Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
A quick word of caution: We’re going to reference events in earlier books. If you haven’t read earlier Night Huntress novels, there will be spoilers ahead.
Sometimes you run into an old friend at the mall to suddenly realize just how much you missed seeing them in your daily life. That’s how I feel about Cat and Bones, the lead couple in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series.
It’s not like I didn’t know how much I love Frost’s sharp, often laugh-out-loud funny writing. Or how much I enjoy the feminine strength Cat exudes and the protective roughness of Bones. Nope, I just didn’t realize how ready I was for more of it until I started reading This Side of the Grave.
All the strong features of the Night Huntress series are prominent in this fifth installment. Cat and Bones are happily married, but dealing with the societal fallout of Cat’s transition to full vampire. One of the ghoul leaders is trying to use her as a rallying point to ignite war between the ghouls and vampires. In the meantime, he has ghouls taking out the weak and master-less vampires throughout the country.
The list of reasons I enjoy reading Frost’s writing is long and spans from her stellar world-building to her defined and endearing characters to her ability to pepper in humor amid death and darkness. The last was particularly strong in This Side of the Grave.
Example: Cat and Bones are meeting with a human who has become aware of the existence of vampires. Here’s a quick little exchange I’m sure you can appreciate:
Timmie gave Bones and me a speculative glance. “Before we go, I gotta know: If mind-reading abilities are real, there’s something else I wondered if fiction got right about vampires–”
“Ask me if I sparkle and I’ll kill you where you stand,” Bones cut him off with utmost seriousness.
We’ll spare you the spoiler-y details, but we’ll hint. With This Side of the Grave you may expect a curious encounter with a ghoul queen, an exciting reaction to new powers for Cat, lots of the undead, a bit of family drama and requisite time with Cat, Bones, Vlad and Mencheres.
In other words, drama, mayhem and vampires. All the things you’ve come to love from Night Huntress novels.