Undead and Unpopular: Short, silly, and shallow

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsUndead and Unpopular urban fantasy book reviewsUndead and Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson

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

Undead and Unpopular is the fifth book in MaryJanice Davidson’s QUEEN BETSY series. Each of the books in this extremely fluffy paranormal fantasy series is short, silly, and shallow. The only thing that keeps me reading is that they’re quick breezy breaks between more substantial works — something I can read with half my brain tied behind my back. Also, they’re available in downloadable audiobook format at my library. I would have quit if it wasn’t for that, and the fact that I find MaryJanice Davidson’s sense of humor genuinely amusing, and Nancy Wu’s narration exceptional.

In Undead and Unpopular, it’s been about a year since Betsy died and became a vampire. Her 31st birthday is coming up, and she’s planning her wedding, but not everyone is in a party mood. Here’s what’s going on in Betsy’s household: A vampire delegation has arrived to negotiate with Betsy and Eric Sinclair and one of the delegates is the mortal enemy of one of Betsy’s friends. Betsy’s stepmother has had a baby and Betsy is the only person who can comfort him when he has colic, so she’s spending a lot of time babysitting, which annoys Eric. Betsy has decided to stop drinking blood, which makes her cranky. Jon, the former vampire hunter who has a crush on Betsy, has published a book about her first few months as a vampire. It’s called Undead and Unwed and is getting mixed reviews. (Now that’s funny.) Oh, and let’s not forget that there’s a zombie in the attic and that Betsy’s best friend Jessica is ill.

To review Undead and Unpopular, I could pretty much copy and paste my review for the previous book, Undead and Unreturnable. Betsy continues to be shallow and self-absorbed, Eric Sinclair continues to be sinfully sexy, and Betsy’s friends are as snarky as ever. Most of the storylines in this installment are minor, meaningless, and/or quickly resolved. Only a couple of them seem important to the overarching plot of the series and they don’t advance that plot very far.

I doubt that many readers are coming back for the plot, though. The appeal of the QUEEN BETSY series is in the humor and, for me, Nancy Wu’s amazing narration of the audiobooks. If you’re content to listen to Betsy’s shallow snarky personality, you’ll be probably be pleased. But if you’re looking for plot, you’re going to be disappointed with Undead and Unpopular.

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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. I keep seeing these around, but they just don’t appeal to me. I think it’s because I wouldn’t have liked Betsy as a character before she became a vampire.

  2. A vampire who chooses not to drink blood? That’s bizarre. Can vampires ingest other substances for nutrition in this series, or is Betsy deliberately starving herself for some reason? (Or was the author just trying to create drama?)

    • Betsy has an eating disorder. Her vampire friends are very worried, and have staged an intervention… I don’t know. I’m just being silly.

      I’d guess she’s trying to avoid human blood.

  3. Marion, no you wouldn’t like her. She’s shallow, which is funny, but nobody wants to be around that kind of person for very long. I’ve read book six and that’s where I’m stopping.

    She thinks blood is icky. She can’t eat anything else, but she doesn’t really need to. Her resolution doesn’t last long.

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