Sunday, March 23, 2014

Up From the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

The Night Huntress series goes out with more than a whimper, less than a bang.

Cat and Bones are two of my favorite characters. As this is the last book in their series, I'm sad to see them go, and I'm not real pleased with the way things ended, but overall, this was an enjoyable book by a good author and I do recommend it.

As per the norm in this series, bad stuff is happening in the un-dead world and Cat and Bones are needed to help make it stop. Cat's old team in the supernatural department of Homeland Security is in trouble, maybe even dead or dying, Uncle Don knows a whole lot more than he's willing to say, and other aspects of the supernatural world are out to create various sorts of trouble for our protagonists. The villain appears to be nearly unbeatable, but our heroes always have an ace in the hole and they intend to make the world safe for everyone living, dead, and undead. There's a little twist and I must admit I saw it coming, but I'll discuss that under flaws.

Uncle Don is here, as a ghost, and we once again meet up with Tyler the medium, Marie Laveaux, Ian, Spade, Mencheres, and all the rest. Working together the problem is met head on. I don't like to give spoilers or even specific plot synopses, because you should get to discover the whole story for yourself. Suffice it to say that the story was engrossing enough to be read on one sitting, and that I enjoyed it.

There is less, and less graphic, sex than we've seen in previous Night Huntress novels, but I think that's good. Bones and Cat are growing as a couple and as a marriage, and the fact that sex isn't their primary concern is proof of that. Also, there's so much happening here that I don't think they could have taken time out to have as much sex as they used to!

All the characters we've come to know serve their purpose and we get a peak in at their lives. Ian is happily, promiscuously still single, Spade and Mencheres are still happily married, and they're fun. Cat and Bones can't do what needs to be done without them, and of course they're all there. Well, all but Vlad, but that's explained for us.

If you're a fan of the series, read this book since it's the last one. If you've never read this series, the book would stand alone, but I really recommend reading from the beginning.

Some flaws and failings: Bones is a great character and I'm as in love with him as most readers are. But I cannot abide a liar, and bones lies to Cat more than once in this book. Now, I understand his reasons for doing so, and I don't particularly disagree with them, but it's just never okay to lie to your wife. Or husband. That he comes clean, and apologizes, and accepts Cat's anger mitigates things, but not entirely so; it's a bit of a betrayal of a great relationship. I wish Frost had found a way to accomplish things without the lies.

The reason given for Vlad's absence is thin, to say the least. I mean, I get it, but it doesn't make sense. Vlad just wouldn't miss this whole thing and he'd find a way to accomplish his personal business and still help Cat. He's promised he always would. I just hate that his lack of involvement in something this important is treated as just an aside.


I will give Frost credit for handling it better than Twilight, but for heaven's sake, why do happy couples, especially vampire couples, need children??? Why?? I don't understand. This is the twist I figured out early on and it just sucks. It is disrespectful to Bones and to Cat that all of a sudden they have a child they've never mentioned wanting, and it's not even Bones's. The entire situation is part of the main story line, but the aftermath is just stupid. It's all neatly tied up with a pretty bow and everyone literally sails off into the sunset. Ugh, it was just so trivial and unnecessary.

Finally, my last thought when I closed the book was that I had always liked this series, enjoyed it, always waited anxiously for the next installment, and I've even read the books involving the tertiary characters and enjoyed them, too, and now... it turns out it was all a lesson on racism? Or tolerance? Or whatever? Seriously? Because the last few pages really felt like a social-studies lesson. More than any other problem or failing, this whole deal about letting people live as they are and putting aside fear and hate just really diminished the series and the characters. The ending should have had a lot more punch and promise than it did.

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