Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

December 30, 2013 Paranormal, Reviews 8

halfway-to-the-grave-lgHalf-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

This was in my massive of pile of To-Be-Read paperbacks, another book I snagged at Barnes and Noble over a year ago, but hadn’t read yet. I needed to get my writing mojo back (I’m working on a paranormal romance next) and I needed to take a break from my e-reader so I dove into the pile and came up with the first in the Night Huntress series.

Cat has been killing vampires in order to restore her mother’s honor, since the ripe age of sixteen. Quickly we learn that she’s killing any undead creature she can find, seducing vampires in bars and clubs without taking the time to figure out whether or not they are actual undead bad guys or vampires who just need a snack. Enter Bones, a two hundred year old British vampire who is taking none of Cat’s homicidal shit. After beating the everloving crap out of her, Cat confesses that she is hunting the vampires for her mom. Bones is a good vampire looking for some vampire baddies and he blackmails Cat into teaming up with him so they can hunt down a particular bad vampire that is running a sex trade/human meal service.

I’m conflicted about this one. Cat/Catherine/Bone’s Kitten is fifty percent badass, fifty percent really annoying brat. There were points in the story where I really felt like Cat was an immature teenager and not this twenty-two year old knife wielding killer. In other portions, Cat is take charge and tough and even funny. She genuinely cares about the young women who are going missing around the Eastern United States. She’s not giving up until she can put a stop to what’s happening with them. She cares about her mom and her grannie parents, but then a few pages later immature Cat is back and I just wanted to shake her.

Her relationship with Bones is odd. He is your standard alpha-vamp, but they seemed mismatched. Other than her sick fighting skills, I couldn’t really understand what he saw in Cat. I guess this is the issue when it comes to all Old Ass Vamp meets Twenty-Something Hottie situations. This is where the fated-mates thing in PNR actually works for me, but that doesn’t happen here so moving on. Bones is worldly and old as fuck. He has an interesting background. He’s not a natural billionaire which I really appreciated. He doesn’t only hang out with other white guy vamps which was refreshing. He’s extra smart and resourceful. He needs to use Cat to accomplish his mission. Emphasis on the use, so yeah, I really couldn’t understand why he fell for her so hard. But he did and I just had to deal with it.

After their initial love connection, I actually found the sex to be unnecessary. It was written just fine, but I didn’t move the story forward and it didn’t really change their relationship beyond the first time. What saves the story is the action plot and the fight scenes. Cat is a kickass killer. I loved that about her. The last portion of the book is freaking awesome. The last portion of the book is also missing Bones. No spoiler here, but Cat carries the book to it’s conclusion which was wonderful and refreshing.

In the end, I’m not sure this needed to be a paranormal romance. It would have worked as a straightforward Urban Fantasy if Bones and Cat just stayed friends or partners. I’m going to read the next story at some point because I do want to see more of Cat the fighter. I can take or leave her relationship with Bones though.

Final Assessment: Should you read it? Sure, give it a whirl. Grade: B/B-

Series: The Night Huntress Novels

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Beks

A queer romance author of color who will read just about anything, for science, or this blog. She gravitates toward post Civil War era historical romance, westerns, BDSM erotic romance, LGBT romance and erotica. She’s interested in trying out more New Adult titles with multicultural characters, romances/erotic titles of any subgenre with Transgender characters, stories with Native American characters, especially if they are written by Native American authors, horror and romantic suspense.

8 Responses to “Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost”

  1. Ridley

    I read this three or four years ago after just about everyone recommended it (lots of carrying on about Bones’ magnificence as well) and it was … ok. I bought the sequel after I finished this one, but I’ve never felt compelled to read it.

  2. Merrian

    I read this book when it first came out and couldn’t get over the fact the heroine is a serial killer and her targets were killed for who they were not what they had done. If her mother had been raped by a Jewish man and she was killing any Jew who crossed her path what would we be saying about this book? While HttG was an average read as a PNR/UF for me, it really lacked a moral centre or perhaps revealed one too clearly.

    The ethics of the violence in PNR/UF is an interesting thing to consider because there is an awful lot of support for vigilante justice in the genre. Yet in one breathe we are horrified by stand your ground laws and killings under their aegis and in another we praise books like this. I am including myself in the ‘we’ here because I am the one reading problematic books.

    I know I read a lot of PNR/UF and there can be catharsis in ‘justice’ being done and ‘bad guys’. In some ways the violence in these stories can also be a truth that lifts the veil from the way our worlds do violence to us and helplessness in the face of this reality. For me this book was a bridge too far.

  3. nu

    @Merrian: I think it diminishes those issues a bit to apply them in all seriousness to this kind of fiction, tbh, since there’s no anti-vampirism in reality. Then again, I do feel disturbed when heroines kill on whims or for a vendetta, etc. If the author tries to justify her heroine’s actions, I try to suspend disbelief -in this case, the baddies are secret and can be put down by none other than the heroine, or something, and aren’t they killers?- but it’s not always a sell. Series that have no moral center as you say can put me off, but they’re usually more extreme, like True Blood. For me, I didn’t really take to Halfway to the Grave because it read like Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) fanfiction, and I’m not a fan of published fanfiction.

  4. Beks

    @Ridley: I’ll be honest, I have so many other books to read and PNR series I want to try it’ll probably be a few years before I get to book 2 on this one.

  5. Beks

    @Merrian: I agree with Nu in that it’s a little much to compare killing vampires to killing actual groups of human beings in real life. Especially since the vampires in this series aren’t persecuted at all. That said, I didn’t care for Cat or her mother’s logic either. I figure if Cat is so bad ass and her mother know what her rapist looks like or can at all recount some of the events from that she should be able to track the guy down and just kill him. Also why not uses that badassery to stalk human rapists if you have issues with disposing of bodies. I could go on, but yes the logic in the violence here was pretty flawed.

    I also wish Bones had offered Cat a real apology after kidnapping and beating her up. Her never did. But love and shit…

  6. Isobel Carr

    This was DNF for me (and I’d heard such good things). Cat was beyond annoying and juvenile, but nothing was as annoying as Bones’s “Britishism”. It was just so hokey and badly done.

  7. meoskop

    This was a DNF for me when I tried it. It read like Buffy/Spike fanfic and was too DV for me. I like your point that the romance felt forced and the book would’ve worked better as an urban fantasy. I think that’s absolutely true. If I wasn’t reading them as a romantic couple it would’ve been easier to tolerate the dynamic.