Friday, October 16, 2015

Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Title: Halfway to the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 30 October 2007

Flirting with the Grave...
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.

This was an attempted re-read. I first read this book years ago. Sometime around when it first came out. I had issues with it then. I had more issues with it now. I look back at years-old reviews and I know that I was incredibly forgiving back then, but I don't think I realized just how forgiving until I read this. Back then, I read everything to the end, no matter what. Now I get bored and will gladly stop in the first few pages. In the interest of nostalgia (and remembering that I enjoyed some of the sequels a lot), I persevered quite far in this book, but still only to 57%.

This book is a strong mix of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. In fact, going by my own rules I can barely decide where I'd classify it. If it weren't for the other books in the series, which I know point more to UF, I'd go PNR. At any rate, plan on sexy times, a lot of innuendo (for the job, of course), and insta-love. Yeah, yeah, it's been a few weeks, but they still both fall in love really quickly. Cat is strong and kick-ass, with a huge chip on her shoulders about vampires. Understandably, but even when evidence clearly points in a different direction, that there could possibly be an exception to the rule. I liked her, but she irritated me at the same time.

Bones, well, I don't know what to say here. I remember loving Bones the first time I read this. He was swoon-worthy. Maybe he still is. He's stronger than Cat, of course, being centuries older, but he'd never really hurt her. And he doesn't want her involved in hunting down these really dangerous vampires - never mind that she seems to keep getting into the middle of it and probably the best way to keep her safe is to keep her close. He trains her, and gives her the tools that she needs to continue doing what she wants to do. I love that. But what I didn't love was how quickly he fell in love with her. Why do so many of the UF heroes like prickly girls. Not just strong-minded, but these women are genuinely mean and jerks to the hero most of the time. They give off mixed signals like they're a strobe lights. They are, in turns, turned-on and disgusted by them. They attack and then kiss. They run away, and then demand. But he fell in love with her the first time she challenged him. That'd intrigue me too, but love? Meh.

The storyline moves at about a snails' pace. It's soooooooo slooooooooooow. My gods, can't it get moving already? For all the tempting and killing of vampires you'd think something more would be happening. But instead I feel like I'm just reading page after page after page of Cat's internal monologuing. Should she or shouldn't she? She's disappointing her mother. She's shaming her grandparents. She's doing everything for someone else's life, instead of her own. I just want her to live for herself (and this is a complaint I remember having throughout the series).

Then there's the corniness. Keep in mind that Bones is basically Spike (as confirmed by the author at one time). There were too many times I rolled my eyes at their interactions. They felt forced instead of organic.

I couldn't do it anymore. So I quit. Even if I do remember the next couple of books getting better, I just finally had to admit defeat and recognize that it was over between us.

Grade: DNF / C

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