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.
Topics: Bounty Hunters, Female Protagonist, Supernatural Powers, Sex, Crime, Vampires, Assassins, Love, Death, Murder, Urban, Ohio, Exciting, and First in a Series
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Also, I'm not as big a fan of vampire sex scenes as I was some years ago, so that sort of made me speed through sections (When I speed through the sex, there's a problem). Again, that might have been the narrator (some things just play better in the Theatre of the Mind) but I didn't find it erotic or even so very essential to the story to have the gory details, but I'm guessing that's more me than the book. It's another convention of the genre.
In general, I liked the characters, the set up, and the plotting. I'll keep reading until either I finish the series or I get tired of it. I hope that Neurotic, Insecure Kick-Ass Chick is not the sum and entirely of the main character.more
It has everything I look for in an urban fantasy: lots of action, lots of peril, a strong heroine who saves the day a lot, a gorgeous and kind leading man who is wonderful. He is dangerous to bad guys but not at all scary around her. He's protective but she's puts him in his place when he is being too much so. She doesn't allow him to baby her. He's not dark and brooding, he's easy going and in good humor most if the time! It's a believable world and the vampire mythos is interesting in that there is one. There's even a creation story versus an evolutionary one about how vampires came into existence!
The heroine is hot but she dresses like a normal person most of the time and isn't lusting after spiked heels as she's running for her life. She is untrained to begin with but before she is really take seriously as a vampire hunter, she trains and trains and trains. That is so refreshing. She is believably capable of going after them. More than once I thought of Buffy. The vampires don't just fall into her lap either: there is a lot of sleuthing and trial and error before getting she and the hero get their vamp.
I like that the mom is neither good nor bad, that she does both. I also love that the heroine is blind to the bad as is appropriate for a daughter. I love that vampires aren't all black and white either. Relationships in general are great in the book and the love story is perfect. I really like that although she's young and does stupid things, he is mature and doesn't play mind games back. And best of all, I can actually understand why an old vampire would fall in love with her.
So the book was perfect for me and I am alredy requesting the next one from the library. I highly recommend this book even if you are sick of Twilight-esque vampire stories. It's that good.
Hunh. I did have a lot to say after all.more
Honestly, I'm not sure why I liked this book. When I remember it, all I can think of are plotholes big enough to drive a truck through (Cat the blushing-virgin-cum-practiced-seductress' relationship with Bones the altruistic-bad-boy-vampire is high on the list; also anything to do with law enforcement), characters that never seemed real and were rarely likable (see above; then add everyone else in the book), and a splashy, utterly ridiculous conclusion. The vampires have glowing green eyes and some of them fly and Cat runs around in skanky dresses throwing silver knives. It's not just trashy, it's campy.
But...I did like it. For all the bad things I could say about it, it was still good escapist fun. It's full of drama and silliness and sexual tension. Bones is enough of a bad boy that it makes your heart go pitter-pat when he goes soft for a girl, and it goes pitter-pat when he's not so nice, too.
This is heavily qualified praise, but if you are on the lookout for the kind of zoning-out, guilty pleasure read I've described, this will do just fine.more
1) Killing the bad guy. (The heroine, Cat, might be only half vampire, but she's mighty quick with a silver stake.)
2) The tropes of modern society. (Frost has a razor sharp satire knife, and damn if she didn't cut me a couple times.)
3) Vicarious sex. (I seriously wish the sex was a bit less graphic, because my pre-teen daughter found my copy while I was cooking dinner and the first 25 pages got her wanting to read more. Just for the record, there is no graphic sex in the first 25 pages...but I hid the book just to be sure she doesn't read any more before I return it to the library tomorrow.)more
Tavia Gilbert's does an exemplarily job with the various voices, however, her heavy low class British accent for Bones takes some getting used to.
Bones is an obvious carbon-copy of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (bleached blond hair, dark eyes and a British accent - really, how unoriginal can you get?). He starts out as an obnoxious, supercilious git but his swagger conceals a well-developed sense of justice and he is ultimately revealed to be a real sweetheart. Cat is a likable heroine with some great kick-ass moves but she is also naive, prejudiced and judgmental - at least she seems to realize this and makes an effort to get past it.
The real problem is that Cat and Bones's chemistry is a little meh. Yes, they have the witty banter thing going on in spades but the rapid progression of their physical relationship is somewhat disappointing - more in line with paranormal romance than urban fantasy. Yes, they have an intense spark of attraction in the beginning, but the sizzle dies out quite quickly and by the middle of the book they sound like an old married couple.
The plot gives new meaning to the term "human trafficking". It is well-developed with some truly excellent action scenes. The ending is very satisfying and I'm intrigued by the direction the story is taking with the government agency involved in investigating the paranormal - it really appeals to my inner X-File.
Overall, not the brilliant masterpiece I was expecting given the hype but it is a fun read and I look forward to seeing what happens next with Cat and Bones.more
"Halfway to the Grave" is an action-packed, sexy yarn in which our "half-vampire" heroine, Cat, comes into her birthright as a slayer of undead under the tutelage of suave, nubile, non-evil vampire Bones (who is an obvious tribute to the character Spike from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). Given a setup like that, this book could have easily dissolved into a frothy mess of fangirlish wish-fulfillment, but the author is thankfully careful enough with the material to largely avoid this mistake. Cat's insecurity and self-loathing are true character flaws, not virtues in disguise, and it keeps our protagonist engaging. Frost's prose is capable -- it doesn't clunk, but it doesn't sing, either.
Not so great aspects: the setting is as convincing as a studio-lot facade -- we are told the events occur in Ohio, but the action unfolds across an assortment of dance clubs, empty back roads, and dwellings that seem entirely disconnected. Full focus is given to the developing relationship between Cat and her super-hot vampire mentor, and background characters -- including Cat's mother, whom we are to understand has had a huge impact on her daughter's psyche and attitudes -- are thin as skim milk. Cat definitely grows and matures over the course of the story, but by the end, she seems more like mini-Bones than her own person.
The third act definitely seems meant to set up a framework for the rest of series, so it's possible that this first novel suffered a bit due to the need to establish the characters and situations. I will at least read the second book in the series to give the author more of a chance.more