Tuesday 5 July 2022
CBR14 Book 14: "The Other Side of the Grave" by Jeaniene Frost
Audio book length: 13 hrs 13 mins
Rating: 4 stars
Back in 2007, Jeaniene Frost published the first volume in her paranormal fantasy series Night Huntress, Halfway to the Grave, about half-vampire Catherine "Cat" Crawfield (the unlikely offspring of a vampire and a human), who hunts vampires because her mother has raised her to hate them, and since Cat has never really felt loved or accepted by her mother or grandparents, hopes that her crusade to end as many undead as possible will earn her family's affection. Cat runs into English master vampire Crispin "Bones" Russell one day, and once he discovers her unique nature, not to mention starts falling head over heels for the hot-headed young vampire slayer, decides to train her to become much better at her chosen extra-curricular activity, mainly so she doesn't get herself killed the next time she runs into a really strong vampire. That the training forces her to spend lots and lots of time with him, well, that's also a bonus.
The series, where Cat and Bones inevitably fall in passionate love with one another, ended up being seven books long, not to mention there being a bunch of novellas, not to mention spin-off books where Bones' vampire friends found HEAs of their own eventually. Now Frost (whose books I think I initially picked up because she's BFF with Ilona Andrews) has decided to pull an E.L. James, or Stephenie Meyer, or what will you, and rewrite her first book in the series from Bones' POV. Selfish cash-grab? Maybe, but I found myself really enjoying the book, and wanting to revisit the series once more (I read the first books in the series back in 2009). Since I own at least the first few of the books in paperback, I found myself curious and compared a lot of the scenes. Frost writes that it's obvious that people remember things in different ways, so some scenes are pretty much word-for-word recreations, while a lot of the book covers all the stuff Bones did when Cat wasn't around.
As I said, I found myself amused by the book. Frost has updated a lot of the technology and references in the book to make it seem like it was set now (apparently Bones had a beeper in the first book, that's just objectively hilarious). After reading about a third, I got the audiobook version because I wanted to be able to listen to it when I was taking walks, and doing chores, and the narrator is mostly very good. I very much disagree with his accent and intonation for Bones (he sounds too thuggish), but all in all, it was a really fun listen, and at a time when I can barely find entertainment that holds my attention, the fact that I wanted to keep listening was absolutely a plus. Not sure Frost needs to write the rest of the series from Bones' POV though.
Judging a book by its cover: While this book has a pretty bad cover (that is just NOT how Bones looks in my mind's eye), it's a million times better than the eyesores that were the early covers of the Night Huntress series. Seriously, paranormal fantasy covers back in the day were SO ugly, you guys. Like so very very bad. The fact that the cover model portraying Cat on the first book looked to be in her mid-thirties (Cat is 22) didn't help. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much about this cover.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.