Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Her deadly dreams leave her in grave danger

Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.

Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

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Wow. That one word fairly well sums up my reaction to this book. I'd thought At Grave's End was an emotional ride, but this one surpassed it and then some. I'm sure there were at least a few scenes here that weren't emotionally loaded in one way or another, but I'm not recalling very many if any offhand right now. There's not even much of a rest at the end, for the intensity keeps driving hard nearly to the last page. By the end, many things have changed, some for the good and some for the bad, and many things remain uncertain and up in the air. All the more incentive to grab the next book and keep going.

Cat learns that a piece of her past was taken from her, and by someone that she's come to trust. How she deals with this revelation, and the others that follow in its wake, shows how far she has come since the beginning of this saga. The repercussions of what is revealed also force her to take a very hard look at herself and her beliefs and to finally come up with answers for some very tough questions. The end result is a good deal of further character growth that takes her over one or two major hurdles that were still holding her back, though it's clear she still has more work to do as well.

Bones began to truly come into his own in the last book, and he continues to do so here and in even more spectacular fashion. He also proves that even vampires who are a few hundreds years old can still have some growing to do and may not always have the best answers to things. To his credit, however, Bones is faster to realize when he's made mistakes and to adjust his thinking accordingly once he realizes them. Wisdom gained over a few centuries should be worth something after all.

Up until now, the love that Cat and Bones have for one another has seemed mostly unshakeable. The events of this story prove to be the earthquake that can shake it, however. This is not entirely a bad thing though, because only by encountering, weathering, and overcoming the sorts of serious obstacles that present themselves here can they grow and move forward as a couple. Their relationship would begin to stagnate without some shakeups and serious disagreements, and it would be far less interesting to read about. These two are bound to always strike sparks both good and bad off one another, a fact with Bones recognizes and acknowledges at one point, and I'm sure this won't be the last time we'll see them end up at each others' throats, and not in a good way.

Do I really still need to say whether or not I recommend this book and series? I doubt it. So if you're a fan of paranormal romance, and/or of urban fantasy, and you haven't read this series yet, get on it. I know I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get to it, and I'm realizing that I really should have prioritized it on my To Be Read list a long time ago. 5 shining stars to what was the best book so far in an outstanding series.

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