Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost How did I get it: The library.

Why did I get it: I keep hearing about this series and about Bones so I was curious.

How I would rate it: 2 out of 5 stars.

Summary:

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 new found 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.

Review: Concept-wise, the book was fun. Vampires are all over the place right now, but I thought they worked well enough here. Was the wheel re-invented? No, but I didn’t need it to be. I liked Bones, I liked Bones’ backstory, I liked the bad guys being absolutely unliked, and I liked Spade. And I definitely liked the green eyes effect because I’m a sucker –no pun intended– for green eyes.

Plot-wise, the book was a little uneven but enjoyable, and I liked the writing well enough. In fact even the idea of a vampire and half-vampire hunting bad vampires together was intriguing, but ultimately bogged down by both the point of view of the main character and her inability to grow or retain new information. Cat and the really awful decisions she made throughout the book was what really prevented me from loving Halfway to the Grave. I am almost positive that some aspects of her behavior was intentional in regards to the series over all because this is the first book in a series and Cat is much older in the second book. 

Ultimately, I can only go with what I have read in terms of forming an opinion about this book. And in book one, Cat is only twenty-two, extremely sheltered, raised by a bunch of crazies, and pretty much wrong about most people including herself. I can appreciate that to a degree, but unfortunately I’m not the sort of reader that really gets excited when irritating people are depicted in a convincingly annoying manner. I wanted to appreciate that Cat was powerful and competant, but she was also dangerous, reckless, and often deliberately cruel to vampires who didn’t deserve it at all. 

Cat was at her best when she was having moments of doubt or freeing herself from her mother’s conditioning by allowing Bones into her life, but those moments were surrounded on all four sides with scenes of judging, hating on, and just plain being awful to everyone including Bones. I mean, Cat was just obnoxious and mean. As a reader, I especially do not like when being a tough character, particularly a female one, equals savagely mopping the floor with people including allies. I don’t think that makes a character tough. I think that makes a character a bully. As a reader, I am honestly unlikely to form any level of attachment to characters who are unwilling to listen or learn but still somehow manage to have another fictional someone else think they’re wonderful. So, as you might have guessed, Cat pretty much ruined even the best part of the book for me which was Bones.

Oh, Bones. I loved his take on things and I loved his ability to cut through Cat’s BS to the heart of the problems she was facing, which helped because all of Cat’s problems involved her inability to accept herself and thus to accept others. I especially loved that he loved Cat before she could admit to loving him… BUT I still have no idea what he actually saw in Cat. She was horrible to him throughout the entire book. The moments where Bones was incredibly Spike-like were sort of distracting, but really not that bad outside of the fact that his accent disappeared every now and again. Besides, he had a unique backstory and Spike would never have put up with Cat. Never in a million, trillion years. 

Yet in spite of Bones being pretty endearing and even hilarious on occasion, I still have to add that there were plenty of other elements in this book that created problems for me. I didn’t mind the graphic nature of certain sexual scenes, although I do think it’s worth being away of. And there’s still Cat’s incredibly tedious and awful family to consider. The premise and actions of the book rely pretty heavily on the reader being able to magically suspend all disbelief or notions to the contrary and assume that someone would not rebel against their horrible family but opt to kill vampires instead in order to make family members happy.  

Seeing as all her family did was being verbally unkind and abusive, I’m not sure what made Cat want their approval. Her mother was absolutely vile, and I don’t care why she was vile. I wanted her to go away not end up looked after by anyone at all. Did her mother have a rough life? Sure. Did I think it made any sense for Cat to care about her and hate on vampires instead? Not at all. I found it really shocking that even when it becomes crystral clear that Sisyphus is more likely to get his boulder up a mountainside in the Pit of Tartarus than Cat is to make her mother happy for more than a fraction of a second, Cat still is willing to sacrifice her own happiness and her own well being to be with her.

Without a doubt the events leading up to and the ending of this book itself were probably the most annoying aspect of the book ouside of Cat’s behavior since not only did it involve what I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but the entire set of concluding chapters were actually irrelevant and ultimately pointless. No matter what happened in the book, nothing could ever change Cat’s mind for the better in regards to anything. So towards the end a lot of action happens quickly, a lot of double-crosses take place, and then nothing comes of it at all since Cat arrived at the same awful decision as before. 

In conclusion, I am reading the next book solely for you at this point, Bones, in the hopes that you can help Cat out. Please do not let me down at bad as Jericho Barrons did!

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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5 Responses to Review: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

  1. Hmm, I’ve been hearing so much about this series. It does sound like a fun series to read. For fun. 🙂 thanks for the review.

  2. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #10 | CSI: Librarian

  3. June says:

    Great review! Except that Spike would totally have put up with Cat. He was a fool for love, not to mention love’s bitch:). He put up with Drusilla’s insanity (literal insanity) for a hundred years, and Buffy treated him like crap. When that vamp loves, he loves no matter what.

    • Thanks and LOL you’re probably right. I think for me though the problem is I feel like Buffy and Dru were way more worth putting up with than Cat.

      I have no plans on reading the novels where Cat and Bones’ vampire friends get girlfriends, but I’m going to give the main series another try at some point. I’m still hopeful that Cat gets better and more likable. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Disappointing Reads of 2011 | CSI: Librarian

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