Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to…
Audiobook reviews: Night Huntress World series
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Audio Speed: 1x
Series: Night Huntress World #1-#2 (Night Huntress #4.1 & #4.2)
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: library loan
After the first four books in her Night Huntress series, Jeaniene Frost takes a break from Cat and Bones and shares the romance storylines of two of her side characters. These books are more paranormal romance and less urban fantasy, telling the complete love story of the primary couple. While the books may be listed as a spinoff series, they are more than loosely tied to the primary series, and if you skip them, you will miss a bit of background for these characters once you start back with book 5 of Night Huntress. For that reason, I am referring to the books as #4.1 and #4.2.
First Drop of Crimson (NHW #1 / NH #4.1)
After struggling with the previous few Cat & Bones books, I took a break from the entire Night Huntress series. Now I’m back, and the next book, chronologically, is the first spin-off book in the Night Huntress World, First Drop of Crimson. Picking up about a year after the conclusion of the previous book (Destined for an Early Grave), First Drop of Crimson shares the story of Bones’s best mate and fellow vampire, Spade, and his long-lusted after love interest, Denise, who also happens to be Cat’s human best friend. While one may be able to read/listen to the book independently, it really is part of the Night Huntress series, and should be considered book 4.1.
The first difference I noticed right away is that the spin-off titles are paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy. The story is shared from third person point-of-views, alternating between Spade and Denise, and the primary story is their romance. Denise is still heart-broken from the gruesome death of her husband at the hands of supernatural beings. Having been terrorized by Cat’s world, Denise decided to alienate herself; however, after she witnesses her cousin’s death at the hands of something not human, Denise calls Spade for help. Soon the pair find themselves in the middle of the very dark underbelly of vampire-kind.
I was not overly impressed with Spade and Denise’s story. I felt the pair worked too hard at keeping the other at arm’s length rather than communicating and sharing their lives. It bothered me that Spade couldn’t even explain his over-protectiveness to Denise, leaving the job to Bones instead. However, there were some definite highlights to the story, especially revolving around what happens to Denise. I enjoyed the story that overarched the romance, and the dual POV added a lot to the book. I liked the story more than the previous two Cat and Bones books.
Tavia Gilbert turns in a worthy performance. I like that she maintained the voices for each individual character from earlier books, even with the change from Cat’s narration to the alternating POVs. I’ve listened to books before when the narrator keeps the same primary voice with each book, even when the characters change, which is annoying.
Overall a good PNR, but not spectacular.
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (NHW #2 / NH #4.2)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness is the second spinoff story within the Night Huntress World. This book centers on Bones’s co-ruler and grandsire, the powerful Mencheres. In a previous book, we learned that Mencheres has lost his ability to see visions of the future, but what we didn’t know until now, is that he does see the endless darkness of death. We also learn that Mencheres has been in a millennia-old feud with a fellow Egyptian vampire, who feels Mencheres received the gifts of power that should have been his. Tired of this feud, and ready to end his life, Mencheres feels the best thing for his people and Bones is to die, so he allows a group of ghouls to kill him. That is until PI Kira Graveling accidentally finds the ghouls beating up on Mencheres and tries to save him. However, once it’s apparent that she’s seen too much and he can’t wipe her mind of the events, Mencheres must take Kira with him until he can figure out how to make her forget what she knows. What he doesn’t count on is feeling something for her – the first woman to effect him in nearly 3,000 years.
Now this is a paranormal romance I can get behind! Right from the start I throughly enjoyed Eternal Kiss of Darkness. Complaints I had about early books in the series are null and void. Kira is a breath of fresh air. She’s smart, independent, kind, spunky, and everything I love about a heroine. Mencheres and Kira are a perfect match; his nobility, and the kindness hidden under his barriers, shines when he’s with her. I love that from the start there is a strong mutual attraction; however, neither will act on it because he’s holding her captive. Sharing the story from alternating POVs gives the listener (reader) a richer understanding of the romance and story.
The narration is equally strong. Ms. Gilbert has created individual, unique voices for each character, and I appreciate that she’s maintained them throughout the series, and even when the books are being shared from different POVs. Additionally, Ms. Gilbert excels at inserting non-speaking sounds and conveying strong emotions in her narration.
All-in-all, Eternal Kiss of Darkness is a wonderful paranormal romance, full of drama, but not dramatic. I enjoyed the Egyptian mythology. So far this is my favorite of all the Night Huntress books.