I hadn't intended to read this book from the moment Amazon suggested it to me. The notion of a "half vampire" character just didn't appeal to me, and it sounded like it fell squarely into the paranormal romance arena, which isn't my thing. Since then, I've had three different people strongly recommend it as something I would like. Granted, these three have track records for enjoying appallingly bad -- uh -- having tastes different from mine. I resisted the first two, but the third actually gave me her copy, leaving me feeling oddly obligated to attempt to read it.
I put it off for a few months. I took the time to read a few really dry novels so that I would be in the mood for something rompy and less rigorous. I opened a bottle of Chenin Blanc. Basically, I did everything I could think of to reduce my obvious bias against this book short of home lobotomy.
Clearly, I should have powered up the drill.
If you're looking for a book about a child of rape on a quest to avenge her mother and her mother's people against her father and his people while having a complicated relationship with a man she loves who often treats her poorly and a society largely biased against her because of the circumstances of her birth, the book you're looking for is Who Fears Death. Technically, I've summarized the premise of both, but while it is relevant subject matter in one, for Halfway to the Grave, it is simply a backdrop for the sort of fucked up relationship drama that I’d like to believe only exists in romance novels.
The second star is awarded for having a sense of humor. Not for the supposedly witty banter I see referenced in so many reviews. Not for her thanking him for showing her what it means to be loved, though that was also hilarious. No. This is a book where romance starts with a training period that, for reals, involves several weeks of being beaten unconscious, taught how to look and act like a whore, and repeatedly reprimanded for showing any hint of self respect. Where consent is the conclusion to the following logical argument:
1. I will kill you if you don’t do what I tell you to.
2. I would never have sex with you without your permission.
3. Tell me you want to have sex with me right now.
After that, the relationship consists of him controlling what she wears, what she eats, the décor of her apartment.... The funny part? The great evil this healthy, vibrant couple is determined to take down is a sex trafficking ring.
The jokes pretty much write themselves.
If this is your kind of thing, go right ahead and enjoy it. Just. Please. Stop recommending this shit to me.