Friday, August 22, 2008

"Undead and Unworthy" by MaryJanice Davidson

By the time you read this book, Betsy and her king, Sinclair, are legally wed. It would seem that all's right in Betsy's world after a few harrowing mishaps in the previous six books; her best friend nearly died of cancer, her father and stepmother died in a car wreck which left her with her stepbrother BabyJon to look after, she killed a very powerful vampire librarian, etc. This should end up being a pretty boring book, what with all the drama being over, right?

But this is our darling Betsy, the girl who never wanted to be queen of the stupid vampires in the first place, the girl who really just wants love and a great pair of shoes, and not necessarily in that order. Of course there's going to be drama for her, starting with a new ghost. Yes, it's none other than her horrible step-mother, the Ant, who will probably haunt her until the end of Betsy's undead life. The horror! And of course she pops in at the worst times....

Then there are the Fiends, those pathetic yet feral vampires that Betsy refused to kill when she took over her queenly duties. Remember the Fiends? They were vamps that were refused blood by their former master, Nostro, which left them crazy as hell. Having a huge soft spot for the underdog, Betsy has been "keeping" them like pets, making sure they have animal blood, are bathed, etc. Only with all the recent drama in her life, she's sort of forgotten about them. Garrett, a former Fiend who fed on Betsy's blood (and her half-sister Laura, the literal daughter of the Devil) and regained his normal mind, has been feeding them his blood in the hopes of restoring them much like himself. Only problem is that while they are less feral, they're mostly just pissed off now - that they've been forced to ingest animal blood, then no blood until Garrett came around, and they feel that Betsy doesn't deserve to be their queen (hence, the title of the book). The slightly reformed Fiends come calling, sending Betsy and the gang on the run for their very lives.

It's an interesting turn that Davidson has chosen to take her, a much more serious one than the previous books. It's not completely serious, but it is darker, something she alludes to in the introduction. Seems she's going in a different direction, something that spurred her to even change the look of the front cover (don't get me started on the cover - I am NOT a fan!). She even goes so far as to kill off some characters; yes, a few are the "bad guys", but there are lives lost among her own little family as well. I was very shocked at that, but also sort of glad. It shows that Davidson might be growing as an author, branching out a little, not afraid to try something new. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't happy about who got killed, but when an author refuses to really put any of her characters in actual danger, the read becomes quite boring. After all, you just know they'll be OK, so there's no edge-of-your-seat feeling, the kind of thing that makes you want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens.

Overall, I liked this Betsy entry. It's a bit different, not quite as light-hearted, but still funny enough to make it seem like "light" reading. I'm anxious to see what Davidson has in store for my shoe-addicted Queen.

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