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Book pick: ‘This Side of the Grave’ fun in parts but missing spark! March 8, 2011

Posted by Diana McCabe in Reviews/summaries.
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Longtime fans of Jeaniene Frost’s Cat & Bones series will want to read THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE, but it’s not the snappy, fast-paced story we’ve been treated to before.

In fact, I found it hard to get into the first few chapters. We knew what the storyline was  one based on the last novel: The ghouls are itching for a war against the vampires, and Cat is the flash point because of the unusual abilities she’s gained. She and Bones head back to New Orleans to meet with Marie Laveau, who juices Cat up with some of her black magic mojo  — and boy are there some interesting results —  and then — well — the gang tries to stop the war from occurring.

Sounds good, but on the whole, you just never get the sense of doom like in the previous stories. There also is a serious lack of tension between Cat and Bones. No danger. No anger. Very little lust. That much-talked about Chapter 21 wasn’t anything  like Chapter 32 of ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE, although I get what Frost was trying to do. Frankly, I was so distracted by  how the wax was manipulated that the atmosphere Frost was trying to create — and she usually does these scenes very well — was totally missing for me. To be fair — the previous novels have featured all kinds of obstacles between Cat and Bones. I guess it might be kind of hard to keep upping the ante in the couple’s relationship. Even Cat makes a remark about how their relationship has settled.

Also, I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read the book yet, but the historical reference to the other half-vamp — made me roll my eyes. Yes, it’s part of the back story but it just seemed — well — almost funny to me that Frost would pick this person.

However, parts of THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE were fun  and interesting, and I just wish we’d had more of that. The scenes between Vlad and Cat are good. You can’t help but wonder how Frost will write his story — and she is planning a couple of books about him. The storyline with Don is fascinating and I can’t wait to see how that develops. We also get to see Tate, Juan,  Mencheres and Kira, and Denise and Spade, too. But it just wasn’t enough to really keep me riveted as I usually am with Frost’s stories.

That said, most fans will happily soldier through book No. 5 and get to the good nuggets in the story — and that will be enough to keep them wondering about the next book in the series. I still think that this one feels like  a “bridge” book —  that there’s something more coming — and this was a story to keep everything glued together. And I’m OK with that because I like the overall series.

Other reviews of THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE:


1. Diana McCabe - March 8, 2011

Anyone else give this a read? What did you think?


2. pawsitivelife - March 8, 2011

I read all of the Cat and Bones (except this one). I recently read the spin off “Drop of Crimson) (i think it was called that and I liked it. I didnt realize there was a new book out. Must….go…buy

Diana McCabe - March 8, 2011

Yes — I liked “First Drop of Crimson.” And the book after that is “Eternal Kiss of Darkness.” Both good spinoffs! Can’t wait until she tells Vlad’s story. And yes — latest Cat & Bones book came out last month! You’ll have to let me know what you think of it.


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