Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Dates Read: January 3-7, 2019
Synopsis: Half-human, half-vampire Cat Crawfield is seeking revenge for her mother by hunting down and killing every vampire she encounters — until she meets one she can’t beat…eventually forming an alliance with him to track down a ruthless rapist and murderer along with his gang of cronies. Together, she and Bones must work and train together for their mission, but can Cat overcome her prejudice against vampires and make this alliance work?
I read this for Romanceopoly for the first challenge, Leather Lane: Read an urban fantasy where the series is already completed.
While I think Frost could have used about fifty fewer exclamation points, overall I liked the writing style. It was fun and full of personality.
Bones was great from beginning to end. I was never mad at him, everything he did made sense, and he treated Cat with respect — yes, even when he was practically beating her up, because even then he was training her and helping her get stronger. It might seem harsh to some people, but when I practiced martial arts, that’s basically how it went, albeit less violently. We’d work ourselves until we bled sometimes until we got better at something, whether it was knuckle pushups on the sidewalk, conditioning our hands and feet on cinder blocks, or literally fighting each other. Later, when Cat needed those skills Bones had taught her, she was prepared and, most importantly, didn’t die.
As for the story, I appreciated how she addressed the issue of prejudice:
Bones might act different, but all vampires were bad. Weren’t they? (79)
I liked that Cat questions this so early on. She assumes that all vampires are bad simply because her mother told her so. Yes, she had a terrible experience with one, but that doesn’t mean that that one bad vampire is a paragon of the rest of them. Similarly, many children have been raised being told that people of other races are all bad, when the truth is that there are good people and bad people everywhere in every shape, size, color, and form. Bones addresses this later on:
Everyone’s got something in them that somebody’s going to have a problem with, but your mom should be more concerned about whether he makes you happy than where he’s from. (263)
But back to Cat’s mother. What can I say about her without fuming? See, I actually know people like her and her family, with all of their prejudices encompassed by barricades to be protected from the opposing side that is critical thinking. People like her are infuriating, yes. But, at the same time, it’s kind of sad because, even with the truth staring them in the face, they’re almost incapable of acknowledging it — to their own detriment. Some background: even though my parents weren’t as strict as this and I only went there because of districting reasons, I was raised in a Independent Fundamental Baptist church and school. While there, I was taught homophobic, sexist, racist, and Islamophobic rhetoric that I actively chose to reject.
I’ve always been of the belief that the kinder side tends to be the right side to be on. Whenever hatred and bigotry are rampant, the people supporting those ideas are wrong. Plain and simple. In this case, Cat’s family was wrong. On some level, her mother even hated her because of what she was. Yeah, she was half-vampire, but that meant she was also half-human. Her mother chose to see only what she considered to be evil in her daughter, which meant that Cat was evil in her eyes. She told Cat to overcome the monster inside her, which is similar to the rhetoric of overcoming the sin inside you. But see, the funny thing is…we all have good and evil inside us. It’s our decisions and our characters that make us who we are, whether we choose to embrace the good or the bad. It could even be a mix of both because sometimes there are no right answers. Above all, we have to choose what’s best for ourselves and will allow us to flourish. The sucky part (pun totally intended) is that sometimes our “good” is another person’s “bad,” and if they can’t accept it, then they’ll just have to deal with it. And hopefully quietly because ain’t nobody got time for that negativity.
- Artery party? Well, that was one way to put it. (19)
- Don’t kiss me like a woman if you’re going to treat me like a child. (120)
- His flesh vibrated with power, making me feel like I stroked lightning encased in skin. (160)
- “You’re not a woman,” he said finally. “You’re the Grim Reaper with red hair!” (223)
- Being underestimated was the greatest thing ever. (319)