Review: One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress series #6), by Jeaniene Frost
Always a sucker for a woman in (supernatural) trouble, Cat & Bones take on a nasty spirit who puts up more of a fight than even they thought possible. Vengeful, sadistic, and ruthless, Heinrich Kramer is one of the toughest foes this duo has ever taken on… and that’s saying a lot. How do you kill something that’s already dead? How do you fight back against someone with no body? How do you protect yourself from someone that has no physical limitations and recognizes no boundaries? That’s just the start of the fun. This book is the 6th in the increasingly-popular Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost and, while it doesn’t quite live up to flash and polish of some of its predecessors, it’s still a must-read!
- Title: One Grave at a Time
- Series: Night Huntress – book #6
- Author: Jeaniene Frost
- Prominent Characters: Cat, Bones, Spade, Denise, Ian, Fabian, Elisabeth
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: light
Once again, Ms. Frost takes us back to the cave. We’ve been back before, but not with Cat & Bones together since Halfway to the Grave. It’s refreshing and nostalgic to be back where it all started, even if its only for a little while. Something that did annoy me a little about parts of the story was Cat’s complete carelessness when it came to anticipating Madigan. She had a couple glimpses into his head, yet she still treated him like just another bureaurocrat. I guess she can’t be completely infallible, or the story wouldn’t be as much fun to read, but it felt a little contrived. Cat is smarter than that – she’d have seen it.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot or the flow of events, so as not to inadvertently spoil anything. There are a very few small maybe-spoilers below, but nothing explicit. You’re probably safe to keep reading unless you want to know absolutely nothing going in. I will say that I enjoyed it, the pacing was good, the plot structure was fresh and creative, and the fight scenes were in true Night Huntress style. This one was a little frustrating, but held true to the style of the series, and is one I’d be happy to read again in a few months.
Like most Night Huntress books, OGaaT is extremely quotable. I hope you’ll forgive me for my exuberance in the quote section below – I couldn’t control myself! I did censor anything that might give away spoilers though. *wink*
Cat & Bones were, of course, in their usual spectacular wit and style, and it was nice to see them not fighting or trying to deceive one other. Spade and Denise were somewhat on the periphery, but each had their own moments to shine, and shine they did! Denise has a particularly memorable scene that readers will probably be talking about for years to come, and Spade gets his revenge on with a vengeance. Justina, Don, and Fabian had some face time as well, all of them progressing their individual story arcs at least a little.
Tate. I actually missed Tate in this one. There was a time when he annoyed the snot out of me, but now that he’s part of Bones’ line and has his own command, he was starting to become an interesting sub-character. I’m hoping to see more of him in the next novel.
And of course, there’s Ian. Ian gets a special place in this review because a) he’s enticingly incorrigable, b) his character is still as saucy and irreverent as ever, and c) he was specifically mentioned by Jeaniene Frost in a recent interview concerning the question “will Ian get his own book?” We’ve all been wondering that, now that we know Vlad will have his own series and both Spade and Mencheres already have their ladies. After the last book, I’d thought maybe he’d hook up with Veritas. There’s a woman who could keep Ian in line and still keep him both busy and satisfied. Maybe that’s still a chance sometime down the road, but here’s what Ms. Frost had to say about the possibility of an Ian novel in the near future…
Ian right now is too much into violence and sleeping around without it being just… violent porn. And I don’t want to go in his mind to write that. But I think that he’s also getting to a point where I might be able to do, in the future, a book about him. I have hopes for him growing maturity-wise. So that’s a maybe, not a promise, because he just might NEVER reach that level.
Let us pause for a moment to pay homage to “the new guy”. What a great new character!!! Vibrant, engaging, with an overload of personality and humor… Tyler is exactly the kind of gay man I LOVE being friends with. He says it straight, he’s on your level, and he’s not afraid or ashamed to be exactly who he is. Huzzah! It’s sorta like having a great new girlfriend, but with double the perspective. =) Tyler is truly one of my favorite supporting characters in this entire series, second only to Vlad… because Vlad is Vlad, and Vlad is awesome! I really hope our favorite new spunky little medium sticks around for future books.
Madigan is one of those characters you know is going to get his, you just have to bide your time while he digs his grave deeper and deeper. His role in this novel was mostly skeleton, as a setup for the next Night Huntress novel. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s up to and what Don has to do with it. This might be an antagonist I could love to hate… time shall tell!
