- File Size: 715 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz (April 22, 2010)
- Publication Date: April 22, 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004KZONSQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,907 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Halfway to the Grave: A Night Huntress Novel Kindle Edition
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Jeaniene Frost is dynamite. Halfway to the Grave is dark, sexy, and supernatural, blended with a touch of humor. I dare you to disagree--Cat will have you staked in five seconds flat. --Cheyenne McCray, New York Times best-selling author
Jeaniene Frost takes Urban Fantasy head on and makes the genre her own with a winning blend of humor, sex, and real emotion that will leave readers eager for more.--Kathryn Smith, USA Today best-selling author
HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE has breathless action, a roller-coaster plot, flashes of dark humor, and a love story that will leave you screaming for more. I devoured it in a single sitting and I can't wait for the sequel. Sign me up for Jeaniene Frost's fan list! --Ilona Andrews, New York Times Bestselling Author --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jeaniene Frost lives with her husband and their very spoiled dog in Florida. Although not a vampire herself, she confesses to having pale skin, wearing a lot of black, and sleeping in late whenever possible. And while she can't see ghosts, she loves to walk through old cemeteries. Jeaniene also loves poetry and animals, but fears children and hates to cook. She is currently at work on the next novel in her bestselling Night Huntress series.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Either way, I love the Night Huntress novels and actually think they're one of the few urban fantasy series I've red which didn't fumble the ball before the end. Are they the best fiction I've read? No. They're not quite as enjoyable to me as the Dresden Files nor do they have the ridiculously over-the-top humor of the Queen Betsy books. Despite this, I'm going to say it's an entertaining sexy series everyone should check out.
What's the premise? Catherine "Cat" Crawfield is the world's only living dhampir and Crispin "Bones" Russell is a 200-year-old Cockney British vampire who is a professional assassin of the undead. After Cat tries to kill Bones, he semi-forcibly recruits her to be his assistant in hunting the worst of their kind. There's a romance which is a central feature of the books but it doesn't sacrifice the plot either.
Part of what makes the romance interesting to is the leads have great chemistry. Bones is a lewd, crude, and sarcastic vampire who makes none of the usual pretensions to suavery so many others do. Cat, by contrast, is capable of being sweet or ruthless as events demand. A lot of paranormal fiction leads lack well-rounded three-dimensional personalities but Cat has multiple sides that all get shown off.
I particularly liked the pair's first meeting and the general absurdity of it all. Catherine tries to seduce Bones in order to get him alone so she can stake him while the latter believes (erroneously) she's a honey trap sent by one of his enemies. They play off of each other well even as Catherine, who thinks all vampires are evil at this point, keeps waiting for him to act horrifically while he's incredulous a nineteen-year-old girl with no combat training has killed almost a dozen vampires before trying it against him.
I like the set up for both their future relationships both personal and professional. It's one of the few romances in paranormal fiction which doesn't require one partner to be utterly dominate to the other. The pair are playful, they fight, and butt heads with neither side overwhelming the other. Speaking as a married man, it's one of the few books which gets the dynamic right in my opinion. At least the kind of relationships I'm familiar with.
Part of what I liked about this book is they really get into the nitty gritty of what TV tropes.org calls "Van Helsing Hate Crimes." Vampires are dangerous predators but thinking creatures, meaning it's a coin toss whether they're evil or not. Cat has been trained her entire life to hate vampires by her mother so it's interesting to watch her long-held prejudices deconstructed before her eyes.
Hate being something designed to make people feel better about themselves by giving them someone to blame is a concept I can get behind and helps elevate the book beyond pure entertainment. Some people dislike using vampires as metaphors for minorities and I get that but I don't mind it as long as people remember to point out the undead are dangerous in ways RL groups aren't.
The supporting cast is very strong with Catherine's traumatized not-actually-that-old mother being one of the highlights. I also liked meeting Spade and the other eccentric vampires created by Ms. Frost. It's rare I think a vampire's history is as interesting as his present but it's very much the case here. I'd enjoy a Bones prequel novel a great deal if Jeaniene Frost ever decides to show events from our jovial undead love interest's perspective.
Hennesey, the villain, is basically just a human trafficker and while this is a strange subject for a urban fantasy novel to deal with, I think it works. Finding out just how high the corruption and greed goes in Ohio of all places is another treat which I give Jeaniene Frost credit for. In this world, vampires are really just minor-league players compared to the human evils around us. I'm also impressed by just how many well-developed minions she manages to create for our vampiric crime lord.
Halfway to the Grave isn't perfect. Bones' British-isms come off as more ridiculous than authentic, Cat comes off as a little too painfully naive, and there's places the book drags a bit but I still enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it for people who want an old-fashioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer-style adventure, complete with its very own Angel or Spike. Well, maybe Buffy the Vampire Slayer for adults as the books do contain sex scenes.
