Monday, October 3, 2011

Halfway to the Grave, Book 1

Title: Halfway to the Grave
Series: Night Huntress
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publication: October 30th, 2007

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.

Chris' Review:

This was my first Jeaniene Frost book, and it certainly won't be my last. Original characters? Nope. Twisty turny plot line? Uh uh. High tension story telling? Your joking right? Beautiful prose? You can't see, but I'm smirking at you. Well then, what was so great about this book, Chris?!

I'll say this, it might be a bit early to make this comparison, having read only one of her books, but I think that Jeaniene may be the Nora Roberts of the PnR genre. I don't know if she intended to write camp here, or if it just worked out that way, but the ride from start to finish was a blast. This book was pure supernatural candy and I loved every minute of it. Alright, not EVERY minute of it, I didn't give it 5 stars, after all, but it was well worth my time.

Cat is a 22 year old vampire slayer. She's been knocking off the oversized mosquitoes, with her mother's blessing, since she was about 16. Then one day... errrr night... she runs into a little more than she can handle. Cat's life will never be the same, okay, well it won't be ALL THAT different. She'll still wack blood sucking vermin every chance she gets, she'll just do it with more pizazz.

As I said already, Jeaniene's characters are by no means original. Cat is your stereo typical, kick ass vampire slayer and Bones is your run of the mill bad boy love interest. Her brilliance in constructing them is how over the top she is about it. I know the comparison has been made about a thousand times, but think Buffy the Vampire Slayer and your pretty much there.

Thru much of this book Cat is tempered with a believable innocence that makes her seem nearly as vulnerable as she is lethal. This is a fantastic combination because it creates a necessary place in the story for her would be protector, Bones. He's not just tacked on as a cosmetic piece to make the ladies all hot and bothered. Don't get me wrong, Cat is all about girl power, but Bones gets to let his protective instincts out. Again, think Nora Roberts.

My major complaint in this one is really a fairly minor one. It is clear going in that Jeaneine intended to write a series, thus there are copious plot threads left dangling at the end of the book. That wasn't so much a problem for me. No, my major heartache is that things develope a bit to fast:

Click here to view Spoiler :

I would have liked to have seen the romantic tension stretched out across multiple books. I can see how she intends to re-introduce the tension from the way the book ended, but it won't be the same. There is nothing quite like that period where two people are first getting to know each other and begin to let their guards down.

In a similar vein, I think Cat's martial abiltiy was amped up to quickly. Not from a book "time" standpoint, Jeaneine did a good job of simulating the passage of time so that the leap in skill was at least somewhat believable. But, instead, I would have preferred that it take us at least a couple of books before she's simultaneously downing multiple vampire opponents with the greatest of ease.

The danger of this kind of book is if you come in taking it too seriously based on all the positive reviews. This isn't a very serious book (not that I'm saying it's a comedy, it certainly isn't). As with all good camp, this book is somewhat tongue in cheek, without beating you over the head with goofiness. If you read it for what it is, I think you'll come away happier for the experience!

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P.A.Lupton said...

aAshley, I agree with you that Halfway to the Grave isn't the most original story out there, but I loved it anyway. Jeaniene Frost's character are great and I really like the banter. The series gets much better in the next book (book 2 is my favorite). It's definitely worth the read.

lauren Johnson said...

Awesome blog and I love the post!