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Unreadable and unamusing
on 11 July 2011
Oh dear. When a book begins with the author effectively apologising and thanking readers for sticking with them because they might have "assumed I'd lost my teeny, tiny mind after 'Unfinished', but hung in anyway", you know things are unlikely to be good. Especially when the author then goes on to justify their writing by explaining that this is effectively book 2 of a trilogy within a series, following on from the tripe that was 'Unfinished'... and planning to carry this on for another book. ARGH!
In the past, I have quite enjoyed MJD's writing. It can be idiomatic, fast-paced and quite a lot of fun. However, the Betsy series has been going rapidly downhill since book 4. I'd hung in there but, having read 'Undead and Undermined', I have finally decided to give up on the series - and probably all of the rest of this author's work too.
'Undermined' picks up where 'Unfinished' left off, dealing with the aftermath of Betsy and Laura's trips i) to Hell ii) in time. Sadly, it doesn't let up on these more hokey elements - instead, using them to rehash/revise the plotlines from the previous Betsy stories: characters who didn't like one another suddenly find themselves at peace, characters who died are resurrected (whilst one who hadn't died commits suicide), and a character who wasn't pregnant is suddenly at the beginning of her third trimester.
AGAIN the timeline skips all over the place, and Betsy's transition from the likeable, slightly self-involved shoe-lover of 'Undead and Unwed' to stone-cold narcissist seems to have completed. These days, everything is about Betsy - and the occasional friendly in-joke isn't funny any more... they're simply statements of fact. Not even Betsy's relationship with husband/ vampire king Eric Sinclair is exempt... there's no power struggle any more, no fun, flirty battle of the sexes tension, instead they're "doin' it like monkeys" until she's ready to start saving the world (from her!) and he's "mewling". Puh-lease!
HATED the cover revamp, too. Would NEVER have imagined Betsy as an eighties/noughties Madonna hybrid (gapped teeth and aviator shades, with 'Music' hair). Berkley - WHY???!
If, like me, you're a tad fed up and looking for an alternative vamp series, I'd recommend Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress novels, starting with:
Halfway to the Grave: A Night Huntress Novel
The hero is basically Spike, but for many 'Buffy' fans that really isn't a bad thing!