Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: This Side of the Grave

This Side of the Grave
(Night Huntress series, #5)
by Jeaniene Frost

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Author's Website || Series List

Purchase Links:
Amazon || Kindle || Book Depository

(Win! 3.5 out of 5)
"Keep squirming, luv. Rubs me in all the right places, it does."
I am so not going to be popular after this review. Just thinking about writing it gave me insomnia last night. I had visions of an enraged horde of Frost fans wielding pitchforks and torches while chasing me through a darkened landscape. But I gotta be honest with my feelings. Question is… do you want the good news first or the bad news? Either way, I have a feeling I’m going to be donning my running shoes by the time I’m done. Just give me a head start, if you please.

Here goes…

Bad news first...
This Side of the Grave was kinda meh for me. It was a little slow in the beginning and never really picked up enough to take away my sense of boredom. While it was still entertaining at times, I didn’t like this book as much as the others in this series. It seemed a little contrived in areas and the plot was slightly disappointing. There were so many missed opportunities that Frost could have banked on but didn't. For instance, another reviewer thought she could have done more with Marie Laveau. I'd have to agree with her. That was definitely a missed opportunity. But maybe Frost is saving that for another book. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Also, her friend Denise's shapeshifting cameo? Could have done so much more with that as well. It was too brief and almost unnecessary.

[ ↓ Made up word]
Badder news next...
I was a little bored with Cat and Bones relationship this time. I don’t really know why. I think it was too sappy for me. I prefer it when they have conflict; enough to spice things up. Conflict allows for the build up of tension and tension adds to the heat of the love scenes. None of that was present. In the first book we had Cat hating vampires; book two we had Cat on the run from Bones; book three we had Tate's insistent plays for Cat; and book four we had Cat's first husband, Gregor, trying to steal her away in her dreams. This time around... nada. What does that say about me? I'm a difficult person I guess. If things get tepid, I get bored. [Note: I said tepid, not Tepish]

[ ↓ real word]
Worst news...
Now for the worst part... I had a problem with the “kinda infamous” chapter 21. I know I am in the minority, but it did absolutely nothing for me. Maybe it was too much explaining and not enough internal/external dialogue. Maybe I had a hard time connecting with it because of the POV. If it had been from Bones POV instead of Cats we would've had a more detailed perspective on how it was affecting him. It just felt clinical to me. Really, from my POV, chapter 21 was kind of a poser. I think it really wanted to be like Chapter 32. But there is absolutely no topping chapter 32. Frost is going to have to pull out the big guns to outdo her own masterpiece. Can she do it? I think so. I'm going to wait for it eagerly, because I don't feel Chapter 21 was a worthy competitor.

To be fair, I suspect my problem with the book might be based on the fact that I listened to the audio book. I've always found the narrator for this series a bit annoying; and narrators are a tricky thing. When she’s doing Bones' voice, she somehow manages to steal his masculinity; for me at least. I do think the audiobook version could be improved upon by having a male narrator read for all the male parts. My suggestion for this series would be James Marsters. I think he’d make a perfect Bones. I was a die hard Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and Bones character reminds me a little of Spike. Maybe I will give a go at a reread from my kindle and update my review later to see if that makes a difference.

The Good news:
What did I enjoy? I loved Vlad. I think he may actually be my favorite character right now. We definitely need more Tepesh! I'm ready for him to have his own book in the Night Huntress World series.
"What the hell was that?” I gasped.
“Premature inflamulation,” he replied. “Happens sometimes. Very embarrassing, I don’t like to talk about it."
There were some clever parts here and there that made me laugh. I liked the reintroduction of “Timmie!”... whose name I can’t say without saying it like the Timmie from South Park [Timmay!]. I was wondering if Frost was ever going to bring him back into the picture; I’m glad she did. I enjoyed the flirtations between Vertas and Ian, and the spark of a possible future sum-sum? It would be nice to see a spin-off on those two.

Then there was Winston Gallagher. Remember him? The panty poltergeist that gave Bones his first taste of jealousy where Cat is concerned? He made a brief cameo and I think I like where the series is going from the ghosty angle. I did like the ending. It was interesting, but I can’t say anything else about that without giving away spoilers.

Last, I’d like to put in a plea for poor Tate. Can’t this guy get a break? Can we get him somebody please? I always feel sorry for him. Am I the only one? I actually think Tate is full of hotness. He deserves someone that can master him just like Cat would if he'd won her heart.
So what’s the final verdict? It wasn't a complete win for me. But it was still entertaining and fun despite my nit-picking and whining. So I’m going to shelf this one on my “Win" shelf.

Something you may want to keep in mind: my opinions on This Side of the Grave are definitely in the minority; and I will always be a faithful Frost fan. You'll find me pacing the floor for the release of the next book with as much anticipation as the rest. The good news is we won't have a full year to wait like usual. The next one is due out August 2011. Woohoo!
ratingFiction Fool

Other Reviews:
Fiction Vixen: 4
Coffee Time Romance: 4
Demon Lovers Books & More: 4
Goodreads Reviews: 4.19 (avg rating)

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