Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.
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. From Goodreads
I absolutely love this series, and Jeaniene Frost is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, so of course I was going to read Up From the Grave. The seventh and final book in the Night Huntress series is just as action packed and as exciting as we've come to expect, but there was something missing in this one for me.
Life has been pretty quiet and peaceful for Cat and Bones lately, and Cat's come to enjoy it. But when the Don's ghost pays her a visit to say her old team mates and friends have gone missing, Cat will put aside her peaceful life to find out what's going on. Turns out Madigan, Don's replacement, has been conducting experiments on her friends behind the scenes. He wants to create a species that are human, vampire and ghoul all at once to create an unbeatable army for humans. Knowing neither vampire nor ghoul will let something like that slide, Cat and Bones are racing against time to stop Madigan and save her friends. But revelations throw a spanner in the works, and Cat discovers more than she bargained for.
Up From the Grave is a really sweet novel. As I said, there's excitement and danger throughout, and some of the things Madigan has done are atrocious. You're still on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happens. But you can feel it's the end of the series as you go along. Cat comments frequently about how she misses the peace they had, and wanting to go back to that. There's also several instances of Cat truly realising what she wants from life, and that's to spend it with Bones. She accepted how she felt about Bones a long time ago - they're married now, even - but I think in Up From the Grave she discovers just how deep her feelings go, just how much she loves him, and what her life would be without him - nothing. There's also a time or two when we get similar comments from Bones. There's a very strong feel that their life together is more important than anything else, which is part of the winding down of the series. They're going to focus on their own little world when everything has calmed down.
Cat and Bones mentioned things that had happend in previous books quite a number of times. This was probably meant to be a nod to the series ending - showing how far Cat and Bones have come, and the things they've gone through together - but I didn't always remember what was being discussed. There have been two Prince of Darkness books since the last Night Huntress Novel, and a few Night Huntress World books interspersed between the others. It's been a long time since those other Night Huntress books came out, and I simply couldn't remember what they were talking about, but there wasn't enough recap to jog my memory. So sadly, most of the references went over my head.
I did find Up From the Grave kind of predictable in places, though. There were some extremely emotional times in this book, but there were always hints as to what would happen, so I couldn't get as anguished as Cat, because I didn't believe what was happening. I think the predictability is what let me down a bit; I knew what was coming for certain parts of the books, and so although it was exciting and had me on the edge of my seat, I wasn't surprised. And the big, big reveal? Really obvious. So obvious. I couldn't work out how things were as they were, but I gathered really early on what the outcome would be. It was just glaringly obvious. And although it fits in with the plot completely, it feels a little too conveniant. It seems like Frost decided how she wanted the series to end for Cat and Bones, and then wrote a story to fit that, one that works, one that's plausible and completely in vein with the other books, but still feels a little... self-gratifying? Or maybe a little too generous to the characters? I don't know, but I'm dubious about it. Not only has the series ended, but it's ended wrapped up in a pretty ribbon too. It's not necessarily a bad thing to do - serious kudos to Frost for creating a great story to get this ending without it seeming like an after thought, "Oh, and by the way..." - it was just surprising that Frost chose to. With all that Frost has put her characters through, it just seems a little out of character for things to be so nice and neat. It left me thinking, "Really?"
On the whole, not the best in the series, but still a pretty good book. A nice way to end the series, even if it I have some misgivings about it. I still consider Frost to be one of my favourite authors, and I'm super excited to read more from her in the future!
Published: 28th January 2014
Jeaniene Frost's Website
My other reviews from the series and companion novels (in reading order):
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress Book 1)
One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress Book 2)
At Grave's End (Night Huntress Book 3)
Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress Book 4)
First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World Book 1)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World Book 2)
This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress Book 5)
One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress Book 6)
Once Burned (Night Prince Book 1)
Twice Tempted (Night Prince Book 2)