Book reviews

Undead series – MaryJanice Davidson

Release date (book 1): 2 March 2004
Rating: ★★★★★★ – 6/10
Goodreads link
Book Depository link (book 1)

Undead and Unwed (Undead book 1) blurb:

Betsy Taylor has just woken up in the morgue to discover she’s a vampire.  On the plus side, being undead sure beats the alternative.  She now has superhuman strength and an unnatural effect on the opposite sex.  What Betsy can’t handle is her new liquid diet…

And whilst her mother is relieved to find out that being dead doesn’t mean Betsy can’t visit, her new ‘night-time’ friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesised vampire queen.  The scrumptious Sinclair and his cohorts want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious power-hungry vampire in five centuries.  Frankly Betsy couldn’t care less about vamp politics.  But Sinclair and his followers have powerful methods of persuasion.  Not least of which is unlimited access to Manolo Blahnik’s Spring collection…

You need to bear with me on this one.  I started reading this series around 2006, so was able to read the first five books at once, but it has been a gradual process to read the remaining ten (yes, there’s 15 books in this series).  Kudos to Carti magice blog for the photo.  My collection is 5 small books, 5 large books and 5 iBooks.  I couldn’t find a pic with all 15 books.

So, last night I finished book 15 – Undead and Done.  It was a little bit emotional after reading these books for 10 years, and I feel that the ending was well done.  Not all loose ends were tied up, nothing was picture perfect (I hate it when they do that), but it ended on a good note.

Don’t get me wrong, around book 12 I felt like the entire series had lost its identity and there was just weirdness after strangeness occurring in the overarching plot.  I nearly stopped reading at that point, and in fact I did take a break after book 13 – I only read books 14 and 15 this year when it was announced that 15 would be the last.

They are a relatively light, easy to read series – I picked them up while I was reading the Southern Vampire Mysteries (which then became the Sookie Stackhouse series and was subsequently eviscerated by the TV series True Blood) as they had been recommended to me as another paranormal/vampire series.  There’s some weird shit that goes down – but seems to be the norm for paranormal series.  They aren’t quite in the Charlaine Harris league of story-telling, but they are good.  There’s a fluidity to the overarching story that some authors can’t quite carry.

The characters are likeable and funny.  The series tends to keep the same main cast around for the entire series, so you get to know them well.  I enjoy all of their little idiosyncracies that make them feel real.  It adds so much depth to the story.

The storylines flow well.  I think I would have preferred to read them all at once, and is part of the reason that I now try not to start a series until all the books are out (that and I read so many books that I can’t remember how the previous story finished so I usually end up reading the last few chapters of the previous book to remind myself).  I enjoyed that most of the books picked up a few days after the previous book had ended.  You can tell that it’s all one very long story.

Now, when I say there are 15 books, I mean there are 15 main books in the Undead series.  There are so many short stories and cross-overs with her other series (there is a werewolf and also a mermaid series).  So, if you want to read all of it (and I haven’t), there are actually 20 stories.  Five ‘in-between-the-novels’ if you will.  Which is becoming more of a common thing these days (Janet Evanovich, Sarah J Maas, Garth Nix, etc.).

Overall, I really enjoyed the books, despite feeling lost around the 2/3 mark.

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