Sunday, February 10, 2013

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

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.

Where to Buy

This is an excellent story that will take you on an emotional journey and shines a harsh light on things like the nature of prejudice that might have you seeing it in a different light. Readers should probably be warned that this book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger that will leave you a bit slackjawed perhaps that it could end that way, so you might want to have the second book handy by the time you finish this one if cliffhangers bother you. Whether the questions get answered in the next book or not, you'll most likely be wanting the answers at the end of this one.

Catherine Crawfield, better known as Cat, is a half-vampire, half-human hybrid, and is the only one of her kind to the best of anyone's knowledge. She inherited watered-down versions of most (but not all) vampire abilities which give her a distinct edge over humans and make her better able to pursue her chosen hobby, namely, killing vampires. She's only 22/23 at the time of the story, but she's been hunting vampires since she was 16, so is already quite experienced at it and has gained a certain sort of maturity in the process. Her youth still shows through in many ways though in her attitudes and reactions, particularly in the way she can't keep from blushing furiously whenever the topic of sex comes up in a serious way. She does grow up quite a bit more during the course of the books, and I like how we get to see all the different stages of attitude and emotion that Cat goes through and that her reactions are always believable given her mindset at the time. She might make decisions lightly and flippantly to begin with, but as the story progresses and she begins to better understand some of the ramifications of her actions, then she starts to consider things more and acts less and less rashly. She makes mistakes, but she learns from them, and eventually stops making the same mistakes all the time at least.

Bones is a master vampire that Cat meets one night when she's out at a bar trolling for a vampire to kill. He gives her the brushoff at first, and she's quite flummoxed by it since she's never been turned down before when she put on her charming and sexy act. She runs into him again the following night, and he takes her up on it then, somewhat to her chagrin. He proceeds to take her captive, and the rest, as they say, is history more or less. It turns out that he's something of a vampire bounty hunter, and they enter into a business arrangement of sorts, which eventually develops into a romantic relationship. To say he is experienced at what he does is an understatement, for he's been doing it for decades, if not centuries. He's authoritative, and very much a take-charge, do-it-my-way, kind of guy, but he is respectful of Cat's abilities, and usually stops short of trying to outright forbid her to do something, even if his instincts are screaming at him to do so, though that may just be because he knows that she isn't likely to stay put and stay out of things just because he tells her to. He is kind, caring, and very tender with Cat (when he's not training her to fight at least), and generally is the sort of many most women want to have, but he's also chillingly ruthless when the situation calls for it.

The emerging romance between Cat and Bones is very sweet, but not without it's bumps and pitfalls. To start with, Cat has to learn to adjust her views of vampires in order to work with Bones and learn to trust him to have her back and to not take advantage and use her for dinner just because he can. That's only the first of the hurdles she/they have to get over, and while she comes a long way during the course of the book, she still hasn't fully overcome things by the end of the book. She makes a decision at the end that will have significant consequences in the future I'm sure, though to be fair, she's far from happy about making it, and only does so because she feels she has no other option. Whether or not that's true, I'm not sure, though I'm not convinced that she truly explored all possible options before making up her mind, and in that she shows that she still has a bit more growing up to do probably.

As conflicted as I am about the end, I still think this was a great book, and I can easily see why so many people say it's a must read for anyone that likes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. As I noted above, this one does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, and there's no HEA here, though there is plenty of hope that there will be one for them eventually, once they manage to get past all of the issues they face, both from external threats and internal issues of their own. I'd probably give this 4¾ stars to be totally honest, though that is probably just over splitting hairs about a few things that I personally don't care for. If you like UF and PNR, read this, and once you have, you'll most likely be anxious to read the next one. I know I am.

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