Sunday, June 27, 2010

halfway to the grave by jeaniene frost is another vampire urban fantasy romance but it's not too bad

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is another step in Gollancz' push to be the home of all urban fantasy romance, and the first in Frost's Night Huntress series.
Yet again, readers, we have a feisty female character with a touch of the supernatural – this time she's half vampire – and a bad boy vampire who's really got a heart of, well, you know the story.
Which is such a shame really, because Frost isn't a bad writer and the plot is a bit more punchy than the usual run of guff that's overflowing the bookshelves at the moment.
Still, urban fantasy romance obviously sells – yes, yes, we all have that nasty Twilight stuff to thank for this, despite the fact that the real genre is so much better; Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice for example – so Gollancz keeps publishing it.
And I shouldn't really complain as I love the genre as much as the next person, but there's good stuff, great stuff and very little that will become classic stuff.
Frost is, at least, good. Catherine 'Cat' Crawfield is a girl with a major chip on her shoulder. Her father was a vampire, her mother was raped as a teen and has been damaged beyond repair by a judgemental town, repressed parents and a fear that he'll return.
But at least she loves her daughter, although she's taught Cat to hate half of herself and expects her to go out and murder people, sorry vampires, when she's not studying to get into college.
Cat's been lucky so far, she's managed to kill off a number of vamps without anything too bad happening to her, but all that is about to change. Instead of picking up the usual blood-hungry, horny vampire at the local bar – as a prelude to stabbing him with a stake – Cat gets another hunter.
Oh, he's a vampire alright, but he's also a vampire hunter. So, Cat's caught in a bind; should she learn from him or keep trying to kill him? Needless to say, said vampire is hot and Cat's trying not to be interested, after all, ALL vampires are evil, right?
Frost manages not to make Halfway to the Grave too teenage-angst, but again it's essentially a romance with some fangs, stakings and learning how to fight. But the plot has a twist and additions like people-smuggling and a shadowy government organisation add spice to the storyline.
If you like the genre, and let's face it, who doesn't at the moment, Halfway to the Grave is not a bad example, and like many of these books, it's the first in a series so you know you'll have something to read for a while yet.

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost is published by Gollancz and is available from good book stores and online.


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