Friday, 18 January 2013

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

At Grave's End (2009)
Jeaniene Frost
Grade: B
Genre: paranormal romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
Night Huntress series: (1) Halfway to the Grave, (2) One Foot in the Grave, (3) At Grave's End 

With the man that she loves by her side and doing a job she loves, Cat Crawford (aka the Red Reaper) should be in heaven, but not everyone wants her blissful happiness to last. When Bones’ grandsire Mencheres invites him to do a power-sharing, people-sharing bonanza, that’s the first sign that shit is about to hit the fan.

As if Cat didn’t have enough going wrong in her life already: she’s been recognised for the third time in a row whilst on a job, thus putting innocent civilians at risk; Tate, her second-in-command, just won’t stop coming-on to her despite the fact that he knows that she isn’t interested and Bones might just rip his head off; oh, and Cat’s vampire father is back in town. Add a certain Egyptian vampire called Patra into the mix, and Cat’s got a recipe for potential disaster …

Patra wants Cat dead. If Patra were just your regular vamp, she could just be tacked onto the very long queue of people who want to kill the Red Reaper for some reason or other, but Patra has a personal vendetta against Cat and it’s not even for something that Cat’s actually done! Talk about rude! Patra is almost as old as Mencheres himself and has taught herself witchcraft against vampire rules. With such power and determination on her side, Cat, Bones and their supporters must find Patra and stop her before she does some real damage that can’t be undone …

I liked this a lot better than the first two books, I think because I’ve had the chance to get more invested in the characters. Halfway to the Grave and One Foot in the Grave introduced us to Cat and Bones, their break-up and get-back-together. Now that they’re back with each other for good, the story is able to take a much more prominent role and I do love the story in At Grave’s End.

That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing about the romance/relationship – on the contrary it just gets spicier with a love triangle as below. The pair still have their ups and downs and it’s fantastic. Bones is this two-hundred-year old vampire with a huge protective streak, but because Cat is as strong and a leader in her own right, Bones isn’t as alpha-dominating and protective as some of the vampire heroes you get elsewhere in the genre and that’s one of the things that I like about this series.

The sort-of love triangle between Cat, Bones and Tate was entertaining, but there was no doubt that Tate’s efforts were going to end in disappointment for him. Cat and Bones are much too devoted to each other to even consider the possibility of either of them being unfaithful, but it was fun to watch Tate try and his tenacity is to be commended. The limo scene was brilliant and the make-up sex after even better. If that doesn’t lure you to go and read the book, then I don’t know what will.

Bones is awesomely British. There are times when I forget, but then Ms Frost has him say something that you would only ever hear coming out from a true Brit’s mouth. The only word/phrase I can remember off the top of my head is “wanker” but there are plenty more, equally that are equally crude and rude. That word itself reminds me of Buffy’s Spike who is also another great example of a British vampire.

Dracula was awesome. Yes, he’s an over-commercialised figure in myth as well as all the other insults tossed his way during the novel, but it was just really cool to see how Ms Frost treated him as a character. I adore Dracula in Buffy and Ms Frost’s version was almost just as cool. Not quite, but he has an important role to play in a particular phase of the book where Cat is lacking motivation and he helps her put things in perspective. Love that scene.

There were some pretty gruesome scenes. I pride myself in being very un-squeamish and am a big fan of blood/gore/body-parts etc and whatever else is thrown in for authenticity, but I did find myself wincing at some of the things I read. Thus, I have huge respect to Ms Frost for being imaginative enough to disgust me. It’s a good thing that Cat is half-vampire, otherwise she would have been dead eons ago from some of the trials she puts her body through.

I'm glad I've continued with the series because this is the first that I've properly enjoyed without anything major to nit-pick about. I've got another three books left and there's two books currently pending with a few spin-offs too, so I'm in no shortage of Night Huntress reading material. I just hope that the series only gets better and better.

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction.

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