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Undead and Unwed
ISBN: 042519485X

By: Mary Janice Davidson
Review by: Kim Wells


First anecdote: A friend of mine who shares my love of vampire fiction gave me this book and emphatically said "you totally have to read this." I'll admit that it languished on my "read soon" stack for a while because I thought, "oh no. NOT another one." The protagonist of this book would probaby agree with me (were she, you know, real).

Second anecdote: My group of friends used to call this one member "a hoot." We would laugh and say "She's a HOOT!" This was when said friend was still fun, and her fun nature could not be summed up any better than that laughing cliche.

Now, for the review:

This is a perfect summer beach/pool/lawn in park read. It is so much fun you'll zip through it and look for more-- sort of like chugging that happy hour cosmopolitan and licking your martini glass for more. You totally have to adore any book that starts off "The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry." It's a HOOT!

You gotta love a vampire book where (at least some) of the vampires don't take themselves so deathly serious. (Hah! I said deathly in a vampire book review). All that goth leather and velvet and long flowy slithery cloaks and jewel encrusted goblets and moping about in graveyards. As if being dead isn't depressing enough. Even as a fan of vampire stuff, I found myself agreeing with Betsy when she describes:

I groaned when we pulled up outside. . . a cemetery! Mwah-hah-hah! Who knows...what evil....lurks...in the hears.... of men. Oh puke.

"Come on, you guys," I complained as they prodded me from the limousine. "Must we live out every stereotype? If you're taking me to see a guy in a cape with a high collar, I'll be very upset." (75)


Betsy also tells us such great ones as "Being dead really makes you think". The humor in this book, which parodies vampire and romance novels but manages to still be a bit of both is fun, if you don't try to take it too seriously yourself. Think of the title's play on the idea of "a fate worse than death" and the old play on the unmarried woman's must get married or else credo.

Betsy "thinks"(what kind of vampire name is Betsy?) about where her life (now defunct) led her, her loss of her favorite designer shoes (and how can a seriously undead girl keep up when her credit cards are all invalid at the same time she avoids cheap knockoffs and bad mortuary makeup?). She also turns out to be the mythically prophesied vampire queen who tangles with a sexy, brooding male vamp, but tries hard to resist him a la Oprah advice cause she knows a bad boy when she sees one.

This entertaining and sometimes surprising twist on the vampire romance combines Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Sex in the City (really.) It has all the sex, the shoes, and the gorgeous model-blonde turned thoughtful. We might as well have her tapping away on her laptop, sipping a martini and talking sex in her column. What I liked about this one is that the vampire chick has some fun, isn't just the sidekick for a male vamp, and doesn't groan too much over her fate, and isn't a virginal prude who hates her sexuality as a "vampire thing".

It's definitely a happy hour (or two) you will spend reading. Just be sure to leave your goth makeup in the drawer. I'm fairly certain it's the start of a series, and I could handle more of them. As long as my liver holds out from the Cosmos.

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