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When our friends J & K arrived at our house for a dinner/drinking evening K handed me a plastic bag full of books, seven of which were the "Undead" series by Maryjanice Davidson. I wasn't particularly impressed as generally I don't tend to read chick lit, and was very relieved when K said I shouldn't feel obliged to read them, and that I could do what I wanted with them when I had finished. However, I thought it would be rude to not at least give them a go by reading the first book in the series - "Unwed and Undead" (this particular review is not about the first book, but will give you a feel for the whole series).
Maryjanice Davidson (aside from having a silly name) is an American who was born in 1969. She has written a lot of books (mainly chick lit, and young adult stuff), and has a website here - www.maryjanicedavidson.net
---The 'Undead' Series---
The 'Undead' series is Davidson's most famous series, and begins with "Undead and Unwed" which was first published in 2004. They are described as a mixture of chick lit and horror. Betsy (Elizabeth Taylor) was already having a bad day (her thirtieth birthday) having lost her secretarial job when she was hit by a car and died. Although initially surprised to find herself waking up in the morgue as a dead person, she quickly settles into her new role as vampire, and even more excitingly as the vampire queen.
This sets the scene for the series. Having read the first book and finding it tolerable (being at a time I wanted to read something not requiring any thought or brainpower), I moved onto the second book "Undead and Unemployed" which I am now reviewing. There are currently 7 books in the series with another one on its way in 2009 - my friend K gave me all seven. My copies of the books are brightly coloured with a cartoon picture of Betsy (all legs and exceedingly thin) on the front.
---Undead and Unemployed---
Betsy is dead (well, undead officially) and although her rich best friend Jessica is paying for her house, Betsy really wants a job in order to satisfy her need to buy the latest designer shoes (her little obsession). She is ecstatic when she lands a job in the shoe department at Macy's - working evenings of course, after all she is a vampire.
However, it transpires that vampires are being murdered (even though they are already dead), and as the vampire queen, Betsy can't ignore it. Aside from the fact that she doesn't condone murder or blood sucking or anything vampire-ish she's married to Eric Sinclair (or Sink Lair) the king of the vampires, and he won't let her forget her responsibilities. To add to the stress, Betsy's house is infested with termites, and Jessica and housemate Marc (a gay doctor Betsy saved from suicide in the first book) decide that they should live in a mansion. And then the fun begins...
This is chick lit, and as I've said this isn't really my genre of choice. I imagine that for those who do love chick lit that this book (and the series) is excellent - it's easy to read, there's sex and there's a storyline.
I would recommend that people start with the first book in the series as although the gist of the first book is given (as parts are repeated for the benefit of the newcomer/those who have had a gap between reading books) it is after all a sequel. The characters from the first book such as Betsy's parents and stepmother "The Ant" make their way into all of the 'Undead' series.
I did get slightly irritated at times since it's an American book. For instance it really annoys me when they say "I could care less" when they mean "I couldn't care less". But I think I'm going to have to just accept that.
Following reading this book I moved straight on to the next in the series "Undead and Unappreciated", and have since read all of the others. The books are so short (I mean, some are under the 200 page mark) and quick to read, and briefly are able to take me away from the stresses and strains of the real world. I won't be reviewing any more of the books though as they are all very similar, and while I have the time to read them whilst on the train to work I don't think I have the time or inclination to write about them! I have to say that if you read them one after another they do get very repetitive since Davidson recaps everything which has happened previously in each book. I can understand having a bit of repetition for those who are coming in further in the series, but to recap everything is unnecessary.
The book is 213 pages, but my edition also has in it the first chapter of the next book in the series. My edition was published by Piatkus books in February 2006.
It can be bought new from Amazon for £5.49 - it's probably more worthwhile to borrow off a friend or from the library. I've already given my copy (well, K's copy!) away on Bookmooch as they seem quite popular!
I'm saying I would recommend it, as those who like chick lit will no doubt love it. But it's not the sort of thing I'd choose to read in general!