Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Book Review: Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries Series, #1) by Michele Vail

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries Series, #1)
Author: Michele Vail
Purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Synopsis: 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....
Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Bridget Strahin

Review: Undeadly was the first zombie book I have EVER read; for me, the whole zombie eating people and walking around dead and ick just . . . no thanks. But THIS BOOK did it for me. I LOVED this book! It's been on my to-be-read list since November but with all the holiday stuff and weird encounters with family, I just couldn’t get to it. Then, I found it at Barnes and Noble on Friday and said, "Mine!" Then, I glared at my sister, who was actually reaching for the same book, and said, "I'll leave you here if you even think about taking this from me." So I bought it, sat down yesterday at noon, and by seven, I was done. And I was like "WTH! Did that just happen?"
Let me explain a little better.

Molly, a ka-heka necromancer, has the ability to raise zombies by using one of the five parts of the soul the ka. She's hilarious and kind of snobby but really, what teenager isn’t a little snobby these days, right? She has a lot of childish flaws that are easily found and to a certain extent a little annoying, but she was entertaining and I loved reading her. Plus, I was so excited for this book that I kept on trucking because I was interested to see her character growth. She's Anubis's champion, so I knew the petty teenage thoughts weren’t going to last throughout the book. Most importantly, she was BELIEVABLE, which is something that too many heroines fall short on lately.

On her birthday, she watches her boyfriend-to-be (Rick) die and with next to nothing as far as options go, when she sees the opportunity to save him, she does. After all, she's been given a cryptic dream and new powers but no instruction manual. Shortly after she is whisked away to Nekyia, a prestigious boarding school for only the most promising necromancers in training, and those with lots of money. As if being ripped away from her new boyfriend, best friends and family isn't enough, she's told a well kept family secret that changes her whole view on her life as she knows it. Needless to say, she freaks out in a very dramatic way. I probably would have reacted the same way she did if I was put in her position. If of course, I was a sixteen-year-old with no actual knowledge of the real world. Oh, wait; I WAS a sixteen year old with no actual knowledge of the real world. Weird. We've all been there people!

Then there's Rath, the teenage reaper, who was in charge of taking Rick's soul until Molly interfered.  I really enjoyed his character. He's dark, snarky and has a take-no-bull-crap-from-anyone (especially Molly) and calls Molly out for what she is: a brat. He helps her out through her transition and is her reaper combat instructor. My first initial thought was, "Demitri Belikov, please say it isn’t so!" but it wasn't like that at all. I actually really liked their budding relationship. It wasn't weird at all and I, especially, liked how Rath gave Molly crap about being weak and selfish and single minded. Everything played a role in helping Molly to mature. Not saying that she miraculously did a complete 180 by the end of the book, but she was a noticeably different person and I thought it was great. After all, she is just a child. They don't grow up over night. Or in 272 pages. 

There's a bunch of supporting characters that all play their roles very well and all have a hand in helping Molly adjust and embrace her new life. I've read a bunch of reviews about this book and how the supporting characters and world building fell flat but I disagree completely! Yes, she introduces a lot of people but there wasn't a single time when I felt lost or annoyed by any of them.

The climax though, is something that I cannot defend. It felt off and just totally out of place from where I thought the story was going. I can't even say that it worked for the story line, because I can think of a few different ways this could have went down, but I wasn't completely disappointed, just a little let down. 

The ending made me wanna reach through my computer and shake Vail and yell, "How could you do this to me!?" The cliff hanger is sharp and sets up the second book wonderfully. I had to gather my thoughts before I could close the book and start this review. Really Vail, really?
There are a few things I caught here and there that sparked nagging thoughts about the plot of this book, but I have a nack for finding these things (Thanks Annabell!) but I over looked them because a) there's a second book so, obviously the plot won't be all wrapped up nice and pretty by the end of the first book and b) what is the point of tearing down someone else's work over tiny little things? And you know my style, I love tearing things apart. But I didn't feel it was necessary with this book. I do, however, have a few suggestions for the author (for future Reaper Diaries books of course): 1) make your scenes a little longer and make more of them, your writing and ability to capture the reader's attention is absolutely wonderful. The book could have been longer. 2) Add more Rath. PLEASE! And 3) more character growth for Molly and her relationships with the people important to her. She was pretty harsh with her non-bio dad and it would be nice to see them reconnect and her relationship with her new friends. I see their potential and would like to see more of them!

This book is a fresh take on the old and repeated stories of necromancy and reapers. With a new take on the rarely explored Egyptian lore, a believable and clever cast, and pet zombies, this book was a good first installment in the Reaper Diaries Series and I am excited to see what happens in the next book. I can only pray to Anubis that I can get my hands on the ARC of UNCHOSEN, the second book in the Reaper Diaries due out later this year and trust me, when that happens, you'll be able to hear my squees of excitement all the way to the underworld. Until then, I'll just be sitting here off the edge of the cliff hanger, waiting patiently like the good little fan that I am. *swings around on rope* weee!

I am aware that there are a few not so good reviews of this book but, like with any book, everyone is going to have their own opinion and expectations. Not one book is for everyone (except for maybe the dictionary, I've never heard of anyone complain about that book) trust me people, this book is worth a fair shot. Have I ever led you wrong before? Exactly, I haven't, so READ THIS BOOK!

About the Author: Michele Vail writes young adult paranormal fiction about zombies and reapers.

She likes reading, dogs, cats, board games, ghost-hunting shows, and Halloween. She believes in magic, in the impossible, and in the restorative powers of chocolate. 

Michele lives happily-ever-after with her Viking and their family.

Where to Find the Author



  1. I'm glad you like this book because I just bought it! This will be my 2nd zombie book after reading Dearly, Departed. I have a review on my blog if you want to check it out :)

  2. I hope you like it!! I'll make sure to check out your blog =)

  3. I will deff try this!! Looks different from all the fantasy/romance books out there. Thank you for the review!


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