Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Paranormal Romance: At Grave's End by Jeanine Frost

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover has finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bone's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vampire, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she has learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself and Bones from a fate worse than the grave.

At Grave's End is book #3 of the Night Huntress Series of books. It is a complicated story that was a little hard to get started as I had not read the first two books in the series. However, to the author's credit, she brought enough background information into the narrative that I caught up surprisingly well and felt that I was current in understanding the main characters and their relationships with one another. The heroine is a vampire "half-ling" whose mother was a human and whose father was a very young vampire who had not yet lost completely the ability to pro-create. Taught by her mother that vampires are demons (her mother harbored a relentless hatred of Catherine's vampire-father Max) "Cat" as she was called, became the leader of a group of vampire hunters sanctioned and financially supported by the U. S. Government. She is known in the vampire community as The Red Reaper because of her red hair. She is in love with and has been mated with a 250-year-old vampire named Crispin but who has adopted the nickname "Bones." Because she is a halfling she has many of the extraordinary powers that vampires have -- greater sensory perception, greater physical strength, greater speed. However, as the promo states, she has to decide whether she will embrace her human or her vampire half in the face of challenges she has not encountered previously. Cat's group include both vampires and humans, one of whom hates Bones with a passion because he is also in love with Cat. The presence of Tate is a continuing source of tension between himself and Bones and is constantly putting pressure on what is a genuine friendship with Cat. But she and Bones have been "married" vampire style so thus both are off-limits to other vampires and to invade that relationship in any was is grounds for severe punishment and death. Tate has never been able to accept Cat's and Bones' exclusive relationship and the pressure continues throughout the book.

This is a very readable novel but it is populated with lots of persons who move in and out of the story. I found it hard, at times, to keep them all straight. Having not read the first two books, perhaps that accounts for my sometimes confusion, but I wasn't sure that all those vampires with really strange names were necessary. There are twists and turns, conflict between Bones and Cat's mother and the human who is in love with Cat; there are two occasions when humans willingly submit to transformation from human to vampire, mostly for professional reasons--better and more powerful while fighting vampires who destroy or misuse humans. The author expands Bones' power base and there are instances when friends become temporary adversaries and when old enemies make peace. There's lots going on all the time. The latter chapters contain some plot surprises I didn't see coming. That's always a winner in a good book--well, maybe not always, but if the plot is strong than the surprise is going to make the plot even better.

I think Frost has written an interesting, and possibly fascinating novel of the paranomal--vampires functioning within the American government with governmental sanction. It is a complicated and multi-layered story and the energy is consistent. The flow of the story moves the reader from person to person and scenario to scenario. The battles were a bit overwhelming but then I am not really into ghoul/vampire battles and zombie attacks. I admit to skimming those pages somewhat. I just kind of move to the last moments to see who wins. Sorry about that. In the end, I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Such colorful characters can not be allowed to fade into literary limbo. I give this book a 4.25 rating out of 5.


Tracy said...

I've liked this story so far. I just need to read book 4. :)

As soon as I find book 1 & 2 you can have those.

Dr J said...

I will return number 4 this week after I write the review. I think it was really good, too.