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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


There's always one more grave to dig.

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband, Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war....

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death...because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives - and those of everyone they hold dear - will be hovering on the edge of the grave.




 
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I am very conflicted about this book. The writing is Frost's usual stellar quality and the story progression from what has happened before now is understandable and makes sense. In many ways I suppose it could be argued that we should have seen this coming. Still, I can't say I particularly like where she went with the story or how she wrapped up the long, tumultuous saga of Cat and Bones' love story. Despite the fact that much of this had been building for longer than anyone realized, I still think there are other paths that could have been taken with it so that things didn't have to end they way they do here.



Cat was often rather annoying in this one because she is so overly emotional so much of the time and she lets it cloud her thinking and her judgement. While it's true enough that she's always been rather emotional and sentimental, and often is guilty of thinking with her heart instead of her head, she takes it to extremes a couple times in this one. Several times I just wanted to slap her and tell her to quit her blubbering and think for a moment because it was so obvious what was going on but she was totally missing it because she was too busy having a pity-party melt down. After reading the first two Night Prince books, I'm more impressed with Leila than I am with Cat at this point, because even though she's younger and has far less experience with fighting and navigating vampire intrigues she still manages to keep it together and stay focused and on task than Cat does in this book.

Bones proves on a few occasions here just how ruthless and pitiless he can be when it comes to keeping Cat safe. This doesn't really come as much surprise, because we've known for a long time that he's capable of just about anything and that vicious doesn't even begin to describe him when Cat is being threatened. Still, we've never seen him act in ways that are as cold and cruel toward Cat as he does a time or two in this book. Not to say she didn't have it coming since she acts like a total nitwit so many times here, but the lengths he goes to and the things he puts her through are a bit shocking nonetheless. I'm not criticizing this however -- frankly it made me respect him a bit more actually because he proves that he's willing to make some hard choices when he has to and isn't above causing those he cares about pain in the short term if it keeps them safe. If only Cat could have kept such a level and calculating head on her shoulders things might have turned out quite differently.

As I noted above, I'm not crazy about how Cat's long story arc comes to fruition here. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised by some of it, since the signs were there all along, but it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Perhaps because I'm just generally not a fan of the sorts of tropes that are brought fully into the light here with the lengths the secret government programs that Cat's been involved with all along went to. Add to that the fact that Cat frequently acts in ways that seem rather out of character for her and storywise the whole thing was rather disappointing to me. There had to have been other directions Frost could have taken this that wouldn't have brought this whole saga to such an unsatisfying and rather anti-climactic end.

For all my criticism of it, I still couldn't help finding this book rather compelling and hard to put down (or turn off in my case since I listened to the audiobook -- Tavia Gilbert does such a fantastic job of narrating these books). Even when I was rolling my eyes or groaning at what was happening or how Cat was acting, I still couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Maybe because I kept hoping against hope that the whole thing wasn't going to end up going to hell in a handbasket like it seemed to be most of the time. Because of this, and because it is the final book in a fantastic series I'll still give it my recommendation, at least for those who have read all of the previous books. You'll want to see how it all ends I'm sure, just be prepared for a bit (or a lot) of disappointment about how it does. Though it pains me a bit, I can only give this one 3½ stars, though I am rounding it up where needed based on the quality of the writing and Frost's ability to keep surprising you in big or little ways. I wish this had ended differently, but ah well. We still have more to look forward to in this universe at least.

5 comments:

  1. Ooch. This is why I've not read this one yet. I just. I think I'd almost rather leave things in my head with the last book and just kinda have my own ending for them. :/

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    1. I'm not entirely sure if I blame you, though if you're following Night Prince, and presumably the books yet to come (Ian's book and another Night Prince), you'll likely want to know what happened here. I know that a key part of this one is spoiled if you've read Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3). Maybe, possibly, the disappointing situation at the end of this book will be redeemed in one of the books yet to come.

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    2. I read the first in the Night Prince and it just wasn't for me. Was crazy since I've loved all of her others but something just didn't mesh well for me. I hadn't seen Ian was getting a book!! Last I'd seen she was still on the no side of that fence. Any idea when that one is happening??

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    3. I'm not sure on timing. She announced on her blog around the time DABWAHA(sp?) ended that she would definitely be giving Ian a book. But also said it would have to wait until she'd finished current projects including book 2 of the new series, a 4th Night Prince book, and possibly something else, I forget. So likely not until next year at earliest for Ian. She did say something about him making an appearance in Night Prince #4 too.

      I've loved the Night Prince series. It gets better as it goes I think. Though I do get that it might not be for everyone.

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    4. Oh well that's very exciting to hear. She'd come to town for her last two book signings and that was a question from the audience and she was on the no side both times but did't totally say it would never happen. SO glad she's finally got a story brewing for him. He was one of my favorites!

      I know a lot love the Night Prince. I think for me it was more that Vlad just wasn't himself in it. It was really like a totally different character without the humor from the original series that made him so great. Maybe one day I'll try his second book. I stil love her books just sometimes a series isn't gonna work for ya.

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