May 11, 2010

Review--Cheat the Grave


Las Vegas socialite and otherworldly avenger Joanna Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality--abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child...and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies--and her enemies have nothing to fear.

Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail--an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who's determined to rip much more from Joanna than merely her now-fragile life. Survival is no longer an option in this dark realm where good and evil have blurred into confusing shades of gray--unless she can gather together an army of onetime foes and destroy everything she once believed in.

WOW. Cheat the Grave was by far my favorite in the Signs of the Zodiac series by far! City of Souls was awesome, but Cheat the Grave goes far beyond that! This was my second early copy of a new release that isn't out yet and my last. Oh well. It was fabulous to have two books I was dying to read months early. Although Cheat the Grave has moved its release date up to May 25, so it won't be too much longer now for the rest of you readers!

So like before and always, I won't go too much into the plot since the book isn't even out yet and just stick to basic positives.

The book picks up a short time after the events in City of Souls. As we know Joanna gave up everything to save the life of a child. Now her troop and troop leader have turned their backs on her. Worse of all is Warren's betrayal of her at that moment in the end of book 4, still haunts Joanna and having interactions with him now in book 5 doesn't bode well with her.

Joanna is not happy at all with her troop leader or even her troop who blindly follow Warren's orders no matter how obscene they may be. But Joanna--or Olivia as she is know to the humans, the mortals, is moving on with her life. She is taking charge of her father's company and helping out her friends plan the wedding of the century. Her best friend's--Olivia's best friend's--mother is getting married and Olivia is helping out and attending the parties and other social events that go along with it, but this puts Olivia out in the spotlight--so to speak--and the killer who is after her will have no trouble at all in finding her.

Olivia then learns something has happened--won't tell what--and this is when she turns to the people she once thought of as enemies for help, or rather she admits to needing help and they are her only option since her troop shuns her.

There are some big, major spoilers/secrets that I would love to divulge in, but I can't. What I can hint at is that problems that occurred in City of Souls return here and the problems start anew and we see something different to them. That's it. I'm done with that.

Other spoilers/secrets that weren't in City of Souls also pop up, but again, won't say, but they are good and were definitely ones I was anticipating.

I know, I'm not giving much of hints, but I can't find a way to give you a hint that still leaves you thinking and doesn't give you the answer, at least there's only 2 more weeks to the book releases.

The ending was good, but not overly satisfying, only because it makes me want to read book 6 right away and Vicki is still working on it. She said at RT she sticks to one book a year, which is totally understandable. I've learned how much work goes into writing one book, not even counting the amount of work and time that goes into trying to sell that book to an agent and then a publisher. So the ending was good, but it was sort of cliffhanger-like in that a few problems are still there and we have a whole year to wait to see how they will be resolved. I am curious to how that will play out and since RT is in LA next year, I won't be able to afford to go, so I'll be waiting with everyone else for the actual release date. Oh well. In theory I should be too busy with my new job and writing my own book to go, but still really would like to go. Shooting for 2012 though!

Back to the book, the pacing was done extremely well. Vicki balances Joanna/Olivia's life wonderfully. There are times when she is Olivia--social debutante running a casino business and helping her friend plan her wedding and then she's Joanna--ex-Zodiac troop member trying to make the world a better place still all while dodging numerous attempts on her life and avoiding her father the Tulpa.

There was quite a bit more Tulpa action as well, for Skamar--the tulpa Joanna named--battles with the Tulpa constantly and tries to help Joanna out as well when she can.

Overall this was a fantastic read! There was a lot of secrets going on throughout this book and by saying that I mean the secrets are being revealed. Some things were ultimately shocking and others were just surprising. Some things I wished were touched on more, but the lack of focus on it means that it might be coming up in the next book. Joanna seems to think so at least. :)

A terrific novel overall! As I said my favorite in the series so far, but by book 6 I might change my mind again! And I love the cover choice. Remember my post from March 2? There were two cover options for Cheat the Grave, one had a shirtless guy and the other was this one? Here's the link. Even after reading it, I am still not sure who this mysterious guy is supposed to be. I have my speculations, none which I say for spoiler purposes, but still I wonder.

After you've read it, let me know what your guess was if you can remember that there used to be a guy over Joanna's shoulder.

Check back later for my Teaser Tuesday post, I have to find a good set of sentences in my current read!

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