MY RATING: 4.5/5 STARS
This is gonna be a quick & dirty (henceforth Q&D), because, frankly, I'd rather be reading book 2 in Jeaniene Frost's fabulous Night Huntress series than blathering on about book 1 on here. Plus, good reviews are so much harder - and let's be honest, way less fun - to write than bad ones. Yes, I've already bought book 2 on my kindle. I know, I know, book 2 was not mentioned in yesterday's In My Mailbox post. Five other books were, but those are going on the backburner because I need another Cat & Bones fix - STAT. (Mostly I need to flush my kindle down the toilet because Amazon is rapidly bankrupting me!)
Anyways. Halfway to the Grave. Well. This had been on my to read list for awhile. As with many of my great new urban fantasy discoveries, I heard about it over at the Vampire Academy Amazon message boards. I'm telling you, people who love VA enough to post regularly on the message boards have really good taste in books! (by which I mean, they tend to have roughly the same taste as me :-)
Ok I said this was going to be a Q&D but here I am, three para's in and I haven't even started actually reviewing the book. Even now, I am procrastinating. Ok. Here it goes. For real.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Possibly, it is my favorite UF discovery since Chicagoland Vampires. Cat and Bones are both hilariously witty. They're also quirky, but consistently so, and each in their own special way. They have very stimulating banter - awesome chemistry - and yet the book isn't just page after page of them mooning over each other. The secondary characters are entertaining and pretty well developed. There is a highly complicated and exciting plot. Certain scenes are so outrageously over the top that you just want to give Ms. Frost a big congratulatory hug for her boldness. The whole thing is just really well-written, laugh-out-loud, solid good fun.
Cat is a half-vampire who believes all vampires are evil (her vampire father raped her human mom, so this prejudice has been drilled into her from a young age). In order to atone for her mother's rape, she spends her nights hunting vampires at the sleazy clubs they like to hang out in. She's pretty good at it, too, considering she's never had any real training.
Then one night she crosses the wrong vamp and wakes up handcuffed in a cave, a smirking, irritatingly cheerful Englishman beaming down at her. Meet Bones, 200+ year old English gigolo turned Australian convict turned vampire. I basically fell in love with Bones the moment he opened his mouth (have always had a thing for snarky English blokes), but it takes Cat awhile longer. Which is understandable, as their first interaction is a bit rocky. To give you an example of the delicious banter between Cat and Bones, here is an excerpt from the scene when she wakes up handcuffed in the cave. Bones accuses Cat of being made of the same stuff as he - vampire. She haughtily replies,
"I am nothing like your kind! You're all monsters, preying on innocent people and caring nothing about the lives you wreck. The vampires I killed attacked me--it was their back luck I was ready for them. I might have some of this cursed blood in my veins, but at least I was using it to--"
"Oh, stick a sock in it already," he interrupted me with an irritated tone you'd use to scold a child. "You always ramble on so? No wonder your dates went right for your throat. Can't say I blame them."
Speechless, I gaped at him. With absolute clarity I understood the phrase adding insult to injury. First he'd slapped me soundly, now he was going to slander me before murdering me.
"I hate to interrupt your sympathy session over the other dead vampires, but are you going to be killing me soon or what?"
Isn't that fabulous? And it only gets better. They end up partnering together to bring down a truly evil vamp, but soon things get out of control as they uncover a conspiracy that goes way deeper, into the very backbone of the US government. Ahh!
The book ends on a truly cruel cliffhanger, which is why I have to wrap up this review immediately so I can begin book 2. Adios amigos!