Undead and Unemployed
For readers of Undead and Unwed, you know what to expect here. A sarcastic heroine who’s so totally not cool with her vampiric status and, horror of horrors, her exalted position as the vampire Queen; a sexy stud of a vampire king and our heroine’s consort whether she likes it or not; a troop of fellow undead who insist – despite frequent pleas to the contrary – on calling her “Your Majesty”; and lots of laughs. Make that lots and lots and lots of laughs. Too many laughs, as a matter of fact.
While Undead and Unemployed is a fast and fun book, its characters are also paper thin. Don’t get me wrong – there’s lots of fun to be had here, but outside of Betsy’s objections to the whole Queen business and her hostility towards her consort Sinclair, this book is all about the plot, even more so than the previous entry in the series that had at least some meat to it as Betsy and her family dealt with her undead-ness.
Determined to live a “normal” life, Betsy stumbles into her dream job: Selling designer shoes at Macy’s. But a regular schedule – albeit evenings only – simply doesn’t mesh with Betsy’s responsibilities to her vampire subjects when vamps all over town suddenly start getting staked. Clearly, it’s an organized effort and, just as clearly, it’s got to be stopped.
That, fellow readers, is the plot. Throughout the book’s 272 pages Betsy, Sinclair, and the already established cast of secondary characters trade quips, insult each other, annoy each other, and eventually solve the crimes.
I like Betsy very much and, frankly, that’s the best reason to read this series. Okay, she’s shallow and, yep, it’s time to get over her hostility towards Sinclair, but what I love most about Betsy is that she’s always trying – trying to maintain her grip on life, trying to excel at a job she really cares about, and trying pretty much all the time to do the right thing, even it is really annoying or (even worse!) revolting.
Of course, any series of this kind must have a sexy super stud, and MaryJanice Davidson has done a nifty job of creating just that in the character of Sinclair. His relentless insistence that Betsy is his queen, along with his perfect face and body and commanding air (he’s a king consort, you know) add up to one major stud muffin. Betsy, babe, get over it – as mates for a thousand years go, you could do far, far, far worse.
As always, the jokes here fly fast and furiously – at times too furiously for my taste. Hey, sometimes, a reader needs a break and Ms. Davidson just doesn’t give you much here. (Well, there is a pretty scorching sex scene late in the book, but I wouldn’t call that a break, would you?) Still, I’m in for the next book and the one after that and the one after that.
Though the vampire theme is hardly original, MaryJanice Davidson’s take on the genre is decidedly different from any that have gone before. Her voice is unique and that is a very, very big plus, but I can’t help but think that dialing down the laughs and dialing up the focus on her characters might result in an even better book. As Cordelia once remarked so memorably on Buffy: “What, I can’t have layers?” Though Betsy might not know it herself, she’s got them too and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that at some point in the future we’ll get to catch a glimpse of them.