Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: Up From the Grave (Night Huntress #7) 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.

With some fun reveals, one that’s very surprising and ultimately a bit frustrating, Cat and Bones end their adventures (at least on page) with a bang. I opened Up From the Gravewith a bit of sadness knowing that this was it. Cat and Bones have been a fun fixture in my reading life for years and it’s always sad to say goodbye. Hopefully we’ll see them show up again in someone else’s book (Ian, please!), but we do get one last adventure that’s packed with action, sexiness and laughs.

The story starts with Cat learning that her old team of Tate, Juan, Dave and Cooper, have been missing for weeks and Cat’s ghostly uncle Don fears that Madigan (evil leader, that’s all I ever refer to him as) has them and if that’s the case, they’re as good as dead. Cat won’t just leave them in Madigan’s hands so she and Bones start to follow leads to figure out where the guys are and this leads to some very disturbing revelations about what, exactly, Madigan has been researching all these years. He’s been one of the master minds behind some dangerous genetic testing that goes all the way back to the days Cat was working for her Uncle and leading her team. What they currently find is that the testing was successful and has resulted in a 7 year old girl, who is a vampire/ghoul hybrid and threatens to start a war between the groups. Cat and Bones need to rescue her old team, find the little girl and figure out who the main person is above Madigan that’s been funding and backing this research. The answer proves to be a dangerous one for Cat and her friends along with a huge reveal that revolves around the young girl, Katie.

The action is everything fans of this series have come to expect. Many past characters are nicely woven into the story and plot and all play pivotal roles, especially Denise and my personal favorite Ian. It was nice to see them all interact together for one last hurrah and they ended up needing everyone’s abilities to take on the book’s big bad. There are deaths, deceptions, lots of violence – it’s action packed and exciting.

I love seeing the progression of Cat and Bones relationship. They’re not perfect, but they’ve both grown together so much that just as Cat believes, they really can weather anything together. While we do get some sexy moments between them, personally I wanted something more. I can’t say that anything specifically was missing it was just for the last time we’re going to see this couple on page, I was a little letdown with respect to the romance we get between them.

Without a doubt, the main surprise relates to Katie, the young fighting machine that was bred in the labs by Madigan and the man Cat and Bones are searching for (not giving his identity away either, it’s another nice reveal about who and what he is). Katie’s reveal is big and I hate to put it like this, but it’s almost mean of Frost to introduce Katie in the last book and not give us more. There is SO much more that I feel could have been done with her and the storyline possibilities she brings. On the one hand, I can see the “full circle” she represents for the series as a whole, but dammit, she’s a little game changer in my mind and it almost feels like a huge story opportunity for her, Cat, Bones and even shockingly Tate, is wasted.

It was bittersweet reading the last page of this book. Cat and Bones and their lives and the many adventures they’ve taken me on will always hold a special place for me. I wanted to be able to finish this book and feel like, yes, their story is complete, but I didn’t feel that way. Maybe it’s intentional by Frost, letting us imagine where life is taking this couple now, but I needed something more satisfying and I was left wanting a little bit more. That said, I’ll miss this couple terribly and hope to see them somehow, someway show up in my little book world again.

Rating: B-

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Avon
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*Book provided by publisher for review* 



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