Review: Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) by Jeaniene FrostWednesday, December 19, 2007 1:00
Halfway to the Grave is a hybrid of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Since I know it’s a flashpoint for romance purists, I’ll tell you up front that it has an urban fantasy ending. But, for those that felt cheated by the ending of Cameron Dean’s Candace Steele trilogy (which I enjoyed immensely), I’ve included a message from Jeaniene Frost’s website:
Author’s note about the Night Huntress series: HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE is the first book in an urban fantasy romance series with half-vampire heroine Cat Crawfield. My heroine and hero have a difficult road ahead of them and they will have to work hard to earn their HEA, so their story isn’t over with the first book. Hope you come along for the ride!
So, is this series worth your investment? OH YEAH! Once I picked it up, there was no putting it down until I finished. The worst thing I can say about it is that book 2, One Foot in the Grave, won’t be released until April 2008!
Cat was conceived when her mother was raped by a vampire. As her odd “differences” became apparent, Cat’s less than affectionate (and possibly not altogether sane) mother insisted she not let anyone find out and refused to talk about them. It wasn’t until Cat was 16 that her mother finally told her the truth and then, with her mother’s encouragement, Cat decided to devote her life to finding and killing vampires. Although she often resents her mother’s pressure to continue the killings, she craves her mother’s approval and doesn’t stop because she’s finally making her Mama proud.
Through trial and error, she becomes a bad-ass vamp executioner. Or so she thinks. Turns out it was her half-vamp abilities combined with the dumb luck of only luring young vamps to their death. Her luck runs out when she meets Bones, an old vamp who hunts other vampires as an occupation. One well placed punch from him takes her out of the game and into his dangerous captivity.
Once he believes she isn’t working for one of his many enemies, Bones realizes that Cat could be very useful as his bounty hunter protege, and offers her a deal– if she’ll let him train her to be his partner, he’ll teach her what she needs to know to kill vamps and help her find the vamp who fathered her.
What follows is the boot camp from hell. Bones pulls no punches, and systematically beats the daylight [hee] out of Cat trying to prepare her for the dangers of hunting the older and truly dangerous vamps that he regularly hunts. But in the process, he finds himself more and more fascinated with her.
To Cat, vampires are evil creatures that must all die. Period. But she’ll let this one live. For now. At least until he teaches her everything she needs to know about vampires.
The gradual development of the relationship between Cat and Bones is fascinating to read. In addition to struggling with her own beliefs about vamps, Cat is also aware that her mother will turn her back on her if she finds out that she not only hasn’t killed Bones, but is working with him! Combine all that with her awkward history with men, and Cat feels torn apart and confused by the sexual tension between her and Bones.
This book was also engrossing because Cat and Bones aren’t perfect. They don’t always win. Things doesn’t always go their way. They make mistakes. People, including those they care about, die. I hope Frost continues that with book 2, because the story has the potential to make them too perfect and that would ruin the appeal of both the characters and the story.
The primary reason I’m not giving this book a higher grade is because I don’t think it will appeal to readers who aren’t already paranormal romance AND urban fantasy fans. (see A Duckie’s Guide to Romance) After all, the hero DOES beat the heroine unconscious… a LOT!
But for you fans of the genre that still aren’t convinced, read the summary and chapter 1 here. No really, GO READ IT!