Monday, August 30, 2010

MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unfinished

I discovered MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead and Unfinished while loitering in Barnes and Noble one day, which is weird considering I usually pre-order MJD’s books this one completely took me by surprise.  My only excuse is that June was a very busy month for me, though that’s really no excuse considering the pre-order habit mentioned above. Anywho , I finally read this last week after mooching it off the library (I figured I’d already missed it coming out, I might as well just read it for free).

First things first, I don’t know if it’s because of the economy and the need to put out as many books as possible or not but has anyone else noticed how short paranormal series books have become? Go ahead, take a look at the last few Southern Vampire books versus the first several… see what I mean? This book was short. While it is hardback it’s also very narrow, giving it the appearance of being longer than it really is as well. The chapter structure makes it seem longer than it is too simply by wasted space, I adore short chapters, it makes it easier for me to read in the stop and go fashion I’ve had to adapt in order to accomplish school, work, and my reading addiction. But a page and a half chapter times 90 or so leaves a lot of blank space in your book.

Other than the mechanics of the book will preface this review by simply saying this was not my favorite book in the series. Betsy is witty and entertaining throughout the book but I was left feeling as if I had just watched a complete stranger traverse time and then face herself in the future. There was so little feeling from Betsy or any of the other characters in this book that I was left wondering if this was fanfiction that someone managed to get published under MJD’s name. Seriously, while all the characters were there (except Baby-Jon in any of the scenes when they are at the house, which I find very strange) it’s like they were given names but no soul.

Eternal vampire hottie Sinclair even got  a personality transplant, though I think a bit of that may have been for the (massively shaky) plot it was still unnerving to see this character that has been detailed so lovingly in other books tossed aside without an excuse for his attitude. The Betsy of the previous books would have called him on his behavior before she started internalizing and fretting over how selfish she has been… forever, which we all knew.

Admittedly this book was funny, who wouldn’t want to be able to call their perfect Sunday school teaching little sister the antichrist and be able to get away with it, because it’s true? Poor innocently perfect Laura who is expected to take over hell one day has a much bigger role in this book than she has in the previous ones. It’s the flow that bothered me, as if there was an outline for the story and the blanks were merely filled in as quickly as possible without regard as to whether the pieces fit seamlessly or not.

Finally, without spoiling the big ending, I call shenanigans… they’re vampires; someone would have smelled that considering how long that thing’s been in the house. And they used to have a werewolf living there, even if you can say the vampires in this universe don’t sniff each other, you can bet the wolves still do. Really.  I don’t buy it.  

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