I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday last week as well as have recovered from whatever festivities that occurred from last night. The boys and I spent the night watching The Hobbit while we waited for the ball to drop. Not glamorous, but that’s just the way we roll. *grin*
I know I’m really late with this, but we’ll be caught up on Monday, I promise. Between the never-ending cold that just won’t go away and Winter Break, it’s been an odd time around our house. This weeks discussion for First Drop of Crimson and Eternal Kiss of Darkness will be up tomorrow, which means Monday’s discussion of This Side of the Grave will put us right where we’re suppose to be. From there, we’ll be heading to Romania to talk about our favorite fire-starter with Once Burned and Twice Tempted.
But before we get to that, let’s talk about the fourth Night Huntress novel, Destined for an Early Grave. If you haven’t read it yet, you can read the first 20% here.
World/Society & Plot:
There is trouble brewing with the ghouls, led by one named Apollyon. They believe that Cat is trying to unite the ghoul and vampire races under her control. Since she’s half-vampire, they’re afraid that if she were to become a ghoul, combining the bonuses from both races, she would be unstoppable.
“A vampire can’t turn into a ghoul. Only a human can. So no one but you, as a half-breed, could combine all the strength of a vapire with none of their aversion to silver. You might have unlimited power.”
Cat gets caught in between two vampires, Bones & Gregor, both who claim they are her husband.
Gregor has visions of the future. He intended to alter the future based on one of these visions. When I found out about it, I imprisoned him as punishment.” / “He saw Cat in one of his visions and decided he had to have her,” Mencheres stated in a flat tone. “Then he discovered she’d be blood-bound to you. Around the time of Cat’s sixteenth birthday, Gregor intended to find her and take her away. His plan was very simple – if Cat had never met you, then she’d be his, not yours.”
Cat has no knowledge of any previous time spent with Gregor.
“That you remember,” Mencheres replied. “You feel pains in your head when you hear of Gregor, right? Those are the stabs of your repressed memory. You’d been with Gregor for weeks before we found the two of you in Paris. By then, he’d managed to infatuate you and confuse you with lies. I knew I had to alter your recollection to fix things, which is why you have no memory of your time with him.”
However we find out that Mencheres was able to wipe her memory of her time with Gregor, something Cat had thought she was immuned to. This also answers another question.
No wonder I’ve always had a problem with you. One some subconscious level, my instincts must have remembered that he’d manipulated me against my will, even if the exact memory of that event was lost.
Cat is finally confronted with the one thing that she has been avoiding to make a decision about.
“For God’s sake, Cat, take the leap, what are you waiting for?” / “The sooner you’re done with your human perceptions, the better.” / “Come now, Reaper. We both know you’ve been hanging on to your humanity too long. You just needed a push, didn’t you?”
While trying to evade Gregor, Cat begins to take dream suppression pills that make her experience depression, mood swings, irritability, paranoia, and chronic fatigue all at once. Needless to say, this does not help the situation at all. Especially with her and Bones relationship.
Cat takes the plunge and is turned into a vampire by Bones; however since she’s already a freak of nature as a human, she’s a freak as a vampire as well. *grin* Instead of feeding on human blood, Cat feeds on undead blood and has an occasionally heartbeat (usually when she’s upset).
“It figures I couldn’t even do this the normal way,” I said, after licking the last drops from his wrist yet again. / “Do what, luv? Become a vampire? Or bite?” / “I’m biting wrong, too?”
Bones doesn’t care what anyone says, Cat is his wife and no one elses.
“Let’s see how long someone lasts if they suggest that my wife is not my wife.”
The situation with Gregor has Bones tied up in more knots than he’s used to dealing with.
“Not used to what?” Being married to a psychotic bitch? my mind supplied. / “Fear.” Spade lowered his voice. “Crispin’s always prided himself on his emotional control, yet he has none with you. He’s never before experienced the fear of losing the person he loves to someone else. Oh, your friend Tate might brass Crispin off, but he knows Tate is no real threat. Gregor’s different. He’s older than Crispin, more powerful, and no one knows how much you might have cared for him.”
Gregor is a several hundred year old vampire who can kidnap people via their dreams.
“If Gregor takes ahold of you in your dreams, when you wake, you’ll be wherever he is. That’s why he’s called the Dreamsnatcher.”
