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Bibliophile reviews Undead and Unwed (paranormal)

Author: Mary Janice Davidson
Year published: 2004
Pages: 255

First in a series.

The Story:
Elizabeth “Betsy” Taylor is a talkative, shallow shoe-addict with an attitude that comes her in good steed but also causes problems when she is struck by a car and rises two days later as a vampire (read the book to find out why). The discovery that her stepmother has stolen all her designer shoes and intended to bury her wearing a pink suit (a colour she hates) and cheap shoes initially upsets her more than being dead. Everything indicates that she is the new Queen of the vampires: she can enter churches, touch crosses and say “God” without any discomfort; instead of burning her, holy water only makes her sneeze; daylight just makes her sleepy; and dogs and people are attracted to her like iron filings to a magnet. Not to mention that men get horny just looking at her, something she has never experienced before. She soon discovers that there are two vampire clans in the city: Nostradamus’s clan, who want her to become Nostro’s (as she calls him) minion, and Sinclair’s clan, who believe her to be the prophesied vampire Queen. Betsy just wants to be left alone to live her death as she pleases, but she has no clue about how to survive as a vampire, and reluctantly accepts Sinclair’s help. When she decides to join the war against Nostro, his people kidnap her and that’s when the real trouble starts…

Technique and plot:
The story is well written and funny, but with serious moments as well. The main characters are well drawn: Betsy is saved from being a totally intolerable ditz by her fierce independence and her warm protective feelings for her friends and family; and Sinclair is saved from being a typical sexy vampire king by actually having a personality. Nostro, unfortunately is a stereotypical villain.
The story is told by Betsy herself, in a tone that made me think of Cher in the movie Clueless.
This book is classified by the publisher as a “paranormal romance”, which is a misnomer. There is very little love in the sense of romance in the story, and certainly no falling in love. Falling in lust, yes, but not in love.
The story is partly a parody of the vampire genre, while still being very much part of it. Betsy is an atypical vamp who will do anything to protect her friends and family from being hurt. This makes her a sympathetic character, a difficult feat when telling the story of a member of a parasitical race that preys on humans.

Rating: A funny vampire story, Carmilla lite, that makes an entertaining afternoon’s read. A relief after the intensity of the Anita Blake books. 3 stars.


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