|In Short:||All Hail Queen Betsy!|
|"I was so furious I was actually dizzy with it. There were so many bitchy, sarcastic observations to make, I was having a sarcasm stroke. 'My God! You people! You're - you're so stupid you're making my eyeballs throb. They're throbbing, dammit!'"|
|-- Queen Betsy Taylor|
Let’s face it, we all knew our Betsy would have to grow up sometime. She’s been at this too long now to still be the same determinedly carefree clotheshorse she was when first we met. But in Undead and Unfinished she matures in ways I never could have imagined. Of course, when your sister’s the spawn of Satan, weird things are just gonna happen. We all think our sisters are the spawn of Satan at one time or another, but for Betsy it’s true and literal!
Okay, let’s backtrack a bit. Once upon a time MaryJanice Davidson wrote a wonderfully funny book entitled Undead and Unwed, in which Betsy (NEVER Elizabeth) Taylor lives, dies, comes back to life and discovers she is the prophesied Queen of the Vampires--but she’s more worried about the latest shoe styles and where she can get them on sale. She meets her King, Eric Sinclair (unaffectionately known as Sink Lair), falls in love and learns to accept her fate as Queen. Along the way she attracts friends and followers of all species, moves to a mansion in St. Paul and tries to convince those around her that she knows what she’s doing. Along come a few more Queen Betsy novels where she makes some enemies, blows them away with powers she never knew she had, learns that the Book of The Dead is not a light read, loses her friends a few times, saves them more times and never scuffs a shoe.
Now to the latest installment, Book 9 in the series: Undead and Unfinished. Never was a truer title conceived. Is this the beginning, the end or the beginning of the end? Betsy and her sister Laura, the aforementioned spawn of Satan, agree to make a little trip to Hell in an attempt to save Laura’s sanity and get to know good ol’ Mom. We all know Satan is a tricky wench, and she gets Betsy to agree to help Laura learn time travel. Sounds like fun, right?
Nope! Turns out it’s a lot of work, and it’s really tough to keep from messing with the time line!
Betsy is not known for her self control and tends to think more with her heart than her head, so of course she’s going to react (usually passionately) to the situations she finds herself in, no matter what the era. When she meets her true love Eric as a human child, can she keep from telling him who she is? How about when she pops in to his family’s funeral, when -- as the history books tell -- he became a vampire; can she resist interfering? When they land in the distant future, what will she learn?
Let me just say this: NEVER make a deal with Satan, even if she is family.
This installment had me laughing and thinking and thoroughly enjoying myself… and then I got to the last chapter. I read the last chapter. Then I read the last chapter again. And again. All I could do was sit there and think “Holy Shit!”. We all know Betsy needs to mature a bit and worry a lot more about others -- that’s what Queens do. But I’m betting that no one could have guessed the lengths she will have to go to do this in the future! This book left me holding my breath for the next installment and at the same time wondering: is this The End? Can I ever think of Betsy in quite the same way again? Will the next book have the same feel for me, knowing what now I know about Betsy’s future? I’m worried.
However, if any author can make it all better, the redoubtable MJ can. She’s gotten Betsy into and out of many an outlandish situation. She can surely get her out of this one, too. Right? I hope so. This is a favorite series and I know I’m not the only one who wants it to go on! And on!
For all that I’ve teased you with this last chapter talk, please, heed this warning: Do NOT read the last chapter first! I know the temptation is there, but Just! Say! No!
Believe me, it’s worth the wait.
-- Michelle Nagy