Why then, you may ask, did I get this book? Mostly because Vlad kept referencing how he had already been to such-and-such a place, which either Cat or Bones owned. And I wanted to get more action with Vlad, even if Leila isn't in the picture as of yet. I started reading this book, Halfway to the Grave, and I truly didn't like the beginning. I thought it lacked something interesting, although that might have something to do with the fact that this is the first book Ms. Frost wrote. It leans more heavily on world-building than the Dark Prince quadrilogy, although that too has some background information to work through.
Anyway, I stuck with this book, figuring that I'd slog through however many books I'd have to just to find some action with Vlad included. But funny thing, that. A little over halfway through this book and the action started picking up. As did my interest in the characters and the plot. I began to get invested in Cat's search for the missing girls, her search for her mother after she gets kidnapped, and her love affair with Bones, which her mom would never accept. And then the book ended on such a cliffhanger and I immediately knew I had to get the next book just to find out what will happen, irrespective of whether Vlad or Leila have any role in the plot whatsoever.
As a side note, I liked reading all the deleted/heavily edited scenes. They helped me understand where Cat and Bones were coming from and helped clarify a plot point made when the cops came to Cat's apartment door 3/4 of the way into the actual story. Until I read the backstory, I was confused on that point.
So, this book stands on its own and I can't wait to see what's next for our intrepid heroes!
Top international reviews
I had actually clicked on this book a few times but decided against it, that was until I kept coming across the name "bones" being nominated for alpha awards online etc so I gave in.
What can I say I BLOODY LOVED THIS BOOK!!! (& yes I am also, British) haha. I actually wasn't cringing at the whole use of slang used. So happy he wasn't portrayed as some tea drinking crumpet eating ponse.
The start of this book captured me right away. I absolutely loved bones in an instant with just how sneaky and hilarious he was to his......kitten. he's not evil but let's just say he does not hold back.
When cat challenged him to an all in fight I was actually shocked and laughing about it. How rude and arrogant he is just makes it so much better.
For once I was even interested in the action fighting scenes because of how well written and unique they were.
The end broke my heart and I was actually annoyed at cat for not even asking or discussing with him like she had previously.it was a dramatic turn of events which made me buy the next book without putting my kindle down.
Read this. It's everything a vampire romance action alpha book should be.
Cat is a 22 year old half human/vampire hybrid. She has been raised to resent her vampire side and hate all things vampire by her mother who was raped by one. Cat isn't your typical early twenties girl, yes she spends her weekends at clubs drinking and picking up guys but they are all vampires and none of them survive the night. It is during one of her scouting missions she meets Bones, a master vampire, stronger, faster and cleverer than any other vampire she has ever tried to kill and instead of falling for her trick he calls her bluff and blackmails her into working with him to track his fellow creatures.
"Here it was, a deal with the devil. At what price my soul? He watched me expectantly and threateningly all at the same time. If I said no, I knew what would happen. Save the glass, waitress, I'm drinking from the bottle! Happy hour, with my neck on tap. If I said yes, I'd be agreeing to a partnership with pure evil."
Their partnership begins rocky, Cat very much still wants to kill him and refuses to believe that there is any good, however the more they work together the closer they get and the feelings of hostility change to lust followed by much deeper emotions.
I loved this book, the writing is amazing and the characters come to life on the page. It is so difficult to create a story where both lead characters are liked especially females characters but Cat is such a strong, independent girl but with a sweet and vulnerable side. Her relationship with Bones wasn't the insta-love which I hate but a begrudged friendship which slowly turned into a passionate love.
"I began to fall in love with you when you challenged me to that stupid fight in the cave. There you were, chained up and bleeding, questioning my courage and almost daring me to kill you. Why do you think I struck that bargain with you? Truth is, luv, I did it so you'd be forced to spend time with me. I knew you'd never agree any other way. After all, you had such hang-ups about vampires. Still do, it appears."
Bones is an incredible male lead. Gorgeous, funny, sensitive and not afraid to lay his emotions on the line and fight for the girl he loves. However don't think he is soft cuddy passive vampire, no way his is a ruthless fighter who doesn't think twice about killing.
There is plenty of action and some steamy scenes between the pair. The banter between Cat and Bones brings the element of humour with too many lines I could quote.
The ending made me sad, however I am now desperate to move onto book two. All I can say is please read this amazing book which is the start to a much loved series which keeps growing, you won't regret it.
I want to end with my favourite scene, not sure why but it stuck with me probably because it was so sweet and the first sign we get of Bones' feelings.
