In This Side of the Grave, Cat’s very existence tips the delicate balance of power between the vampires and ghouls.  Cat and Bones fight to take down a dangerous zealot before he incites a preternatural war.  

Forever and Always:
I can sum up the entire Night Huntress in this sentence: This is a love story. If you’re new to the series, go right for the first audiobook, Halfway to the Grave.  There Bones, the guy, clubs Cat, the girl, over the head and drags her to his cave where he chains her up, beats her up, and keeps her there until she learns to like him.  I’m not kidding. That’s a summary of the first few chapters and, my feminist sensibilities aside, it’s down-right romantic.

Enduring romance is something Jeaniene Frost does better than almost any author I can think of.  Most urban fantasy novels – heck, most any romance novels – center on the chase, the tension, the possibility, between the protagonist and the love interest actually coming together.  Rightfully so.  Think of The Nanny.  As long as there was the chase, there was a show.  Once the nanny became the wife, the show got canceled. In this series, marriage - however fanged - is the story.  Here, Cat and Bones hook up early and stay together.  See supra my caveman summary of the first book. It’s compelling, it’s possessive, and it’s immortal.  Oh, and it’s also pretty hot.  Jeaniene Frost knows how to write a sex scene, and Tavia Gilbert knows how to read one.  If you’re looking for a typical vampire love novel This Side of the Grave will not disappoint.  If you like your sex scenes with some fangs and a little blood, check out this audiobook after you’re done watching True Blood.

Other Comments:
I hate to say it, but there was something missing.  This Night Huntress book read more like one of the Night Huntress World books, the two spin-offs.  As I mention above, the love is there – it’s always there.  If that’s what you’re looking for, look no further.  But that’s not quite what I’m looking for.  I love this series for its suspense and action as well as for the romance.  In this book, there was a lack of real danger to anyone the listener cares about.  Cat & Bones must stop a war from happening, but no one the listener cares about is in danger of imminent death if they fail.  I know that a lot of vampires will die, and a lot of ghouls are getting hurt, but I don’t know these vampires, I don’t know these ghouls.  Overall, I enjoyed the story, but not quite as much as the earlier books in the series.

On Narration:
If you’ve never heard Tavia Gilbert read, you probably aren’t an avid audiobooks listener.  She has a young feminine voice that at-home for young adult novels.  Although this isn’t a YA novel, Tavia’s voice rings true for Cat.  Also, her Cockney accent is spot-on for Bones.  I mentioned already that she knows how to read a sex scene, and it bares repeating for an audiobook that is at times as graphic as this one.


  1. Wow, I can't believe how fast you listened and then had a review up!
    Great review as always. I think you are right in that the audience has to feel the fear of someone they know being killed or else it is hard to feel the danger.

    The Nighthunter world books seem more removed but I blamed that on the switch from first person to 3rd but maybe there is more going on. Iheard from a couple of people that bought the book that it was a slower read for them.

  2. I think the sentiments you wrote about here are pretty much how I've felt about these books ... I like the characters but I'm not really emotionally invested in what's happening (no heart-pounding from here).

    Love your blog. I found you via Book Blogs ... the "follow me" group so I'm now following. I'm also giving you a much deserved reward. It's highly personalized (I think you will like it). Because someone gave the award to me I felt inspired to seek your blog out and I'm being very selective. I have two blogs - you can collect your award from

    *I'll be back. Love your opinions as I've felt the same way.

  3. After five books I can say without a doubt that this author is not losing her touch, and blows most others out of the water. Cat and Bones are characters that readers can't get enough of. Their books promise readers lust, romance, and compassion that will keep them coming back for more.


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