Undeadly by Michele Vail

UndeadlyUndeadly by
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Published by: Harlequin Teen on
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal, Young Adult, Zombies
Pages: 272
Source: NetGalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Rating: 3/5

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:

Hoo-kay
OMG
Whatevs

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 »

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.

The Verdict

okay

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15 comments

  1. Oh my… I write notes whenever I’m reading a book to review and in mine for Undeadly I have: “Molly – a bit frustrating. I know she’s young (only 16) but she’s incredibly egocentric to the point I don’t really want her to succeed. She’s really annoying.” So I’m glad I’m not the only one who found her to be a little frustrating.

    I also wrote down that I thought there was too much time spend on mundane events and not nearly enough on the action scenes. I wanted more of the time in Vegas, more at the trial… they both felt rushed and like the key points in the novel that something really happened.

    Thanks for commenting on my post 🙂 It seems we have a lot of thoughts in common regarding this book. I’m about to go read Stormdancer and will definitely be reading your review when I’ve finished reading it.

    1. It’s so cool that we had such similar thoughts! I do think that with a bit more work this could be a really good book because there are some awesome ideas in there. They just needed to be incorporated a bit better. And as you said, we need more time spent on the big, intense events.

      I thought Stormdancer was really good! I will warn you that the first 70 pages are pretty brutal… There are loads of detailed descriptions and honestly, it was a little boring. But hang in there because once the action starts, things really turn around and it becomes a really good book!

    1. I hope you enjoy it a bit more than I did. I think I might just be too old for this book lol. The main character’s behaviour might cater more towards young teenagers.

      I can’t wait to see what you think!

  2. I’ve seen the same critics in another review: the fact that Molly isn’t one of the best characters. I think it will definitely annoy me, but the concept of this book is still too fascinating for me. Only a shame that there aren’t enough pages to give every detail enough room. I have an eARC and I will read it, but I’m going to keep these things in mind 🙂 Lovely review.

    Mel - Thedailyprophe recently posted: Review 77. Alethea Kontis – Enchanted.
    1. I can’t wait to see what you think of Undeadly, Mel! Maybe you’ll end up enjoying it more than I did. There are definitely some cool ideas—especially towards the end of the book—they were just a little too rushed!

  3. Great review!! I didn’t really enjoy this book. I am glad that even with the things that bothered you, you were still able to like the book. I couldn’t stand Molly and it became almost like torture trying to read the book in her voice. I did like some aspects of it, but she was too much for me to handle.

    1. Thanks Amy! 🙂 I really do know what you mean. Towards the end especially, Molly was driving me totally nuts! There definitely were some cool things in the book but I wish they got more attention. Like the very very end (trying to avoid spoilers, so I apologize for vagueness :P). That was a pretty huge event, I thought, but it was over in a flash and wasn’t very detailed!

      1. Yes! The end seemed so rushed. This had potential to be really great, and for people who aren’t annoyed by a character like Molly I’m sure it really is an awesome book. She was most of the reason I couldn’t enjoy it. I mean there were other things that bothered me too, but mostly her haha!!

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