Undead and Undermined: Queen Betsy Tries to Mature

By  |  2 Comments

Here’s the thing: I quit reading MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy series a couple of years ago. Elizabeth but-please-call-me-Betsy Taylor, Foretold Queen of the Vampires, was an amusing narrator for a while, but eventually her self-absorption, vanity, shallowness, and lack of character growth made spending time with her a chore. She became a high maintenance friend; you know who I mean, the one who is fun to go out with on a Saturday night, but is surrounded by drama, who always has it worse than anyone else, and refuses to accept responsibility for any of it. Who needs that?

Then the advance copy of Undead and Undermined, on sale July 5, landed on my doorstep. “It’ll be a quick read,” I thought. “I can pick up the storyline in the first few pages, no problem.” Or…not. Apparently some hardcore stuff went down in the last book (Undead and Unfinished), so I was totally out of the loop. A quick Google search revealed that not only was there a major twist in that book, but fans were pissed about it.

SPOILER ALERT

To all the readers
who assumed I’d lost my teeny,
tiny mind after
Unfinished,
but hung in anyway, my deepest thanks.

MaryJanice Davidson.

In case you skipped the last book, here’s the gist: After several trips to different time periods, with Hell as the conduit, at the end Undead and Unfinished we learn that the Book of the Dead is written on Eric Sinclair’s skin, with his blood, at the request of future Betsy and with Laura’s assistance. Dear Sinclair fans: I don’t blame you. How this atrocity came to pass isn’t answered in Undead and Undermined, but it looks like Betsy is finally realizing she needs to focus on others and that her actions impact them, which just might result in a rewritten future.

Betsy is still infuriatingly self-absorbed for much of Undead and Undermined, but there are glimmers of self-awareness, hints of character growth, and two major twists that send her teetering down the path of maturity on her beloved designer heels. I hope. It’s like the author finally got tired of Betsy having a two-track mind (shoes & sex with Sinclair) and is using other characters to force her to take off the blinders and pay attention.

Speaking of other characters, this book mixes things up with them as well as Betsy. Remember Laura warning Betsy not to alter history because it might affect the future? It did. Jessica has a big surprise for Betsy, some formerly deceased characters return, formerly alive characters become deceased, Satan steals Betsy’s prize Christian Louboutins, and Betsy’s mom is dating a guy named Clive. Laura (aka Betsy’s half-sister, aka the Antichrist) seems to be getting awfully confident in her new abilities, which worries Betsy although she’s not quite sure why. Also, The Marc Thing from Undead and Unfinished? We haven’t seen the last of him and his motives are definitely suspect.

Eric sure could use more fleshing out (metaphorically speaking; we get a couple of scenes with him in the flesh), but Betsy is still feeling a little raw after everything she learned about him while time traveling around his life in the last book. She seems to have learned that avoiding conflict with him isn’t the answer, though. They have a bittersweet, if brief, discussion about what happened to Eric’s family and how/why he was turned, giving me more hope that Betsy is becoming the kind of person/vampire I want to be friends with again.

Undead and Undermined is another madcap adventure in the life of Queen Betsy, but it finally feels like we’re getting somewhere with her character development and the twisty storyline. Fans of the series ought to feel better when they finish this one, although some questions remain unanswered. Author MaryJanice Davidson tells us in her author’s note that this is the second in a trilogy within the series, so this part of the story isn’t quite finished.  Undead and Undermined hits shelves Tuesday, July 5.

Fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries since 2001, and co-admin of True-Blood.net since 2008. Team Sookie!

2 Comments

  1. Liz

    July 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I’m thinking that these stories should have stopped after Betsy and Eric married. I might still read this, but the whole reason I started on this series at all was because I loved the hilarity of Betsy as she discovers her new life as a vampire. While I understand that there needs to be character growth, this was one time where I was OK with shallow Betsy. She made me laugh.

  2. MaryJanice Davidson

    July 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments! If this book (possibly) restored your faith, I hope UNDEAD AND UNSTABLE maintains it. Thanks again!