Undead and Undermined by MaryJanice Davidson
Betsy, unwilling queen of the vampires, returns in this, the 10th installment of the Undead/Queen Betsy series. After agreeing to accompany Laura, her half-sister and the Antichrist, to hell and subsequently traveling through time, Betsy Taylor returns to present day St. Paul where she discovers that everything was not as she had originally left it. The timeline has been altered and it’s Betsy’s fault. Worse yet, her future isn’t exactly full of sunshine and designer shoes! Together with Laura, Betsy must somehow find a way to fix the timeline and prevent the disasters of July 3015 from occurring. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy Betsy thinks, and one of her friends will make a decision which impacts everyone’s lives.
We of the What the Cat Read crew are long standing fans of Davidson’s books. We’ve read each of the Undead novels and anxiously awaited each new installment with quivering whiskers. There’s never been a time when we didn’t love the books and rave about them to fellow friends and family, until we read this book. Yes sadly, our whiskers drooped and our tails fell to the floor. For the first time we finished a story and we were at a loss for words. Even our human was left asking, what just happened.
Undead and Undermined lacked so many of the elements that have made the Undead series enjoyable. The humor was bland, the characters were stiff and repetitive, questions from book 9 were left unanswered, and the plot…well let’s face it, there really wasn’t much of a plot. This was not at all what we have come to expect from the series.
For the first time, we wanted to claw Betsy to shreds because of her perpetual whining and brainlessness. Just as she started to show growth as a character, suddenly she has reverted back into how she was at the start of the series. At the same time Sinclair comes across as being way to cloying in his love for Betsy. We understand that the timeline has been altered, but this was just too creepy a change for words. The only character who didn’t rub us the wrong way was Laura, whose development in the series has grown since the previous book.
At the start of the book Davidson thanked her fans for sticking with her after the events in Undead and Unfinished even though many of us had thought she had lost her mind. She also divulged that this was the second book of a three book series within the Undead series itself. To date, we can’t recall of any author who has done such a thing before in an existing series. It was an interesting decision to try, but it doesn’t seem to be working out the way Davidson had hoped.
So why are we giving this book three paws if it failed to live up to expectations? Well the answer is rather simple. For all that this book was lacking in all of the things that we have come to enjoy within the series, there is still an element of unknown and a sense of anticipation towards what is going to happen next. Like with everything in life, there are always those bumps in the road that leave a feline momentarily disoriented and lost, and for the Undead series, this book happens to be one of those bumps. Thus we felines are not about to lose all of our faith in Davidson. Undead and Undermined still held our interest enough to want to make us read the next book of the series, Undead and Unstable. There are questions we want answers to and events that we want to see take place.