Saturday, July 31, 2010

Re-Read Challenge Review: Half way to the Grave

Halfway to the Grave
Jeaniene Frost

Urban Fantasy

Nighthuntress/Book 1

Avon/October 2007


From the author's website ~

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 re-read is due to the fact that I liked this book the first time so why didn't I continue reading the series? I've got the next two books in the the tbr pile, so I don't have a clue as to why I didn't read them. Time is the most likely culprit. Anyway, I decided this would be one series I would finish reading this year - so the re-read is to refresh my memory.

The story starts with Cat and her night job - hunting and killing vampires. Cat is determined to avenge her mother who was raped by a vampire which resulted in Cat's birth. Cat has a dry sense of humor to help cope with her bizarre life. She's looked down on by her mother because of Cat's father and Cat being a half-blood. Cat is driven by guilt and revenge and seduces her vampire victims into thinking they'll get lucky with her then she goes for the kill. She spends her nights trolling the bars, looking for vampires to kill. And her mom knows about it! Yep, good old mom even encourages Cat to kill vamps. I really didn't like her mom. Big, guilty-tripping weight around Cat's neck. And Cat's killing adventures lead her to Bones.

Bones - the only way I could think of him is as a wealthier version of Spike (as in Buffy's Spike). Bones so reminded me of Spike I secretly wondered if Spike's crazy-ass vamp girlfriend Drusilla would show up. I do remember the first read thinking that Bones reminded me of Spike but I don't remember it being so strong. Bones is a very old, very powerful vampire. He takes a liking to Cat, after she tries to kill him. Bones recruits Cat to help him catch his next target. I liked Bones this time through but now I'm wondering if I liked him for him or because he reminded me of Spike.

Cat and Bones begin training and they begin feeling the pull of physical attraction. Cat doesn't want to be attracted to a vampire. That's like the worst thing that could happen to her. Bones, on the other hand, knows what he wants and he can be very underhanded in getting it. I had a few qualms about their relationship. Cat is a virgin but still knows how to play at seductress. It came off as very odd - like she couldn't make up her mind what she wanted to be. Here she'd been killing vampires since she was 16, she's 22 now, and now she's attracted to a vampire. It seemed like Bones is the only one who cared about Cat - but he's an "evil" vampire. Or that's what Cat believed, that all vampires are evil. So Bones throws her a curve when he shows he cares but it could only be that he needs her to get to his target.

Bones training sessions with Cat are meant to be sexy but I found them less than. I don't remember the sexual tension and sex scenes from the first time but this time I was pretty meh about them. I do like the dialogue between Cat and Bones. Usually funny and quick witted with Bones having some great lines. There were times when Cat really showed her youth and her street smarts seemed less than what you would expect. Which was strange when you consider she's been hunting vampires, alone, since she was sixteen. Sometimes her naivety was hard to believe.

The ending is a cliff-hanger which is not doubt one of the reasons why I picked up the second book. This time through I'm not as enthralled as I remember being the first time. It could be that at the time, there was a lot of buzz about the book and I got caught up in it. That's always a possibility. Whatever it was, I do plan to continue with book 2 since I already have it. I hope the character of Cat matures in the next book and Bones becomes less of a Spike reminder and more his own distinct character. I'm curious to see if both Cat and Bones will change and become more solid characters in the next installment.

Rating: B


  1. Great review, Leslie. For some reasons, I never tried this series... I think it was the reference to Spike, which by the way, comes up in almost every review I've read of this book.

    The mom sounds awful... and seriously, I've been wondering lately why these rape victims keep the baby. They've gone through something horrible and I'm really sorry for them... but giving birth to a baby you cannot love is as awful :(

  2. This was a great review, but Spike? Are you continuing with the series this time? You don't sound so excited about it. :D

  3. Nath ~ I'm not surprised about the references to Spike - it's very strong and hard to overlook.

    The mom was a tool. I think she enjoyed laying the guilt trip on Cat. Misery loves company and all that.

    Hils ~ This one was hard to grade - some of it bothered me but I still finished and want to find out what happens next - darn cliffhanger! I thought I had the next 2 books but can only find the next one - so I'll read that & see if I want to continue.

  4. I really liked this one when I read it, but I never watched an episode of Buffy so I had no Spike issues to get over. I enjoyed the second one a little less, but I still liked the series arc and Cat & Bones together, so I bought the third book. Alas, it sits on the TBR.

  5. Christine ~ No Buffy? I'm shocked. LOL I do like it enough to give the next one a try since I've already got it. :)