Undead and Unwelcome
Published 2009 282 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Fifty thousand angry werewolves. That’s what Betsy is facing when she takes her werewolf friend Antonia’s body to Cape Cod, where the Pack resides at Wyndham Manor. Because Antonia died in her service, Betsy is alive and well – and wracked with guilt. She has no idea if the Wyndham werewolves will greet her with fangs or friendship.
While Betsy and her husband, Sinclair, try to make nice, their legal ward, BabyJon freaks out every werewolf he meets. Meanwhile, Betsy’s posse back at the St Paul mansion is not LOLing. Increasingly frantic e-mails alert Betsy to her half sister’s increasingly erratic behaviour. Looks like the devil’s daughter is coming into her own – and raising hell. All in the name of making Betsy’s life easier, of course.
Undead and Unwelcome is the eighth outing for MaryJanice Davidson’s self-obsessed vampire queen Betsy Taylor. Undead and Unwelcome is also the second book in a new three book story arc within the series – meaning that it won’t make much sense if you haven’t read Undead and Unworthy the previous book in this series.
While Undead and Unwelcome does start with a brief “The Story So Far” page many of the following pages are also taken up with explaining events from previous books, giving the story something of a repeated feel in places. There is a danger here that dedicated series readers may feel short changed by the contemplation of events that they are already aware of which then leaves even less time in the novel for developing the current story arc. And, lets be honest here, there wasn’t much time to start off with since this book is only 282 pages of large text to start off with.
Usually the narration of the Undead series is left to Betsy, whose narcissistic inner voice has become increasingly shrill and much less funny over the past couple of novels. Betsy’s narration is slightly toned down in this latest story and she immediately became a more engaging character as a result, yes she’s still self-centred and shoe-obsessed, but somehow way more likeable. Perhaps this is because Undead and Unwelcome is partly narrated by Dr. Marc Spangler meaning that readers get regular breaks from Betsy.
Marc keeps the reader abreast of events happening back at home in Minneapolis while Betsy deals with werewolves in Cape Cod. He tells his part of the story in increasingly alarming diary entries as he unwittingly finds out that you can literally pave the way to hell with good intentions.
MaryJanice Davidson seems to be steering the Undead series back onto track with Undead and Unwelcome. It is closer to her earlier writing form with main protagonist Betsy seeming more amusing, than annoying, in this outing.
However, overall plot development is remarkably slow and the plotline is barely enough to hold up the novel, even one as scanty as this. While I have immensely enjoyed the adventures of Betsy Taylor in the past (sometimes a lightweight bit of vampire chick-lit fluff is the perfect quick read) I also have to say that every new book seems to have less substance than the last. This wouldn’t be an issue if these were published in a cheap format but Undead and Unwelcome is published in hardback in the US and in large format paperback in the UK – making them an expensive bit of fluff.
Undead and Unwelcome is a welcome addition to the Undead series and makes perfect reading for lazy summer afternoons.
Rated at 3.5 out of 5 (I rated it down a whole star for being such poor value for money.)
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