Undeadly by Michele Vail
Author: Michele Vail
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Format: e-Book Galley
Source: Harlequin Teen via Netgalley
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Dates Read: December 16-17, 2012
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 boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.
Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….
This book was obtained freely from the publisher, Harlequin Teen, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Undeadly as a whole feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. I expected to thoroughly enjoy a book incorporating necromancy and Egyptian mythology. However, there were things about the novel that just rubbed me the wrong way. For one, I couldn’t connect with the protagonist, Molly, because I found her quite annoying. As she admits more than once in her narrative, she is shallow. In this case, I feel the descriptor suits her superficial values in addition to what I felt was a lack of character depth and development. I didn’t like her quite enough to root for her through all her problems, so I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I could have otherwise. Her decision-making skills are often questionable at best, and downright irresponsible in other cases. It is clear that her boyfriend comes back wrong, but it takes her the entirety of the novel to own up to her mistake and do anything about it. Her attitude is what I can only think to describe as “valley girl” much of the time. If she said “Whatevs.” one more time, I think I would have attempted to reach through the book and slap her.
Despite these shortcomings, there are certainly aspects of the novel I enjoyed. I enjoyed the mythology of the novel, with the Egyptian gods, the reapers, and the necromancers. I thought the concepts presented here were interesting. I liked that Molly has to deal with her decision to serve Anubis as a binding one, even though it was made in a dream and she is really quite immature about it sometimes. I can cut Molly some slack for her attitude because she had to deal with so many life-changing bombs dropped on her at once. And when she is actually being cute instead of annoying, her narrative is fun and witty. The secondary characters (especially Rath) were interesting and I find myself wanting to know more about them.
Overall, I enjoyed Undeadly enough to seek out the next installment, Unchosen. The book leaves off on a cliffhanger which leaves you wanting more. This novel is good for those wanting a non-serious, light read. It may be better suited to younger readers who will likely find Molly to be more entertaining than irksome–but not too young, as there are some sexual themes.