Undead and Uneasy: I’m finished with Queen Betsy

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Warning: This review will contain spoilers for the previous books in the QUEEN BETSY series.

Undead and Uneasy is book six in MaryJanice Davidson’s QUEEN BETSY series, a humorous paranormal urban fantasy. I listened to the audio version which is only 5.5 hours long and is read by Nancy Wu.

Betsy is still working on her plans for her wedding to Eric Sinclair, the sexy Vampire King, and trying to stay within her 3 million dollar budget. She’s also spending a lot of time babysitting her half-brother, writing her advice column, and worrying about her best friend’s cancer. Then a sort of tragedy strikes and Betsy has to attend a double funeral. (I say “sort of tragedy” because even though it’s something that would be a tragedy for most people, it hardly fazes Betsy at all — there’s just no emotional impact.)

Then, Betsy’s friends start disappearing, which actually is a tragedy for the vapid vampire queen. Her friend Mark isn’t returning calls, her sister Laura (the prudish church-attending daughter of the devil) hasn’t been around, Tia is in Europe to smooth things over with the vampire delegation, Jessica’s in the hospital getting chemotherapy, Antonia the werewolf has vanished (and her aggressive pack is blaming Betsy), and nobody knows where Sinclair, the groom-to-be, is. Without any of her support system around, eventually Betsy has to take matters into her own hands and go in search of Sinclair. Immediately she runs into trouble that turns deadly and, for the first time ever, she’s on her own.

At the beginning of Undead and Uneasy, there’s a “Letter to My Readers” in which MaryJanice Davidson promises:

Your patience is about to be rewarded… It’s gonna be big… Everything in the Undead universe has been leading to this book… there has been a method to my madness… we’re not all going to make it out alive. And I’m sorry. I know that sucks… You won’t be sorry…

Unfortunately, I was sorry. I was not rewarded, there was nothing big, and the people who didn’t “make it out alive” were unimportant. In Undead and Uneasy there was too much recap of events that happened in previous books and too much of the whiny (but funny) selfish introspection we’ve come to expect from Betsy. When the climactic event happens, it’s all over in just a few minutes. Looking back, the entire story so far seems so meaningless and inconsequential. This may be fine for readers who just want a quick laugh, but I need a little more to chew on. (That seems like an apt metaphor for a series about vampires.)

MaryJanice Davidson is so funny and Nancy Wu is one of the best audiobook narrators I’ve ever listened to, but I think I’ve given QUEEN BETSY enough of my time. I was hoping that by book six the story might have progressed beyond breezy and trivial, but it hasn’t, despite what Davidson promised in her author’s note. If Undead and Uneasy is her idea of “It’s gonna be big,” I think I’m done with this series.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. It’s a very good review, Kat.

  2. I gave up on it long before you did. I don’t have the patience for something that just doesn’t work for me.

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