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Undeadly by Michele Vail Book Review – "Not feeding a zombie isn’t like not feeding your cat. He. Will. Eat. You. And your cat. People who forget to pick up a case of Ghoul-AID sometimes don’t live to regret it. Capisce?"

Title: Undeadly by Michele Vail
Author Info: Bio | Website | Twitter
Publication: Nov 20th 2012 by Harlequin Teen
So, my… um, friend gave me a diary for my sixteenth birthday because, apparently, it’s a necromancer tradition...
Story Arc: Series, Book 1
Paperback: 272 pages
Age Group: MG, Teen, YA
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Excerpt(s): 8% + 46%
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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.
Review: Just before going into this book, I ran to Goodreads for a refresher on the premise. Huh. Egyptian mythology. I thought, after a casual shrug, Cool. In that arena, Undeadly by Michele Vail impressed me, as it ties in really well with the story and seems well-researched. At the same time, the plot has a noticeably inconsistent pace and while the narration is funny and light, the main character is immature enough to induce some *eye-rolls*. It seems as though Undeadly by Michele Vail retains a pattern I noticed while reading. The author is very good at introducing intriguing concepts, but charges toward the basket a little too eagerly, loses focus, and then flubs the chance for a slam dunk. Horrendous basketball analogy aside, this book has a lot of potential, but some of its execution rubbed me the wrong way, and ultimately chipped away at any excitement I was feeling towards the story.

I know I’m not the only one who will be annoyed with Molly’s hoo-kays that appear to crop up every five seconds. Molly is the embodiment of what the author believes a teenager to be—shallow, negligent, and immature. While I have to agree that those elements can definitely be the threads of the adolescent psyche, not all teenagers carry themselves with those qualities at the forefront, and, unfortunately, Molly is just not one of them. Which is fine, if you’re able to rationalize it as you go through Undeadly by Michele Vail. But, frankly, it just got to be irksome and didn’t endear Molly to me at all. However, I will give her props for her humor as well as the glimmer of growth heading toward the wrap-up. And, after pondering her characterization some more, I have a feeling there’ll be a lot more growth in store, and bearing that in my mind, I haven’t written Molly Bartolucci off yet.

And the same can be said for the overarching plot of the series. Next to Molly, my main qualm with Undeadly by Michele Vail was the pacing and… distribution of the plot. There has to be a certain balance for me to be fully pulled and adhered to the plot, and Vail didn’t do as well of a job as I’d liked. There’s so much information (see: info-dumping) and many ideas that Vail seems to want to cover, and yet there’s a surprisingly short page length. What does that mean for us readers? We’re subjected to an inconsistently paced plot, in which nothing gets enough page time to get the right amount of detail and depth, especially characters and major events. At points, it felt like a scene or two had been skipped, and I found myself trekking back to see if I’d read wrong or my eyes had gone screwy (neither was true, in case you were suspicious). However, Vail really does incorporate some awesome ideas, ones that leave me with hope for the next installment. Because I do want to get to know Rath better and rip off his shirt, I want to learn more about Anubis and Set, and I find myself also wanting to stick around to witness Molly’s possible growth in the future books.

Most Likely to Be Enjoyed By: If it serves a purpose, I don’t mind length. I wish this book had more of it. That said, a reader who enjoys lighter loads as far the length of a book might be more inclined to enjoy the speed of the plot. Vail’s intriguing interpretation of Egyptian mythology might also be a strong lure, as it’s convincingly written. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone looking for a lot of depth. It’s as if Vail is trying to get there, but doesn’t quite make it in Undeadly by Michele Vail. If you’re someone who can go with the flow and appreciate some creative ideas, then this book might make good a read anyway.

Content Warning: There are zombies in this book, and where zombies are, spilt blood almost always follows. Still, nothing particularly gruesome is introduced. I actually think this book is suited more to a younger audience than it seems to be pitched for. Middle grade and younger teens may have a better time with this book than older readers.

Blog Rating: Guilty Pleasure
We've all read our fair share of Guilty Pleasure books. You know the ones, the books that you somehow like despite the fact that it's got some undermining qualities (i.e. slow-paced plot, instaluv, inaccessible characters aka No Spark Characters, etc.). For some reason they remain incredibly addictive.


Goodreads Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quotes/Scenes:

Not that you needed words to perform magic. Sometimes, using a word or phrase was helpful to get the focus going, but if you had any heka gift, you could access it pretty easily and without acting like you just graduated from Hogwarts.

I awoke to bright sunshine slanting across my face. I threw my arm over my eyes. “Gah!” I said. “The light! It burns!”
“I’m quite sure you are not on fire, Miss Briarstock,” Henry’s rasping voice assured me. “Come now, miss. You must prepare for classes.”
“Whaaa?” I muttered as I rolled across the bed to get away from the relentless sunshine. It was everywhere…

OTHER REVIEWS:
  1. The Cozy Reader


MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN:
  1. Something Strange and Deadly
  2. Cursed
  3. Alice in Zombieland
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Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Also, what is your favorite zombie YA novel you've read so far?

5 comments:

Heidi said...

*sigh* I know just what you mean. I HATE when there's this amazingly awesome and fun concept and then an author just craps their pants. I have a feeling I'd find Molly insufferable and wouldn't even make it through this one, which is a shame, because it was on my radar. Lovely review though, thank you for saving me from a potential fatal case of eye rolling!

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