Tuesday, February 10, 2015

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's 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's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, 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's 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.

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As the blurb suggests, this book begins to show us the truth of matters for Cat and Bones -- they aren't likely to get to have a true happily ever after, for there will probably always be someone else waiting in the wings for a turn to make their lives hell. Though for all that they have some powerful enemies, they also apparently have many powerful allies, not to mention some freaky phenomenal luck for being able to save things from the jaws of disaster at the last minute, or seemingly so. They come out of these trials irrevocably changed, yet it wouldn't be a very interesting story if they didn't, would it?

Cat continues to grow and mature, yet still ends up making much the same mistakes time and time again, mostly stemming from her decided tendency to act first and think later. While she is getting better about it, and does try not to be so rash with her actions, she's not quite there yet. She's also becoming even more of a badass, learning more and more from Bones and the other vampires around him about how to be utterly ruthless. Yet even as she becomes more hardened to the gruesome side of what they are, she still remains herself, and still retains her compassion and sense of mercy. She just adjusts her notions of who is deserving of mercy to fit with some of the coldblooded realities she must accept.

Bones doesn't so much change here as show more of his true self. After securing a surprising alliance that comes with several major perks, he begins to show himself as more and more of a leader, and as someone to be respected -- and feared. At first glance it may seem like the bounty hunter we met in book one has changed a lot to become the Bones we see here, I think it's arguable that the leadership qualities were always there, he simply didn't make use of them because he didn't have any reason or incentive to do so.

This book definitely contains some of the most emotionally wrenching scenes we've seen thusfar in this series. From the highs of victory to the depths of despair, the story takes us on an emotional roller coaster ride that will have you on the edge of your seat anxiously listening or turning pages to find out what's going to happen. While one part of you knows that it will all come out OK in the end, or at least reasonably so, there are points at which it's hard to imagine how the situation can possibly be saved.

It kind of goes without saying that I heartily recommend this book, and for anyone that's gotten through the first two it's likely unnecessary to make the recommendation for you're no doubt going to keep going with this book and the rest anyway because you're surely hooked by this point. Though if you weren't hooked before this one, this book will most likely hook you and reel you in. 5 solid stars, and I look forward to the 5 star trend continuing in the rest of the series.

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