"Do you think I'm pretty?" I heard myself ask.
Something I couldn't name flashed across his face.
"No. I don't think you're pretty. I think you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen."
Bones is a bit of a douchebag to her and then declares his "love"? I have no idea why he likes her, I find her quite irritating. He doesn't appear to be very exciting apart from looking good either. Anyway, this is not for me.
So the lovely Catherine Crawfield found out when she was 16 that she was part vampire; she'd always thought she was a bit different until her Mum told her that she'd been raped by a vampire when she was young and the result was Catherine. Catherine's (Cat's) mother instills her deep hatred of all things fangy in Cat's mind and Cat becomes a vampire hunter in the hope that she can get rid of all vamps, and find her father and get revenge on behalf of her Mother. She's pretty good at it too until she lures the wrong vampire, Bones, into her car one night so that she can despatch him. Bones is a vampire bounty hunter and decides that Cat has the raw talent to be trained up to be one too, so he starts her training.
I was really pleasantly surprised by the story and the writing. I liked Cat, but it took a while for her character to flesh out as she's a bit of a contradiction at first. Now Bones I fell in love with quite easily, he reeks of 'bad boy', but there's a lovely gentleness about him. I suppose he's a man's man, but who's not afraid of showing his feelings and I really liked that about him. Plus he's hot!
I was a bit disappointed that they fell in love so soon, and whilst there are sex scenes in the book they aren't gratuitous or over powering, they're quite sweet actually. After reading the later books I can see why they fell in love so soon; it makes the plot for the next couple of books work well.
All in all, they're a really good couple, the dialogue between them is funny and snarky. Bones' British Accent didn't bother me, and I'm a Brit. I did sometimes wish that he'd call Cat 'Love' instead of 'Luv' but maybe that's just a personal thing.
The supporting characters are great, although a little one dimensional at the moment - but in the next few books they grow and become part of the extended family.
Judging by all the other reviews I wasn't alone in enjoying this book and I really recommend that you not only start this series, but carry on with it too.
The reading order is:
HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE
AT GRAVE'S END
DESTINED FOR AN EARLY GRAVE
FIRST DROP OF CRIMSON
ETERNAL KISS OF DARKNESS
THIS SIDE OF THE GRAVE
ONE GRAVE AT A TIME
Bones, now, i liked, though his "English" accent got on my nerves a bit, why couldn't he just be american? Its exotic enough to us (europeans). And I also couldn't understand how he got so into Cat so fast- i mean, apart from the fact that is a redhead bomb-shell killing machine with a sassy attitude. He develops really deep feelings for her very soon, which is fine, but imagine the lovely angst if this was drawn out a bit more and with difficulty on his part, as I like emotionally blocked men who overcome.
What I loved the most about this book was her punch lines and when she is having a go at someone. Noone can write sassy come-backs and "let-me-tell-you"s better than Frost. It is just rolling of your tongue in strong, packed, witty lines. How I wish I was speaking like that next time someone does me wrong.
Have to say also that it's the first time I have enjoyed a book written in the first person.
Would highly recommend, and I am about to start the next book (glad I don't have to wait for the book to be written)
I love this series. It is fun, well written, full of great banter, sexy and has a great main couple! And this book is pretty much all about setting Cat and Bones up. In the next books in the series, more characters are introduced and more if the "vampire world" shown to us. So it just gets better!
An excellent 5 stars and if you have not started this series, then you need to!
There were many thrills and surprises along the way!
Cat Crawfield is a fiesty and intriguing main character and oh so strong, not just physically but by the burdens she carries every day.
Her relationship with Bones was smoking hot and often bitter sweet. The plot twists and turns kept me on my toes, the writer always one step ahead of her readers. I finished the book and immediately wanted to flip right back to page 1 and start all over again. It is no question whether I'll read the rest in the series or not!
Bones I liked, Cat I found somewhat annoying and niave - why make her 22 when she appears much younger - perhaps so that she can go into bars legitimately? However, this does mean that she can go on a personal journey throughout the book
I enjoyed the humour of the book including Timmy the neighbour and the slut talk lessons. The developing romance between Bones and Cat was also believable in my opinion.
In fact other than Cat's mother, who has a fairly tedious one-track mind, the only irritant was the convicts being sent to South Wales - it's New South Wales in Australia not Cardiff!
I enjoyed finding out about the main characters and for once they acted the way i thought they would. So often, espcially in this genre, where you would expect a normal person to run away screaming they dont (ok so that was a very simplified view but im sure you know what i mean). I look forward to reading the next book in the series and seeing how it develops.
Please feel free to comment on my review as i love seeing other peoples opinions of the books i love/hate.