Evil mastermind and professional a@@hole extraordinaire, Kramer is the seemingly unkillable villain of OGaaT. Some authors prefer the term “antagonist”. Well, Kramer is antagonizingly nasty and by no interpretation could he be considered less than a flat out villain. Jeaniene Frost herself does not like this character. In a recent interview, she talked about how she’d given herself a villain so tough, so vile, so persistent, that she had a lot of trouble progressing the storyline and writing an ending she was happy with. Some villains, you love to hate. Kramer, I just hated. H-A-T-E-D. Well, for the first half of the story. Suddenly in the second half, he’s switched from almighty-ghost-of-frequently-annoying-doom to comic-relief-guy-with-annoyingly-comparable-frequency. Is he the great Anti-Ghost or not? All I know is that I hated this guy with a capital M. F. (yeah, that means what you think it means), and I would not want to read another book with him in it. He was present at the MOST frustrating times (interrupting practically every minute of downtime or progress the heroes managed to get, as well as nearly every attempt at sexy time. No C&B sexy time makes DVK a cranky girl.) AND he was Mr. Nyah-Nyah-No-one-can-touch-me! Argh!
The irony of bliss: it doesn’t get to last if you want an interesting story…
“For the first time in years, our relationship is solid, no one’s actively trying to murder us, and our closest mates are happy. Blimey, Kitten, if I were any more relaxed, I’d need a smoke.”
The introduction of one of the best new characters EVAR!
“There’s a man inside the florist’s shop thinking you’re way too hot to be straight. Think he’s our medium?”
Meet Tyler, the gloriously gay medium with a crush on Bones…
“That’s right, honey, state your claim on Mr. Yummy Pants. I’d do the same if I were you.”
More Tyler goodness…
“Keep your panties on, ghostfriend, it’s only temporary.”
“You messed with the wrong white girl, motherf*&$)$!”
The finer points of a “Vampires exist!” speech…
“We don’t kill people – well, not people who don’t deserve it, that is, and – ”
Graham screamed, trying to run for the door. Bones had him dangling by the front of his shirt in the next blink, throwing me a sardonic look.
“Best not to mention any killing in a reveal speech, luv.”
You won’t like her when she’s angry…
“What does he want, Kitten?”
“Death by fang if he keeps this up.”
I guess some things are more important than Ian’s vanity…
“Killer ghost?” Ian perked up, gently batting Tyler aside with a “Yes, yes, I’m truly stunning, but this interests me,” remark.
The cold, hard truth, from the mouth of a retired contract killer…
“Sometimes, people who deserve vengeance don’t get it, and people who are due punishment escape their comeuppance.”
Censored to preserve the mystery, yet tease this awesome scene…
Ian appeared to have recovered from his surprise. He gave Spade an almost accusatory look.
“You’re shagging a woman who can turn into a <censored>? Blast you Charles, I am sick with envy!”
Bones, super-hero Jedi vampire!
“She’s in one of those units.”
“And you know that because you can somehow use the Force now?”
If you liked One Grave at a Time of the Night Huntress series…
If you enjoyed One Grave at a Time for its ghost-friendly atmosphere, and for its heroes-against-the-world with a seemingly unbeatable villain, you might also enjoy the Cassie Palmer series, starting with Touch the Dark, by Karen Chance. Cassie has a ghost familiar of sorts and is a medium herself, able to communicate with spirits… that’s when she’s not warding off murder attempts and worming her way through the mire vampire and mage politics so thick you could cut it with a knife. Oh and time travel. Let’s not forget that Cassie has the ability to travel back in time whenever she wants, while being protected by one of the most famous mages who ever lived. It’s a riot, an adventure, and an experience not to be missed!
Is Night Huntress paranormal romance or urban fantasy? I’ve always labelled it as PNR, but looking at the history of the books, it might actually be closer to UF. This book in particular felt more like UF than PNR to me, and since I prefer PNR, that made me a little less satisfied after reading it. That said, the plot is solid and the characters are as engaging as ever, even if I did want to punch something everytime Kramer interrupted, well, anything. I’ve liked all the previous NH villains – liked them AS villains, I mean – but I really did not want to waste time on Kramer. Anyone with an agenda of hate or discrimination gets the cold shoulder from me, and only my staunch dedication to Cat & Bones & crew kept me tuned in. Even so, this was a really good book. Was it the best C&B ever? No, not by a couple books. Would I read it again? Absolutely. Did it have a very inventive and original sex scene? Hellz yeah it did! Kudos to Ms. Frost for that. The story was also clean and concise enough for a reader new to the series to jump right in, without too much confusion or feeling like an outsider, which can’t be an easy achievement for a series so far into its maturity and popularity! The official GraveTells word on One Grave at a Time is that it’s a “must-read”. If you were hedging about getting it, wondering if it was worth it, I say go for it! The price is good (not one of those ridiculous $15 ebooks) and the content doesn’t dissappoint. =)
Rating: One Grave at a Time
Buy One Grave at a Time: Amazon
http://jeanienefrost.com/ (Jeaniene Frost’s website for the book)
http://www.karenchance.com/ (Cassie Palmer series website)