11 September 2008

Review: Jeaniene Frost - Halfway To The Grave

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 30, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061245089
ISBN-13: 978-0061245084

Half-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.


Catherine Crawfield a.k.a Cat is an anomaly. A half breed vampire, born from a human mother and a vampire father she spreads her avenging menace from her teenage years. She is raised by her mother who has her reasons to hate vampires and she is the driving force behind the hunting habits of Cat. One night it is “business as usual” for Cat when she encounters another kind of vampire. He makes it very clear to her that she has been staking green horn vampires and is in no way a match for him. Bones is a master vampire and has an agenda of his own in to discovering what is behind the disappearances of many women.
Now they team up in a joined venture and Cat is educated in Vampire 101…

They say there is a first time for everything and I experienced one upon reading Halfway To The Grave. It is the first time that a book has made me feel such strong emotional contradictions. The first hundred or so pages I got acquainted with two people that irked me for various reasons explained later on in this review. Then in the middle of the book I was captivated by a plot that reveals so much more than I initially expected. To finish it off with such a bittersweet ending it tugged at my heartstrings leaving me with the immediate urge to find the sequel in this series and dive right back into the mind and life of Cat.

Cat is tough-as-nails and tries to rid the world of all evil called vampires and in doing so she tries to make amends for the pain her mother has suffered. Cat, with her acerbic thoughts takes you in to her life very easily and from page one I thought: ‘Ok, a 21 year old young woman, hunting vampires, at times vinegar thoughts and kicking ass. Am I enjoying this kind of characterization?’ Still she intrigued me beyond what logics can explain. Especially when Cat and Bones engage themselves in each other’s lives. Bones is the kind of vampire that has lived to long and cuts right to the chase but still reveals his own agenda in due time. He is English, has the accent to prove it, has an arrogant nature to boot and packs the powers to match the Master Vampire he is.

The match of Cat and Bones delivers great dialogues, it is sharp as a razor, laced with quirky humor and a bit of salt and vinegar to spice it up. It is Bones that rubbed me the wrong way with his luv and pet endearments, it is not something I can relate to and I perceived them as a bit sarcastic while it wasn’t probably intended to. That, combined with the youth of Cat is what made it slightly harder for me to relate to her, had me riding a two sided feeling. But I was getting to know two people and I stuck to it for as much as the story irked me it also made me revel in it plot and dialogue wise! What was going on, what entailed the past of Bones, who was he, where was Cat going with her independent nature but most of all who were they after and what was the identity of the villain?

Once I succumbed to the pull of the story I got fully invested in the relationship of Bones and Cat. They surprised me, irked me, endeared me, enthralled me and the ending, which is a mere cliff hanger to the sequel: One Foot In The Grave, had me all teary eyed as my heart reached out to both of them. I did not get any closure romance or story wise but with Cat and Bones I did not want it too! Halfway To The Grave is just an introduction to a tale that cannot be told in 350 pages. Cat and Bones will demand more and I’m glad that Jeaniene Frost is giving it to them. In the end I am more than willing to see Cat grow from her starting point in this novel.

The passion is unmistakably present between the main characters and it all starts with the verbal seduction as it slowly extends to touch each other, taste, feel and express. Because it was slowly build up it gave more depth to their relationship but also to their characters. Bones but mostly Cat, needs to go through her own process of finally discovering her feelings and it just gives this story another punch. Add the emotions that drives them, the challenge Bones presents for Cat as he asks her to look beyond the black and white of: humans are good, vampires are bad. He ultimately stirs the foundation of Cat’s world with his wisdom and point of view, trying to teach her that what is important if she wants to survive.

The plot and romance is well balanced with the character development and for me it all blends half way in the story to a mix that will bring rapture to the reader of Urban Fantasy novels. I can honestly say that when I read the first few chapters of Halfway To The Grave I didn’t expected to close this book and realize I had myself a winner in the Urban Fantasy genre.
Jeaniene Frost gets a rise out of me and stirs my reading world with mesmerizing but flawed characters and a plot that screams for a continuance, both in story as for me to read it! All in all it turned out to be an eventful first time.

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