Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Published by: Harlequin Teen on November 20, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal, Zombies
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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.
I was really excited to read Undeadly because it sounded like some kind of awesome Harry Potter zombie/reaping book! Totally cool, right? As promised, Undeadly had some awesome story elements, but the book itself wasn’t as great as I was hoping.
My first issue with Undeadly was the main character. This issue is more of a personal preference thing though. Molly has a really strong voice throughout the entire book, which is a good thing, but she came off as too young and immature for my liking. She is 16 years old, which is fine, but there were just a lot of behavioural elements that annoyed me. In fact, one of the characters in the book described my thoughts really well:
I think you’re immature, irresponsible, and ditzy.
ARC of Undeadly by Michele Vail
The main problem was that Molly was constantly using vocabulary that felt really childish. Here are a few examples:
At first it didn’t bother me, but after the one millionth instance of “hoo-kay” (every time she would say “okay”), I was getting ready to explode. But this behaviour might not bother plenty of people; it just so happens that those terms and that kind of behaviour irks me.
Another similar annoyance was the way that Rath always referred to Molly as “brown eyes.” I don’t think he ever used her real name once throughout the entire book.View Spoiler » [
Furthermore, I was annoyed with Molly when she found out she was adopted. I guess I shouldn’t really judge people who get adopted, so maybe I’m just insensitive, but I hate it when someone finds out they’re adopted and then they say to their adoptive father, “YOU’RE NOT MY DAD! YOU’RE A LIAR! I DON’T BELONG HERE! I’M NOT PART OF THIS FAMILY! THIS ISN’T MY HOUSE!” Her adoptive father was so nice and sweet and she basically ignored him for the entire book because she was pissed at him for lying to her. Maybe I shouldn’t be judging because I haven’t been adopted, but it was just another thing that kind of set me off. I mean, relax. The guy raised you, why does it matter so much if you don’t share blood?
Moving on, the only other problem I had with Undeadly was the length and level of detail. This is a really short book: only 272 pages. But Michele Vail has a lot of content to cover, and I think the level of detail suffered as a result. In Undeadly we have zombies, reapers, necromancers, Molly, Molly’s family, an elite necromancer school, a new group of friends, a love interest, a school bully/enemy, training at school, etc. There just weren’t enough pages in the book to give all these things an adequate amount of detail. As a result, I feel like I didn’t get invested in any of the characters that well and they felt really shallow.
Many of the events also felt brief, and the scenes often jumped or skipped quite a bit. As an example, we never actually have a full, detailed scene of one of Molly’s training sessions. They’re all just briefly skipped over. And when Molly meets new friends, we get introduced to them, but since the book jumps from one event to another so quickly, I feel like they went from being acquaintances to being a tight-knit group of friends almost immediately. I never really got to know them or see their relationship develop.
Overall, I just lacked that deep connection to the book because of the small amount of detail. The book felt more like a summary of events rather than a detailed account. Since I couldn’t get that invested, I wasn’t super excited about the book and I wasn’t jumping up and down with excitement. But Undeadly did still have some strong points..
The overall story and idea in Undeadly is awesome. I really love the incorporation of Egyptian mythology! In some ways it reminded me of The Kane Chronicles. We get Anubis, the Underworld, parts of the soul, and more! The mythology was great to read about and I was super eager to learn more!
I know my review is critical, but that doesn’t mean Undeadly is a bad book. I wasn’t bored, I wasn’t clawing my eyes out (except for maybe “hoo-kay”), and I wasn’t sitting there thinking “This is awful.” The book was entertaining and I was enjoying reading it. With more detail and a slightly less annoying main character, I think I would have really loved the book! I still encourage people to give this book a chance, just don’t go into it expecting it to be mind-blowing.