Hopscotch is a 200+ vampire who works as one of Cat’s bodyguards. He chose his name because it was his adopted child’s favorite game.
Band-Aid, another bodyguard, chose his name because he was ouchless.
We’re introduced to Marie Laveau, one of the most powerful ghouls who resides in New Orleans and rules the supernatural (in that area) with an iron fist.
New Orlean’s queen is Marie Laveau, though she goes by the name Majestic now. Those rumors of voodoo? They weren’t rumors, pet.”
Marie, aka Majestic, holds to a very strict code of honor. When she gives her word, she sticks with it. She’s also one of the few supernaturals that Cat seems to make a good first impression with.
She smiled. “Of all the things you’d first say to me, quoting a scene from my favorite movie was the last I expected. Go in peace, Cat.”
Fabian du Brac is a ghost Cat encounters in New Orleans, who was born in 1877 and died in 1922, making him 45 years old at the time of his death. He becomes a part of Bones line as long as he doesn’t betray information about Bones or any of his people, respects their privacy, and does not brag about being acquired.
Vlad makes several fabulous appearances and declares, that no matter which side Cat is on, he will be there for her.
“I feel a connection to you, as I once told you. It’s not love, it’s not attraction, and I won’t sacrifice myself for you, but if you needed me, and it was possible for me to help you, like today, I’d come. Whichever side you called me from.”
The ghoul behind the rhetoric about Cat becoming a vampire-ghoul hybrid is Malcolme Untare, or Apollyon.
He had black hair anybody could see was dyed, and even had one long piece wrapped around his head in that way some men did to fool no one into believing they weren’t bald.
Justina joins the world of the dead when she’s turned against her will by Gregor after being dreamsnatched.
“Kill Gregor. If you do, I’ll live like this no matter how much I hate it,” she growled.
Veritas, the law guardian, makes her first appearance.
The tall blond female crackled with enough power to make me uneasy. While she looked only eighteen, she felt about five thousand years old.
Cannelle is both a human companion and servant to Gregor. She tries to lure Bones out of New Orleans and she’s later turned into a ghoul after Cat kills her.
“The Shit’s gonna splatter, start buggin’, yo,” Mencheres responded instantly.
“Oracle?” / It came out of my mouth before I could snatch it back. No wonder Bones had wanted to come with me. I’d piss her off before even introducing myself. / Hazelnut eyes that were way to alert raked me from boots to brow. The needlework shifted when a long finger pointed at me. / Bingo.
“You’re my ball an chain, and it’s my ankle you’re shackled to!”
“Bones has always been smart,” I muttered. “His intelligence was just camouflaged under a mountain of pussy.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know – you’ll kill me something awful. If only I had a dime for every time I heard that.”
So what did everyone think about Destined for an Early Grave? This was a game changer for the series as Cat makes the ultimate decision, one that came with repercussions she wasn’t expecting. It also settled one major obstacle for Cat and Bones HEA, but it’s not coming yet. Nope, that’s what we’re preparing ourselves for later this month. Strangely, there’s one point in Destined for an Early Grave that makes one doubt that it’ll happen. Well, not for long, but seriously, when Bones walked out on Cat, did anyone else go OMG…WTF just happened? It was a very emotion sequence of events after that, but I have to say that I love how Cat and Bones were written for it. Especially the part where Cat ends up in bed with Vlad. *grin*
As I am typing this up, I keep thinking that I missed something important. I can’t put my finger on it – and whether it’s this cold that’s making me feel like that or a memory of something – I’m not sure. So I have to ask, did I miss something big? I know I didn’t mention Rodney, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. His death was such a shock and such a heartbreak that I’m still hoping that he might pop up again in the final book. I know the likelihood of that is pretty nil, but I can hope, right?
If this is your first time reading At Grave’s End, what did you think? If you’ve read it before, what was your favorite scene/quote? What was your reaction to the events following the train station setup and Cat/Vlad’s theatrics? *grin*
Hopefully you’re not as behind as I am. Tomorrow I’ll have the discussion for the two Night Huntress World novels, First Drop of Crimson and Eternal Kiss of Darkness. Monday will see me back on schedule with the discussion of This Side of the Grave.