Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

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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
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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33 Responses to “Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm


    The premise sounds so good but after your review and a couple others panning the book, I’m definitely going with no. I HATE irritating things like the Anubis cursing, stupidly annoying characters and underwhelming underworld gods. Darn them all.

  2. Christina

    Chocolate would NEVER do this to you. I’m so glad I backed out of this tour (though I think someone might have forgotten that).

    Wooooow, “was she friend or foe?” *headdesk* WHICH COULD IT BE? Living is hard.

    Oh my god, characters that dally in the midst of crises are a pet peeve of mine. Like we’re in the middle of a battle, so now’s the perfect time to declare our love for one another and make out for fifteen minutes. No, bitches, no. If characters did that in a story of mine they would DIE in a spray of bullets. Molly deserves death also. Like soooooo much.

    Gross! Why would he tell her dad? He might as well have said “Btws, dude, TOTALLY boning your daughter later!” What the eff?

  3. Jenea Whittington

    This sounded like it had so much potential to be great. I am going to start it soon. I am a little afraid that I am not going to like this as much as I thought I would. Sorry you didn’t care for it much..

  4. Amy

    Oh no! I’m starting this tonight. I hope I like it enough. It does sound like she is a very dumb character. And Ugh!! Did you say love triangle!! Shoot me now! Hopefully I will be able to get past it. My tour stop is coming up so if not I will have to do an excerpt or something.

  5. Paranormal Book Fan

    This is one I was really looking forward to, so even though I have read a few reviews saying she could be quite annoying, I was still hoping I’d take to her and be able to enjoy this book. But going by your review, I won’t. I’m disappointed to say the least. Thank you for the explanatory review Giselle.

  6. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Oh goodness, I just died reading this review. I picked this up yesterday and read to about 15% and realised that there was no way in hell I could make it through this novel. Once I had talked to you and found out it gets worth, rather than better, I promptly put it down. I can’t deal with a dumb MC I just can’t. I want someone I can root for not someone I want to throw down a deep dark hole. Great review chick!

  7. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    I enjoyed this one. It was lighter than I was expecting but it worked okay for me. I thought Molly was funny and somewhat of a realistic teenager. Teens are pretty ditzy at times. The Egyptian mythology was really neat and I thought Rick and Rath were both decent but we didn’t learn too much about them.

  8. Mel@Thedailyprophecy.

    Oh man, another review with the same complaints. I see them everywhere. Especially the naieve and unintelligent Molly is a huge problem for me. I can’t stand characters like that. Some of the examples you gave really made me roll my eyes, so that isn’t a good sign.. I got an eARC through Netgalley and now I feel like it’s a waste of time. I will try it out, but I guess it will become a DNF.

    + love-triangle..

  9. Alexa

    Oh dear. I think I’m reading this one soon, and now I’m VERY nervous about it. Hopefully the Egyptian mythology added in will somewhat distract me from the other things…

  10. Bonnie R

    That’s too bad you didn’t end up liking it more… I was super intrigued by this the first time I saw it. I can never say no to zombies either. But I was skeptical. Glad I skipped on this one. Great review though! 🙂

  11. Kara_Malinczak

    Ummm, glad I decided to not request this one and skip it. Something about the blurb and cover rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning. The reviews have been pretty horrendous.

    Anyway, great review and you made me laugh like always!

  12. Maji Bookshelf

    Even after reading your review, I kind of have NO memory what so ever of this book!! I mean, i gave it 3 stars, it was fine, but i FORGOT EVERYTHING!! I really do agree about the author going a bit overboard, because i remember being VERY confused at what the hell was going on with all the magic and weird stuff going on.. lol. Anyways great review!
    – Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  13. Holly Bryan

    That was fabulous!!! Your review, that is… not the book, apparently! (ouch) I agree with others, I was really looking forward to this one cause it sounded so good from the blurb and all… Sadly, I take it that is not the case, since you’re NOT the first reviewer who’s panned it. I feel kinda bad for the author, but… well, live and learn. Perhaps #2 will be better?? Of course, I’m guessing you won’t be finding out… 🙂

    (Also just had to say Christina’s comment below – HILARIOUS!)

  14. Jesse Burgoyne

    HAHAHA! Your review killed me! Maybe it would be better going into this one thinking of it more along the lines of a spoof? I really had no intention of reading this one after seeing so many bad reviews, but I kind of think if I read it as a joke it might just be funny. or maybe not and I’ll end up hurling the book into a fire place. I don’t know.

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  15. Nazish Reads

    I was so excited about this book when I heard of it months ago, but after reading yours and a few others, that I’m taking it off my tbr list. I even chose it for a Waiting on Wednesday post a while ago.
    Sometimes I don’t mind stupid characters (although that’s mostly in mangas, because they do so many funny things), but I don’t like many stupid protagonists in novels. And from the quotes, she sounds really irritating.
    And wow, “I couldn’t figure [her] out. Was she friend… or foe?” That should have been obvious, this kind of stupidity isn’t even funny.
    Thank you for the honest review, as always.

    -Nazish @ Nazish Reads

  16. Sarah (saz101)

    Oh dear… oh Giselle. OK. I’ve seriously only read, like a chapter and a half of this, but her voice. HER VOICE. LIKE, RIIIIIGHT? AND, LIKE, OMG?
    I’m kind of amused that she’s kind of… dumb? But… I mean, OK, Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir. Rose isn’t booksmart, but she’s not dumb. It’s a shame that wasn’t done better. And… I’m so sorry you didn’t like this! But I *DID* like your review a whole lot ;D

  17. Soma Rostam

    Well, i haven’t read any reviews of Undeadly. But it seems that this book was a REAL disappointment. I hate it when the characters are so stupid, you just want to jump into the book and slap them.
    I love the idea of the Egyptian mythology. I am a little familiar with it, the gods and goddesses and such stuff. But it’s strange that you say it was under-estimating. Egyptian gods are powerful, strong and have some kind of charisma. It looks like the author didn’t pull the off very well.
    Always your reader,

  18. Amber Elise

    Girlfriend. I read this book in 4 hours BECAUSE I WANTED TO BE DONE WITH IT.

    Seriously, it rotted my brain. I agree with everything you said, Molli came off as stupid and her teenager vocabulary HURT MY SOUL.

    “I did not like this book” sums ALL of it up! LoL! Go read something happy now!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

  19. Lizzy

    I almost picked this book up today, but then I stopped because I hadn’t read any reviews on it yet and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Thanks for your honest review. I think I’ll hold off a little while longer before reading this book.