This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress Series #5)

This Side of the Grave - Jeaniene Frost Cat is adapting to her new life as a vampire – and not just a vampire, but a vampire that feeds on other vampires and absorbs their powers – powers that she isn’t always old enough or strong enough to control. More, a newly raised vampire whose powers just killed one of the most powerful living master vampiresAnd this is a problem for Apollyon, the Ghoul. Or at least a convenient excuse for him. Using the image of the powers Cat has displayed, he is inciting the ghouls to raise up against the vampires, claiming they will use her powers to dominate, enslave and butcher ghouls.Apollyon is now travelling from city to city, inciting ghouls to hatred – and it’s not the first time he’s used a half-vampire to try to start a war against vampires – last time the half-vampire was killed to placate him. Cat isn’t best pleased with this proposal.So the hunt is on – to find Apollyon, to discredit him, to stop him by any means necessary – and before more masterless vampires are hunted down or too many ghouls are recruited to the cause.We had plot, plot and more plot! Indeed many of the sex scenes were taken as a given rather than something that had to be excessively described, and relationship angst came in the form of long needed revelations rather than the eternal moping and misunderstanding. In fact, Cat made little breakthroughs with Mancheres so perhaps we can finally leave her constant suspicion and sniping behind. After the emotional maundering of the last book, this was a wonderful change of pace.Another wonderful change was Cat’s actions and involvement. After the last book where she spent the vast majority of it being dragged around in other people’s plans, here she was involved. She didn’t always take charge and sometimes she had to follow as much as lead – which was appropriate all things considered (why should the millennia old Mancheres defer to Cat after all?) but she had constant input, intelligent input and was a meaningful part of their plans as well as adding her own plans and ideas that they followed. She was integral, not just for her special shiny powers, but also for her own choice of what to do and how to do it. In this book she was not just a strong, intelligent woman with her own ideas and unwilling to be dictated to, but she was also a team player – and I think that’s important. Often in Urban Fantasy “strong, independent woman” and “works well with others” are considered mutually exclusive – either she’s domineering, violent or drives people off, or she’s a passive follower. Or she refuses to work with others and insists on doing her own thing. This was one of the few times we see a character who is happy to work with others, as an equal, without having to be a complete arsehole or a complete puppet or a loose cannon. Read More