Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: This Side Of The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress, #5)With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally" —the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war... to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

After tackling a heavyweight such as The Book Thief I felt I needed something light to cleanse my reading pallette and another installment of Cat's adventures seemed perfect. From the very first book in the series I've enjoyed Frost's fast-paced storytelling and witty writing, and this book brought all that to the table.
There are several things I like about this series in general and this book in particular, aside from all the humor and scene-stealing secondary characters (Vlad Tepesh is awesome in this series). One is that while the characters are supernatural Frost puts bigger, society-spanning issues in the center of the story and by doing this makes them even more human than she already has by giving them some very human traits and problems - in the past she talked about slave trafficking and spousal abuse, here we have vamp vs. ghoul vs. ghost conflict akin to our racial and political tensions. It's like she's saying "people are the same everywhere, even the undead ones". And when they're not fighting each other and plotting against each other on the world stage they also have the same family and personal problems as we all do.
My other favorite part is Frost's creativity in pulling all sorts of historical facts and people into the story and making them part of it, and doing it very well. Vlad Tepesh aka Dracula made his entrance in the last book with excellent results, now we got a taste of another historical figure (and no, I'm not telling who), I can't wait to see who else will make an entrance in the next book.
Writing is a big part of any book and here Frost lost some points with me because of occasional strange word choice and repetitions of things she's already said (how many times do we need to hear that Bones used to be a gigolo in his human days? One mention per book is plenty, we got it, thanks). I do enjoy the narrative voice though, it's easy and keeps things moving and down to earth, and here it works with the story, which is always a plus.
What I couldn't shrug off as easily is the constant shagging. In graphic detail. Yes, I know people do that. No, I don't need to be holding the proverbial candle every single time they do it, especially if it's going to be that often. Which raises another question: do Cat and Bones really need to be that amourous to advance the plot? I do look forward to reading the next book, I just hope there are fewer bedroom scenes and more actual story.
All in all this is an entertaining and engaging read packed with adventure, laughs and great characters and if that's what you're looking for I think you won't be disappointed. And if you're a romance fan you'll love it even more.

My rating: 4

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