Undeadly by Michele Vail ~Release Day Review
by Michelle Vail
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: November 20, 2012
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository
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.
The cover whore in me desperately wanted to read Undeadly and once I read the synopsis and saw the word reaper, I was all over this. The first in the Reaper Diaries I was both delighted and disappointed. The premise for this urban fantasy is brilliant, but the protagonist and the choppy story-line had me shaking my head..
The tale is wrapped in Egyptian mythology and much of our history has been rewritten to include the God Anubis, reapers and zombies. Molly is ka heka necromancer. In Molly’s world the existence of necromancers is common knowledge, as is magic, ghosts, ghouls and zombies. On the eve of Molly’s sixteenth birthday, she has a dream in which Anubis appears and asks if she will be his chosen one. Fearful, she says, yes. The night of her birthday she experiences her first kiss and unknowingly undoes the work of another reaper named Rath. From that moment on her life drastically changes. Her world is turned upside down and she finds herself attending the Nekyia Academy; an elite school for the world’s best necromancers. The tale that unfolded was fascinating. There are those who seek to aid Molly and others that wish to see Seth returned. Sounds awesome right?
Molly is an interesting characters and I struggled with her. She is bright, inquisitive, and at times fearless. She is also childish and not very well fleshed out. Her teen dialect is a smorgasbord of slang. Her use of “fine, whateves”, “dude” and “total bummer” had me trapped in the nineties, and then there is the “anyway”, “sigh”, “ugh”. Weirder still terms like mondo ick ness?!? Maybe it was an attempt to make her snarky, but sadly she came off as shallow. None of the characters were well fleshed out in this novel. Rick is the young man she is crushing on and Rath is a reaper who makes her heart flutter. There is some flirting, but no real romance. We get a couple of tender moments, which is fine and expected in an urban fantasy. Her new friends at school, sounded interested on the surface, but we never got pass that. I loved her ghoul Henry, and he was only two-dimensional. Anubis was portrayed wearing jeans and it didn’t seem real. There is an evil chick with her sidekicks but it never develops. Aunts, Grandparents and teachers make appearances and we begin to get a sense of their roles. All of the characters had potential and I was disappointed that I never really got to know them
The premise to this series is fascinating and I loved the world but it never became more than just a story for me. We get an information dump in the beginning and then gain knowledge through Molly’s journal entries. Quotes from history texts appear at the top of each chapter, and provide historical information. The tale itself surrounds the history of Anubis and Set, the God of Chaos and I loved this aspect of the book. A great battle was fought and Set was captured and imprisoned by Anubis in the underworld. It is prophesied that he will escape bringing a great war and that one of Anubis’s Chosen will defeat him. We get snip-bits of our history shared with the added twist of zombies and seers. Molly slowly learns about her reaping abilities and begins training and I enjoyed this thread. There are some tense moments and she discovers who is plotting against Anubis. For every question answered however more were left unanswered. Despite issues with characters, a choppy story-line and the way in which information was provided I enjoyed it enough to continue reading. Things kind of wrapped up and then in one chapter the author dumps a cliffhanger on us.
Undeadly was a likeable read but I never became swept up and lost in the tale. I am really hoping that book two is tighter and more fleshed out. It is my hope that Molly will mature before book two and becomes more believable/likable. I have no doubt some people will love this and encourage you to check other reviews.
I want to thank Harlequin Teen for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
I gave this novel 2.5 coffee cups out of 5
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