Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Michele Vail
Series: The Reaper Diaries, #1
Publication date: November 20th 2012
by Harlequin Teen

The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper-and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.
*A copy was provided by Harlequin Teen for review purposes*
You know me and my love of zombies. I couldn't resist this any more than I can resist chocolate. But unlike chocolate, Undeadly left quite the sour taste in my mouth. Not right from the beginning, where I actually found myself amused by the sarcastic personality of our protagonist, but about half way through I started to get annoyed by things I could previously ignore, or irritated by our main character who I realized is not very... smart.

You will notice right away that Molly has quite the sense of humor. In a world with zombies and reapers, it can get a little morbid and pretty comical which was an immediate sign--or so I thought--that I was going to like her. But then, I began to see how very unintelligent she was and the liking came to an abrupt halt. I can deal with young, naive characters, who may not always do the right thing, or become blinded by teenagerism, but plain stupidity, I cannot. No better way to explain, than to show you a few example:

-- "Police!" I shrieked and raised my hands.

-- (trying to use her magic ring) "not knowing what else to do, I reached down and poked it"

-- Side character to Molly: "The windows are barred. The front door is welded shut, and there is necro magic keeping you bound. You cannot leave." […] She patted my cheek, and then turned. The door shut behind her, and the lock snicked.
   Molly: "I couldn't figure [her] out. Was she friend… or foe?" And this is after she learns this character is working with the dark side.

-- Not long after Molly is locked in that room, she hears gunshots, doors slam, tires squeal, and a friend tells her there's a weakness in the spell binding her there so they should leave ASAP…. This is what Molly does:
"I went into the bathroom. When I was finished, I washed my hands. I stared at myself in the cracked mirror"… Really? What's the rush? Let me just stare at my face a moment…

-- Then there's the way she talks: I sooooo wanted to, like, sooooooo much.

Even her supporting characters know it:

Rennie:"You're stupid," he said. "You know that, right?"

With such an exasperating character, it might not have been as bad if at least the plot and writing would make up for it. Such is not the case here. We get a blindingly predictable plot, tepid action, and from the very start I knew I was in for a vomit-inducing romance. We meet the first guy, who is pretty high on himself, and within a few pages--after Molly goes: "Oh, yeah. He was definitely feeling attracted to me. It’s the body language thing, you know?"--they're making out, and he's telling her he wants to date her, that she's pretty and has waited for her for a long time, all that jazz. Fast forward 3 minutes when he meets her father and immediately tells him “I have every intention of kissing Molly, sir”. Yep. Very odd this one. Fortunately, he does die a sudden death. Unfortunately, it doesn't last. Then enters Rath. You guessed it! The bad boy of the love triangle: Rath... Enough said.

The Egyptian mythology added in the plot is a little of a saving grace. I loved the facts and details scattered throughout. The unique zombie lore added to this already fascinating mythology creates a really creative premise. I do think the author went a little overboard when trying to animate this mythological vibe in the book, however. On every other page someone exclaims "Holy Anubis" or "Sweet Anubis", even "Sweet tea and Anubis". Maybe I was simply irritated by so many things already, but every time this was said it was as if it screamed it out at me, grating on my every nerve. When we finally do meet Anubis, the god the underworld, it was completely underwhelming, and not at all up to par with my vision of a God of the underworld with his joking demeanor and blasé attitude.

And of course, Elvis had to be in a book about zombies set it Vegas:
"Nobody had been able to call forth the spirit of the King, not even the company who bought rights to his spirit".

I did not like this book.

*The quotes in this review are from the uncorrected proof*

2 Espressos