Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1) Jeaniene Frost
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 384 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of those deadbeats is her father – the guy responsible for ruining her mother’s life.
But when she’s captured by Bones, a bounty hunter and a vampire, she finds herself forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for his help in finding her father, and still astonished she hasn’t ended up as his dinner, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. But that’s not all Bones has to show her – Cat’s starting to believe maybe vampires aren’t all evil after all, especially ones as cute as Bones. She’s half-convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad.
But before she can enjoy her newfound status as confident kick-ass demon hunter Cat finds herself, and Bones, hotly pursued by a band of killers. She’s is going to have to pick a side – and fast …
I’m on a reread kick at the moment. I read the Night Huntress series years ago. I read them all in paperback and fell in complete fictional boyfriend love with Bones. Our pet cockatiel is named after him. So I really mean it when I say I love Bones. With that said, Cat is a very interesting female character and narrator. She is tough and she jumps in where angels fear to tread. However, she has the worst mother. As I started this reread I remembered just how often throughout the series I would wish death upon Justina – it is fiction after all *smiles evilly. What a toxic mother. It can be hard to like Cat in some respects. She’s judgemental and she stereotypes, she blames, she is a doormat to Justina. The word slut is used often and is unpalatable… but this is uptight, self-loathing. Mid Western Cat. So I got it. It’s because her family of origin story is one of dysfunction. Talk about the veritable Scapegoat or Black Sheep. Justina punishes Cat for her heritage and by sixteen has coerced her daughter into going out to kill any and all vampires for the disgusting filth that they are. Yes, find the scuzzy father but it’s really just a hatred of vampires in general. Do I get Justina being deeply unhappy about what happened to her? Yes. But to carry it on and push her daughter into the role she did, an assassin with no training and just a wing and a prayer, then to constantly berate her. Well…Fuck you, Justina. Phew. That’s off my chest.
Cat’s twenty two at the beginning of the series and we join her as she goes out to dark and dingy pubs or clubs to
pick up find bloodsuckers to stake. On one occasion she runs into one who isn’t quick to take her up on her offer, and even worse, he seems… disinterested. In her. A meal. This totally non-plusses Cat who’s then thrown off her game. It allows Bones to take control, he’s over two hundred years old, he’s pretty supercharged. At first Bones thinks she’s working for Hennessey, someone he’s been on the trail of for eleven years, and isn’t awfully gentle on Cat when he gets her alone. Bones discovers she’s half human half vampire, it’s unheard of, who has tons of self-hatred for her vampire side. This is a romance PNR and UF so we all know Bones is hooked on the redhead with moxie who, quite frankly, perplexes him. He convinces her to work with him because he likes to kill some of the undead himself, some of them are arseholes so he’s happy enough making a quid as a bounty hunter/assassin. He does fall for her fairly quickly, he’s quick to own it as well – I actually like that about Bones, he’s straight up and down – and she isn’t ever going to be an easy assignment romantically. To me, Bones was a masochist for quite a while.
Anyway, Bones decides he’ll call Cat ‘Kitten’ and that remains his pet name for her throughout. He has this very laidback English attitude and manner with a bit of Aussie Larrikin in there as well – he was turned in Australia. He trains Cat to be faster and stronger, smarter in her technique. It’s a miracle she’s stayed alive for six years of vampire hunting as she’s been going about it. He also gets her to stop blushing at the slightest hint of innuendo, she’s always picked vamps up in bars and this will still remain part of the bait that’s needed. Her huge kick is that she isn’t a vampire, exactly, so she smells deliciously human and lulls the hunted into a false sense of security. Bones also endeavours to teach Cat that not every vampire is untrustworthy and not all humans are worthy of trust. Not all men are raping, opportunistic bastards but some are, and to be able to discern the difference, not just solely base everything on what her mother has told her. Bones has had a lot of years to see the characterological flaws of different beings and also pick up a support network of colourful and loyal individuals as well. Cat has spent her much shorter life singularly focused on her mother’s hatred and end goal, all with no friends or hobbies… well, outside staking the undead.
I’ve always liked Cat’s never say die attitude. As the series progresses she gets stronger and more loyal to the right person and people. No matter what, she fights hard and is all about payback and I’m in love with payback as a theme within anything. I also love the connection of Bones and Cat as the series progresses. They truly are meant for one another, thank goodness he has a thick skin for a little while. I also enjoy the growing characters who pop in as the series progresses. Some of them get side books.
The world building in this series is not bad. Nothing earth shattering but it caters to the romance reader who enjoys PNR and UF with some darker moments, action, and humour, which I do. There is sex but not much of it, which suits me just fine, I like other arcs and side stories being built. I’m a major character obsessive so I need them to grab me and not let me go. Or they at least have to show me promise. Bones grabbed me from day dot and held tight. Cat always had potential, potential that is then realised, and she turns into not just a scrapper but a kick arse female lead. So the characters are strong, they’ve kept me coming back and rereading for a number of years. If that awful cover doesn’t give you a clue, the series has aged a little, this book came out around 2009 (I think?) but it remains really enjoyable reading and I thought it was time I gave it an actual review. So here we are. 4.5 Stars!