This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5) by Jeaniene Frost

Rating: 3.5/5

I’m starting to have a problem with these books, and I’m not quite sure why. I think that Cat is starting to get on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the series, and Jeaniene has a wonderful writing style. But throughout this entire book I kept having to ask myself why Cat seems to have such a difficult time recognizing the obvious.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, so suffice to say that there were some components to the plot that seemed fairly obvious to me that took Cat until almost the end of the book to realize, and it ended up being the rather obvious solution to the problem all along. And even once she had figured it out and we had resolution to the main problem, she still ended up second guessing her earlier assumption. It just made me want to smack her.

This bothered me a bit in the earlier books as well, but it almost made the books more believable to me then because Cat was green and she was learning the ropes, and I wouldn’t have expected her to pick up on these kinds of hints and clues. Now, however, we’re 5 books in (plus two Night Huntress World novels that Cat had at least a tangential role in), and she doesn’t seemed to have gained much intelligence.

I need Cat to develop more.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s come a long way since the first book. When she had a moral crisis of hating vampires but loving (liking? lusting after?)Ā a vampire, and we had the emotional drama of her overcoming. And in the second book, when her relationship with Bones developed and she started to see some sense. These were great steps, and one of the things that I liked so much about these books in the earlier stages was that the characters really did develop—they learned, and they grew. And most of the moral dilemmas facing Cat were generally wrapped up within the plot arc that they were first brought up in.

But if you set this emotional development aside, I don’t get the feeling that Cat has really grown up much lately. Once her relationship with Bones mostly settled down, she hasn’t been developing anymore, and I don’t think that it’s for lack of need. We’re five (or seven, depending on how you count) books into this series and the main character is still thinking like a rookie. This is getting on my nerves. I certainly hope it’s fixed in the next book. (Anyone out there who has read/actively reads my writing,Ā please let me know if my characters ever end up doing this. I’m always afraid that my characters only feel alive to me…)

Now that that’s out of the way …

I’m always surprised with series like this that the author can still come up with a halfway decent plot. Maybe I’m a bit jaded in that respect because the first long series in this genre I really got into was Anita Blake, and those of you who have read past Obsidian Butterfly have seen evidence of running out of good plot ideas. I mostly liked the idea of trying to prevent a war between the ghouls and the vampires. I mostly liked the idea of using a halfbreed as a catalyst for starting that war. I don’t have any problems there, though at some points the execution seemed a bit choppy—I can’t complain about some of the interjecting issues (I won’t mention specifics, but if you’ve read the book already I’m sure you know what I’m referring to), but I will complain about some of the bumps in the road that I don’t think really added value. Yes, they served their purpose of breaking up the tension, but they weren’t really in places where I felt a need to break it anyway. They also didn’t seem terribly intentional to me, though I’m not sure I could pick out a specific example without going back and re-reading.

Also, just a brief comment: we just had a whole spin-off novel about Denise, where she was the main character, and, while she played a (somewhat) active role in this book, she barely even had a speaking line. Same with Spade. Mencheres and Kira, conversely, were in the spotlight. That didn’t sit too well with me either—is Frost playing favorites with her characters? I may continue this thought when I read the next book, but I’ll wait to see where it goes first.

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Posted on May 27, 2013, in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I read this novel a long time ago…but I remember one of the novels in the series was kinda dragged out, so this might have been the one. I like the most recent novella though, in THE BITE BEFORE CHRISTMAS called “Home for the Holidays” – I love in whenever Bones gets jealous of Ian and Cat. Always fun! šŸ˜‰

    • Unfortunately I haven’t gotten through any more of the books in this series yet – we’re reading these in my local book club and I’m trying really hard to stay on pace with them. Personally, I can’t wait to get to Vlad’s books. Didn’t know about the novella – I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for it! Thanks for the comment!

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