Cheat the Grave, by Vicki Pettersson, is the 5th book in the Sign of the Zodiac series.
Joanna Archer is now a mortal, having given up her powers to save a young girl. Her troop has abandoned her. Now, all she has are her socialite friends, from her late sister’s life. But when she left the Netherworld, she made enemies that don’t care if she can’t fight back. They want her dead. Her only hope lies in a rogue group of former shadow and light troop members, the gray that both sides despise.
Jo/Olivia has grown and changed incredibly through the course of this series. Though, this latest change has left her feeling worthless and helpless. Another big change is that Jo has come to care for her sister’s friends that Jo used to despise. She discovers that they are true friends, loving her for who she is, not what she can do. There are also some shocking revelations involving some of Jo’s other relationships that were the highlight of the story for me.
Because Jo is without powers, she doesn’t get to do the butt-kicking in this installment. And the focus is more on drama, relationships, and staying away from those trying to kill her. That’s not to say the story ever slows. There is no haven or safe place for Jo any longer, so she’s constantly on the move, taking help from whomever she can. And along the way she makes some self-discoveries that change her perception. Ending in a big showdown, with a big surprise, Pettersson certainly delivers in this latest exciting installment.