Grade: 1.8 stars out of 5
Anastajia Parker turned 16 on the 16th, but it’s not a happy birthday party that will be the surprise. She discovers that not only is she a witch, but her father is the prince of the vampires.To say that I am a sucker for vampire books is a bad pun, but so true. I will gobble up anything vampires, werewolves, and faeries because I am a paranormal/fantasy nut. Almost to Die For is up the alley being my favorite genre, but I have to rethink this over the last couple of months. Vampires and werewolves have mushroomed in the last couple of years that entire books have become one giant cliché. Over and over again I’ve come across books that I may have read before: tweak a name here and there, alter their appearance and catastrophic teenage trauma, and viola. Almost to Die For has become that cliché for me and failed to impress me in almost every way.
Anastajia, or commonly known as Ana, is easygoing and laidback. She goes with the flow. Case 1) Nik—hot witch/vampire hunter—asks Ana on a date and that he has always had a crush on her. She says yes and internally squees. Case 2) Next day: Elias—captain of Ana’s father’s guard—offers her a ride. She takes it. Nearly gets decapitated by the enemy. Brushes it off for the rest of the novel. He has to go back underground because he’s not a daylight person. She joins him. Case 3) Same day: Text from Nik. She of course gets bored underground with all the vampires who are asleep and runs off to bowl. They make out before heading to bowl. Case 4) Elias shows up in the bowling alley. He and Nik duke it out. Ana tries to stop the fight. There is no fight. Does she think before she acts? The consequences are much more severe now that she is a royal princess stuck between the two enemy worlds. I found Ana to be a quiet rebel who really has no idea what she’s doing.
I found Hallaway’s writing distinctive, but not for me. There were some sentences, and while proper, didn’t feel right. Example: “I determined to pay better attention for the rest of the class” (Hallaway 11). I am more accustomed to the sentence if there was a “was” stuck between “I” and “determined”. Every so often things like that pop up which makes me do a double read.
In all Almost to Die For offers nothing impressive with poorly executed storyline, albeit one that tried to add a little twist, and underdeveloped characters. There is leeway because it is the first in a series but when there’s two romances already happening, a pissed off best friend, and a mother who’s either hot or cold, I expect something. Almost to Die For falls on my level of expectations.
Source: personal copy
Published: 3 August 2010; paperback