Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Undead and Unwelcome" by MaryJanice Davidson

Oh my. Wow. Just.... I really don't know what to say.

Except that Queen Betsy has really hit the skids. The series, that is. Much as I've loved these books by MJD, much as I've giggled over Betsy's antics, much as I've drooled over Sinclair, I just can't get past how awful this entry is. Bad enough that I think I'm probably done with yet another paranormal series.

What's so horrible about this book? Well, let's back-track a bit. Let me begin by saying that the last few books have been OK, not fabulous like the first two or so in the series, but definitely not groan-inducing. There was a hint of a downhill slide, but I'm one of those ever-hopeful readers who is willing to cut an author some slack - sometimes too much, perhaps. Anyway, I was anxious to read this entry because the plot sounded like it would be good, possibly setting up future entries with a bit more bite (no pun intended).

Betsy, Sinclair, and Jessica are taking werewolf Antonia's corpse back to her pack on the East Coast (if you're not familiar with the series, Antonia died by throwing herself in front of bullets meant for Betsy, not really necessary unless said bullets were aimed at the head, which they were - no one comes back from that sort of damage). She's nervous about the pack, nervous about being away from home, nervous about BabyJon, her half-brother and now hers to look after (long story). The weres aren't happy to see her, much less Antonia's corpse, which was left just as it fell; Betsy and gang weren't sure how weres handle one of their own as far as death, so they didn't want to mess anything up. Needless to say, there are hard feelings on both sides, much misunderstanding, and yes, something is definitely weird and creepy about BabyJon.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (OK, the mansion), Dr. Mark is hanging out with Betsy's sister, Laura, also known as the Devil's daughter. She's evidently coming into her own and her "minions" have found her, wanting to do her bidding. Since she hates her mother (yes, the Devil is female here), she has them go out and do good works. Unfortunately, Mark makes a suggestion that completely backfires, and he spends most of the rest of the book frantically trying to contact Betsy and tell her to get her butt back home, pronto.

When put like this, the book doesn't sound bad, does it? Sigh. There are a lot of problems here, the least of which is the price - $24.95 for a book that took just a few hours to read. Sorry, but this is really paperback quality material here. If you want to read this, borrow a copy from your library, your friend, your neighbor - or wait until you can score a used copy dirt cheap. Now to the plot. There are holes here the size of the Grand Canyon, most glaringly Mark's inability to get Betsy to realize what's going on. This just really, really bothered me. Supposedly, even though she is a complete ditz, only thinks about herself, and is totally shoe-obsessed, Betsy is queen of grammar where emails are concerned. WTF? I did not buy this for a single second. She's incapable of deciphering Mark's emails, most of which rely on the abbreviations used for such things as email and text messaging. To add insult to injury, she didn't seem overly concerned that her cell phone wasn't getting reception at the weres estate, which also doesn't fly with me. Look, the way Betsy is written, she seems to be the kind that would not only completely freak out over no bars, but would remain in constant contact with people thru texting, twittering, Facebook, etc. To have me believe otherwise just insults my intelligence.

Having Mark "journal" what's happening back at home so that we know what's going on? Sad. Sad and not effective, either. Wouldn't I have been much more concerned about that had I only been able to read his increasingly frantic emails? Wouldn't it have made more sense to have me sitting there going "I can't believe you can't read this - he needs HELP!" A good opportunity completely passed by.

Overall, this is definitely NOT a must-read. The series has run its course, in my humble opinion, and I will not be reading any further entries about Betsy and the gang. Sometimes, you just need to know when to quit.

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