Tuesday, October 4, 2016

ARC Review: Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson

Series:     Undead #15
Pub. Date:Oct 4, 2016
Publisher:Berkley
Length:304 pages
Source:NetGalley

This series has always been a humorous escape for me, so I am sad to see it end... but I also believe that it's ending in a good place. As readers, we aren't always happy with how a series pans out... but I think this one was wrapped up quite nicely. Maybe with the potential for a spinoff? ::Cough::Jon Taylor::Cough::

Warning!!! This review may contain spoilers for prior books in the series. So if you aren't caught up... what the heck is wrong with you? No - seriously - read at your own risk and don't blame me if you accidentally see that Betsy changed the timeline again and now is obsessed with Birkenstocks, not Blahniks. <evil laugh>

So Undead and Done picks up right where Undead and Unforgiven left off. The Anti-Christ, Laura Goodman, has outed Betsy and the vampires to society... and Betsy has just confirmed it in a sort-of press release. Reporters are camping outside the mansion, Betsy is giving interviews, and the werewolves are storming into town. But it's not all earth-bound drama in this final installment. While the Mall of Hell is running smoothly these days, Betsy decides to kickstart her parole program with the first test case. Is releasing people from Hell really a good idea, or is it going to blow up in Betsy's face?

I've seen Hell and I've been audited. The Antichrist doesn't scare me.

So before reading this final installment... what I was most looking forward to? Well, I wanted to see the Anti-Christ and the Deadbeat Dad come to a huge inglorious ending. I wanted karma, dang it. I have just hate-hate-hated Laura the last few books. She was a sanctimonious asshat and I couldn't understand why Betsy always seemed to make excuses for her. And don't get me started on her odious father - he was just awful from the beginning. I also wanted the story behind Jessica's weird time-traveling babies. I just loved all their iterations that started popping up in the last couple of books. Did I get everything I wanted?  Well - I'm not telling! Some things happened, some things didn't. But I wasn't disappointed. I will say that despite being the prophesied vampire queen and ruler of hell, and despite having been responsible for numerous deaths, Betsy has always had a much bigger heart than anyone (other than her friends) gave her credit for. I think this series has blurred the line between good and evil, and no one nature triumphed over the other.

Much like myself, Betsy can't always think in a linear fashion, but she never fails to solve her problems in her own roundabout way. She has definitely experienced a great deal of personal growth over 15+ books, but she has maintained her endearingly vapid nature and wonder at the powers she has accumulated. Sinclair was a steady presence through the series and this final story, and I have not one bad thing to say about him. He's a bit of a megalomaniac... but one that loves puppies! Sinclair also loves Betsy to pieces, and I liked that the heat level varied over the books. Betsy and Sinclair were always a little handsy, but they weren't breaking beds in every book. I have enjoyed the family that Betsy has made... vampires, zombies, furred and finned all added their own special something to the series. 

I just love MJD's sense of humor and the way it shines through her books. Sometimes you just need an escape into a frivolous and funny world, and I always enjoy a foray into MJD's imagination. If you are a blog follower, you may remember that MJD was my white whale at the RT Convention this year. I missed her at the signing and was chasing her around for two days trying to force her to sign my copy of Undead and Unwed... but we kept missing each other! I have to say that she was a great sport about it and my friends that actually did get to see her said she was just as funny in real life as she is in print. (PS. I too bought my brother a tshirt that says World's Okayest Brother!) I love that she drops footnotes into her writing to add side notes or reference points. I'm always dropping footnoes into my legal writing, so I think I would want to do it if I had any type of creative writing ability as well. (Side note: My new Kindle Voyage handles footnotes very well... who knew! They pop right up - no more flipping back and forth to the end. Yay!)

Is there anything that I was missing from this final book? No... not really. I would have loved to see 'Nother 'Nother Epilogue like some 100+ years in the future just to see how people are doing, what the world is like, what they're wearing, and what kinds of shoes Betsy has accumulated.  BUT - I can hold out hope that we will see Betsy and Sinclair again as secondary characters in future spinoffs or novellas.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.