We’re edging ever closer to another dose of Cat and Bones goodness, compliments of the sixth novel in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. The series does an excellent job of straddling the line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Our heroine Cat is always out to catch the bad guy, regardless of physical injury, but our hero Bones makes his top priority keeping Cat safe and happy. Also, he’s got a hot accent and impressive bedroom skills.
If you aren’t up-to-date on the series, I’m here to give you a crash course in the high points of Night Huntress. There will be spoilers and lots of references to blood, and by the end you should be ready for One Grave at a Time.
Cat and Bones meet; we all fall in love:
Catherine Crawfield was born half-vampire. Her mother told her a vampire had raped her and Cat was the product of that violent act. As Cat grew up, her mother frequently raged about the evil monsters. So, as soon as Cat was able, she started hunting them. And she’d killed enough vampires by staking them with silver daggers to warrant the nickname Red Reaper (did I mention the lovely Cat is a redhead?).
She meets Bones. He’s a vampire who’s above her obvious tactics. What’s more, he’s a mercenary. And he decides to train Cat properly. She can help him take out the violent, murderous vampires. And they hate each other. His training involves fighting until she ends up bruised and unconscious, revived by drinking his blood.
His unique past—first as a prostitute to wealthy Brits, then as a resident of an Australian penal colony—makes Bones both lethal and endearing. It doesn’t hurt that the man is stunning.
In an interview, Frost says Bones “is a blend of (younger versions of) Viggo Mortensen, Billy Idol, and Bruce Campbell.”
From here on out it’s going to be spoiler-laden. I’m going to give away who lives, who dies, new uses for blood, new vampires, old vampires and Cat and Bones’ relationship progression. You’ve been warned. And when we’re done, you’ll be be caught up for plot points in One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress #6), which hits shelves on Aug. 30 and involves a crazy ghost.
Bones merges with Mencheres (no m/m action here, sorry):
As a Master Vampire, Bones already has many skills; hell, the guy can fly. After a couple centuries under Ian’s rule, he was ready to step out from under his maker’s protection. Once he’s rescinded his ties to Ian (taking those vampires he made along with him), Mencheres agreed to merge his line with Bones’s.
Mencheres is more than 1,000 years old, and with age comes power, as well as a kind of creepy, but still super hot, aura. When the two joined, Bones gained additional abilities. Our favorite vampire can now read minds, among other yet-to-be-determined skills.
Vampire version of a shotgun wedding:
Bones’s sire Ian gets his sights set on Cat. Her lethal skills have him all hot-and-bothered, and while amid a big vampire political showdown that went along with Bones claiming his own line, Bones’s hand was forced: Either Cat became his vampire wife or Ian could take her.
Bones and Cat pressed their wounded hands together and forever will be seen as vampire mates. It was a simple, but powerful ceremony. Afterward, Bones presents Cat with the ring he already had purchased. He’d always intended to marry her; things just got moved ahead of schedule.
And Tate makes three?
Cat and Bones were now a package deal. So the secret government agency dedicated to hunting violent supernatural types had to agree to let Bones join the team. Of course, he’s not much of a team player, so at work, Cat calls the shots, but he listens to no-one but her. In exchange, he also agrees to turn one of the current team members: Tate.
Cat meets her dad, to bloody ends
Cat’s dad isn’t too happy with being goaded over fathering the Red Reaper, and so he decides it’s a good idea to capture and torture her. And her mom. More than once.
He has no qualms about burning his daughter. Breaking bones. Watching her bleed. Overall, he’s every bit the monster Cat’s mom spoke of (though it turns out their act of Cat conception was consensual).
Cat becomes a full vampire, but is still special:
While we may have started the series with Cat as part human, the constant attempts on her life made it a necessity for Bones to turn her.
Cat’s not a normal vampire for so many reasons. In turning from half-vampire to full-vampire she isn’t sustained on human blood. It isn’t strong enough for her. Instead, she feeds only on vampire blood—Bones, mostly. The big side effect is she siphons power from whatever supernatural blood she drinks. It doesn’t last forever; once the blood leaves her system, so do the powers.
By drinking from Bones, she garners many of the gifts he gained from Mencheres. This means the newbie vampire has the skills of one of the oldest. Only, they can skip out on her from time-to-time, as they are only borrowed.
Did I mention there’s a Ghoul Queen?
In This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress #5), we meet Marie Laveau, the Ghoul Queen of Louisiana. She has command over the ghouls and the ghosts, in addition to a considerable amount of power she can wield over the living. She can summon revenants—think of them as really angry, violent ghosts ready to attack at her whim. (On a side note: I loved this totally creepy, powerful woman. I hope we get to see her again.)
Through some trickery, Marie forces Cat to drink her blood. With Cat’s new ability to gain power through supernatural blood, she now can call on the revenants and ghosts begin flocking to her. They want to be near her, revere her.
Bones is not pleased by this. At all.
Three smaller, important events with relevance to One Grave at a Time:
1. Don, Cat’s uncle and military man, had been battling a disease for quite some time. He managed to delay things by using vampire blood, but in the previous book he succumbed to the illness and died.
2. Cat’s mom has been turned vampire against her will. She’s a new vampire, so still adjusting to her abilities and thirst.
3. Spade (Bones’s best friend) and Denise (Cat’s best friend) are married. Denise is now a shapeshifter and damn near immortal. The downside is her blood is the equivalent to vampire crack. Denise and Spade are covered in detail via the Night Huntress World novels.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)