Monday, May 14, 2012

Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson

My Rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Betsy Taylor (nobody calls her Elizabeth!) is a damn good secretary, but her boss is an idiot, so he fires her. Worried about how she will continue to pay for her designer shoe habit, she is a little distracted while rescuing her cat from the snow-covered road and gets run over and killed. However, this is nothing compared to waking up inside her coffin only to find that her evil step mother has selected an ugly pink dress and a pair of cheap shoes as her ‘going away’ outfit. Once she comes to terms with her state of undeath, Betsy then has to deal with her new, and decidedly unappreciated, need to drink living blood. Plus it seems that she fulfills some crazy prophecy about the Vampire Queen, which makes her a threat to the local Bela Lugosi look-a-like head vampire, Nostro and the potential savior of the rebels, led by the devilishly attractive Sinclair.

From the very beginning, this is a very funny book. It is told from Betsy’s perspective, and she has a wonderfully witty and snarky voice. I found myself laughing out loud at Ms Davidson’s turn of phrase and the ludicrous situations that she puts her characters into. Betsy herself is a very flawed character, being vain and more than a little dumb, but still very likeable. Her attempts to rid herself of her undead status are hilarious, as well as obviously unsuccessful, but she is stubborn to a fault and just keeps on trying because she is convinced that she is a zombie. However, her encounter with a woman and child being attacked makes her realize that she is a vampire: one who lisps when her fangs grow! So she runs to the nearest church to end it all, but finds herself surprisingly not burnt into a pile of ash. Indeed, the usual anti-vampire things have no effect on her, which she assumes is because the movies and books have got things wrong.

The plot is somewhat formulaic, but the ways in which Betsy deals with her transformation into the most powerful vampire on Earth are really what sets this book apart. She runs to her parents to tell them that she isn’t actually dead: much to the disgust of the evil step mother who had taken her death as an opportunity to steal all of Betsy’s designer shoes. There are the faithful sidekicks: Betsy’s childhood friend Jessica, who is amazingly rich and rabidly anti-racist, and Marc, a gay doctor that provides a useful snack at one point. The banter between these characters is worth the cover price alone. The obligatory stud muffin is every girl’s dream: tall, dark, handsome, wealthy and immaculately dressed. Even better, he understands her shoe-obsession and exploits it to get her cooperation. Admittedly, she does see him having sex with three women at once, which puts her off a bit, but we know that they are destined for one another. The token villain is the wonderfully pathetic Nostro. Although he is a ruthless and psychotic despot, he has the most appalling taste. He wanders about in stereotypical dress and even talks like a really bad Hollywood vampire, although I always had the image of The Count from Sesame Street in mind when he appeared.

I agree with Ana at The Book Smugglers: this is a very silly book, but laugh out loud funny, which makes it very readable. Love Vampires’ reviewer agrees that it is great fun, suggesting that it would be a good read for a woman who likes fashion and looking good: I am neither of these, but I still enjoyed it! :D

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