UNDEAD AND UNFORGIVEN
Queen Betsy #14
By MaryJanice Davidson
Category: Paranormal Fiction | Paranormal Romance | Fantasy
Penguin Random House/Berkley
E-Book and Hardcover Oct 06, 2015 | 304 Pages
Book provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
If Betsy Taylor has learned anything about ruling Hell it’s: 1) She can’t do it alone, and 2) She doesn’t have to. She’s got the help of a devoted vampire king, a dateless zombie, an exhausted new mom, an unshowered cop, a bitchy ghost, a kindly dead priest, and her late stepmother (“Go Team Satan 2.0!”). But the latest major hurdle in her afterlife is so big she can’t even see it until it’s on YouTube.
Betsy’s father and half sister Laura (a former Antichrist with a grudge) have teamed up, for what sinister purpose Betsy can’t imagine. The former Antichrist didn’t take kindly to getting what she wished for, and has decided that’s entirely the fault of the vampire queen. What that means for Betsy is trouble (more than usual, even) and possible exposure to an unsuspecting world. Meanwhile Hell is having a deleterious effect on Betsy’s friends (“I didn’t think it was possible, but the damned are getting meaner.”), the newly dead are confused about Hell’s new rules (“A buddy system? Really?”), and the vampire king is trying to poach on Betsy’s territory. Betsy loves her husband, but that’s not the same as trusting him.
Before long the king and queen of the vampires aren’t speaking to each other, the mansion on Summit Avenue is a war zone, and Betsy’s getting calls from a werewolf, a mermaid, and worst of all, her mother (“What do you mean you can’t babysit?”). No one said life after death would be easy, but c’mon: this is ridiculous.
Sometimes I think MJD is brilliant, other times I think she is just wacky. This book is silly, funny and advances the story line while allowing the characters to grow and change. Betsy, who comes off like the dumbest, the flakiest monarch ever, is actually hiding some smarts under her designer clothing. She has learned from her experiences.
Saying that, it is also one of the most stream of consciousness, crazily written books I have ever gotten through – which means it has just enough whatever it takes to be cohesive enough to allow one to, more or less, follow the story. I think it is written this way on purpose; as a piece of absurdist fiction.
I even enjoyed it and thought it was clever. I really liked what MJD does with the characters, especially Betsy, Sinclair, Jessica and her family. And, Laura, well the Antichrist learns a few lessons.
I feel like she is tying up loose ends and moving the series to the finish line or to a junction. I see there is one more book listed on Goodreads but haven’t been able to find out how many other books are planned. MJD’s website is not being updated. And this book is not even listed on her site so I don’t know if my impression that the series is winding up is correct. I think it would be a good thing to wind it up as the books have been quite uneven.
But this one is a good entry in the series and made it fun and interesting again.
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