Friday, November 26

Undead and Unfinished - MaryJanice Davidson

She may be the Vampire Queen, but Betsy Taylor can’t read The Book of The Dead without losing her mind, a price she’s tried to pay before, with unsuccessful results. She’s had enough, though, and has decided that she’s prepared to make a deal with the devil, if that’s what it takes. Fortunately, Betsy knows Satan – she’s the mother of Betsy’s half-sister Laura. And Satan’s prepared to deal, too, provided the sisters pay a visit to Hell.
Undead and Unfinished opens with a four page catch up, leaning more heavily on recent events, a requirement I’ve mentioned before is peculiarly and irritatingly specific to the genre. Specific to this series is the glacial character development of Betsy who, three years after dying and waking as Queen, is still significantly superficial, her butterfly attention span instantly diverted by designer clothes or cute shoes. She’s self-interested to an adolescent degree, paying very little attention not only to things that don’t interest her but also to the people in her life.
The heart of Undead and Unfinished is Betsy (or perhaps Davidson) belatedly realising ten books in that she/we know next to nothing about the Queen’s consort, Sinclair. So, on a flimsy pretext, Laura and Betsy visit strategic moments in the past, all of which related to the evolution of Eric Sinclair from small child to young man, from newly turned vampire to companion to the most powerful vampire of all. Thrown in is a visit to 3010, where a humourless Betsy reigns alone over a colourless world, attended by zombies, and Betsy’s baby brother Jon is all grown up. For a brief time the point of view switched from now-Betsy to then-Betsy, including the final moments, where we learn about the origins of the Book and the chilling source of the skin it’s written on.
Well, theoretically chilling, but by that stage I’d pretty much given up on the whole thing. I’ve belatedly realised that I’m not at all invested in the main character, and so the events that will cause her to transform from Valley Girl Barbie to Post-Apocalypse CEO Barbie interest me only in that the change indicates her character will eventual develop. I doubt I’ll be seeing it, though, for I think I may be done with Davidson. - Alex

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