Sunday, January 17

Undead and Unpopular - MaryJanice Davidson

Betsy Taylor is adjusting to her new, unexpected afterlife as Queen of the Vampires and is almost looking forward to her 31st birthday, her 1st undead anniversary, and her forthcoming wedding to the delicious Sinclair. But she's not exactly reconciled to the life vampiric and has decided to give up drinking blood, a decision that's a little more stressful than she imagined - her fangs tend to just pop out, making her lisp unattractively, and she's far more short-tempered than usual.
This alone would be bad enough, but as usual the problems keep mounting up, including a visitation by some powerful European vampires (just skirting dosrespect with the tardiness of their arrival), a zombie in the attic, and most worryingly a secret her very best friend is keeping from her. Ans thats's without factoring in her step-sister, daughter of the devil, her evil step-mother, and the latter's tendency of dropping off her baby half-brother for increasingly long periods of time.
The fifth in Davidson's popular Undead series, Undead and Unpopular is entertaining and brisk, but doesn't offer any real surprises. For example, the revelation that frequent mentions of a zombie on the grounds is not a joke assorted people (including a ghost nobody but Betsy can interact with) have spontaneously decided on comes as no real revelation, and unless it plays a significant role in the next book was rather a dead end (so to speak). Betsy herself is superficial, with an ongoing interest in shoes and fashion, and she's had very little character growth throughout the series.
That said, there's something about her that's quite charming, and I enjoyed her rant against the imperative of answering the phone regardless of how inconvenienced you may be by doing so:
The phone, the fucking phone! People used it like they used to use the cat-o-nine-tails. You had to drop everything and answer the fucking thing.And God help you if you were home and, for whatever reason, didn't answer. "But I called!" Yeah, it was convenient for you so you called. But I'm in the shit because it wasn't convenienent for me to drop everything and talk to you, on the spot, for whatever you needed to talk about.
Despite the mentioned caveats, spending time with Betsy is always an amusing diversion, and I quite enjoyed reuniting with her again after what, I was surprised to discover, has been quite an absence - not only has it been the better part of eighteen months since I read a novel in the series, I somehow managed to jump over this one in the process, heading straight to Undead and Uneasy! - Alex

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