Posted on April 10, 2009 by alanajoli
Cat and Bones take their romance in a whole new direction (read: planning a wedding) in the third novel in Frost’s series. But nothing comes easily for the pair: Cat, a half-vampire, has some serious soul searching to do over the course of the novel, only partially because her vampire father has torture on the brain. Is she a vampire? Is she human? What does it mean to be either?
Not, of course, that there’s a lot of time to just stand and think. That Cat’s father has found her means that her identity is no longer secure, which endangers her whole unit. Add a very old, very powerful vampire calling on Bones to share power and ally together (which almost certainly means that a vampire turf war is on the horizon) and Bones turning Cat’s unit member Tate into a vampire by request, and things get very, very complicate. Tate’s love for Cat is only the tip of the iceberg.
At Grave’s End focuses more on the vampire side of the world and less on Cat’s unit, showing how vampire politics work and just what a war among the vampires means. It’s not a new story — vampire turf wars have been the subject of plenty of vampire fiction and film — but Frost spins it in a new way, focusing heavily on Cat’s role in the world of vampires and humans. Since that’s something that Cat has dealt with since the very beginning of the series, watching her grow into herself is a treat. And of course, her relationship with Bones (heartbreaking though it is at moments) is a huge driving factor in what makes all of the books a success.
One of the best parts of this novel is the introduction of a new minor character — the infamous Dracula. Like vampire wars, Dracula is a common enough character to bring on cast, but Frost’s depiction is thus far one of my favorites. Better yet, Cat’s mother continues to develop as a character, far beyond the two-dimensional figure she appears to be at the beginning of the series. Her growing depth is delightful, and by proximity, it gives the other characters a deeper feel.
For people who have been following the series, At Grave’s End is a must have. I would definitely not advise starting with this book — it’s a series best read in order, and the plots of the first two books are more original. But At Grave’s End isn’t a plot book, it’s a book for exploring character dynamics and relationships, and it’s those qualities that really make the series wonderful.
Review by Alana Joli Abbott