Book Review: Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (Series, #1)
Betsy was a 30 year old secretary (previously a model, previously a college drop-out) living in Minneapolis, and she was quite content with her life. Oh, a good date would have been nice, but at least she got to drool over the hot detective assigned to figure out who assaulted her a few weeks ago outside an Italian restaurant. Everything was fine. Until she got hit by a car one slippery night in front of her house and woke up undead in the morgue the next day. Even that would have been fine, but the local vampires keep insisting she get involved in vampire politics. True, a lot of the vampire rules don’t seem to apply to her. For instance, holy water only makes her sneeze, but why should she bother with vampire politics when she could be doing more important things like getting her designer shoes back from her stepmother?
This is not paranormal romance. I repeat. This is not paranormal romance! It is, however, what I have chosen to dub paranormal chick lit. Undead and Unwed reads like a Sophie Kinsella novel if it was set in the frigid midwest and had a pleasant back-drop of vampires.
Betsy is one of those main characters who you really think you would hate in real life. In fact, I hated her so much in the first bit of the book that I almost stopped reading it. Statuesque blonde who used to be a model who was too good for college and is illogically obsessed with designer shoes? Blergh. The thing is, though, when she gets turned into a vampire we see the happy-go-lucky, humorous, good souled person underneath. What a flip from typical vampire books, eh? But it works. Betsy is a flawed main character. What a nice change of pace! But she isn’t so flawed that we can’t sympathize with her and enjoy her presence.
Choosing to make Betsy a prophesied mighty vampire puts an interesting twist on the typical paranormal trope. She’s not a non-vampire with interesting powers who shakes up the vampire community, and she’s also not some regular newbie vamp learning the ropes. She’s a vampire who the typical rules don’t apply to, but on top of that, she calls it like she sees it. She laughs at the ridiculous names, pomp, and circumstance the vampires in the area have chosen to burden themselves with. She’s a breath of fresh air, if you will. These combine to make a truly amusing read.
Of course, there is sex, and it’s not badly written at all. The vampire elements are played up more here than they are in series like the Sookie Stackhouse series. Additionally, some readers might be turned off by the revelation that when a vampire feeds on a human, they must also have sex with them so the human gets a similar release. I found this to be a call-back to the grittier vampires such as the type Anne Rice wrote, but I get it that some readers might be a bit skeeved out by that.
Overall, Undead and Unwed is a delightful northern piece of paranormal chick lit that will have you laughing or at least smiling in a wittily bemused fashion. I recommend it to lovers of paranormal and chick lit alike, and I plan on reading the rest of the series.
4 out of 5 stars