Release Day Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Posted November 20th, 2012 in book review / 14 comments


(The Reaper Diaries #1)

by Michele Vail

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (Nov 20th, 2012)
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Format: ebook (272 pages)
Source: Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★½☆☆ (2.5 stars)

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…. ~ Add on Goodreads

At A Glance
I was so excited to read this book, especially with it having such an interesting concept. But in the end the awesome premise did not negate the fact that the book just wasn’t well written.

The Good
Molly’s life was just looking up. She was turning 16, Rick, the hottie, was finally showing interest in her, and she had some really cool friends despite her creepy ability to raise zombies. Then Rick dies. Bad. But Molly brings him back. Worse. Now Molly finds out she might be the chosen one of the God Anubis and she must go to a special school for training. But all is not lost when Rick follows her to her new school. If only she can shake the unease she feels around him. At least Rath, a fellow Reaper, is a nice/frustrating/hot/annoying distraction. But once kids start dying at school, Molly must learn to use her new powers to fight the evil descending on the academy.

Though I wasn’t drawn into the story from the beginning, the story really picks up when Molly finds out who she really is and then goes to the Nekyia Academy. She is just a girl, hoping to have her first romance, but she is made to grow up fast. She might be God Anubis’s chosen, the person who will fight his battle on earth, so she must train. But that gets increasingly difficult as teachers and mean girls alike want her to fail. Everyone seems to be against her. But why? I liked the mystery behind the whole story. It was like the answers were within our reach but we could only skim our fingers over them.

Molly is very young. She talks and acts very much like a teenager. But as the story went on, she did grow and she accepted her responsibility. I admired her because her future seems very dark but she finds a way to make light of the situation. She was actually kind of hilarious sometimes. She has that kind of sense of humor that just makes you smirk.

I think Rath brought out the best and worst in Molly. Rath is frustrating as all get out, which makes Molly extra feisty. He’s kind of mean but caring at the same time. He treats Molly like a spoiled child who needs to learn to toughen up (which is true). But he has his moments of sincerity and vulnerability that make me want to swoon. I don’t know how it’s going to happen but Molly and Rath need to get together. I would love to see where they can go.

I love the world Vail took us to. It’s both dark and light. I see a potential of happiness, but right now all seems lost. Molly has a hard road ahead of her and not many people are on her side. This book brings us a fresh concept that has great potential to grow.

The Bad
Where to start? How about the fact that the first 10% of this book is recap of the Undeadly world and information about the dead and their relation to the living. I was about ready to give up on this book when it tried to drown me with pages of info I really didn’t need to know right up front. Needless to say, the info-dumps were abundant and chocking.

Then, to make things worse, after living through that much info shoved down my throat, it was then repeated throughout the book. *Sighs* Just shoot me now. And the repetitiveness didn’t stop there, it went on through similar words and phrases being said over and over again.

The last thing that bothered me is hard to explain. The whole book felt…disjointed to me. How it was written didn’t flow from scene to scene, it skipped and jerked. I was acutely aware that I was reading a book. I was never pulled into the story like I hoped. Also, the reasoning behind a lot of things that happened were vague or never explained and it annoyed me to no end.

The Snuggly
Not so much snuggly in this book. Rick and Molly’s relationship wasn’t really a relationship at all and I can’t say why, that’s too much of a spoiler. Her and Rath seem like they could be a hot couple, but again, that doesn’t look hopeful since he is a reaper which usually means your dead. So, don’t read this book for the romance.

Final Thoughts
I am still saddened that such a great idea was lost amongst bad writing. I don’t know if Vail can bring this series together and pop out some great books or if it’s DOA. I do think the potential is there. Undeadly is a 50-50 deal for me. I liked it half the time and wanted to give up the other half. I don’t know if I will be continuing the series. Recommended to those who can turn a blind eye to bad writing for a great concept.

I flipped out the cell’s keyboard. My fingers hovered over the keys. Should I text Rick? I wasn’t sure. What would I say? Sorry you died at my party, but hey, I saved your soul. You’re welcome.”

I slid the keyboard back in. Then two seconds later, I slid it back out, chose Rick’s name in my contacts and texted: You okay? I clicked Send before I chickened out.

Crap. That text was awful with a side of lame. Why hadn’t I said something less sucky? Argh!

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14 Responses to “Release Day Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail”

  1. Karina A.

    Aww.. I was really excited to read the book. It’s sad you didn’t like it and the bad things you pointed out made me disappointed. I was really looking forward to this.
    Oh well.. Thanks so much for your honest review!

  2. Julie H.

    Oh no…I was so excited to read this one. It sounded so good. I recently saw another review saying the same thing about the info overload. So disappointing but I’ll still check it out to see. Great job on pointing out the good and bad!

  3. Sarah Elizabeth

    I read a review the other day that had very simlar opinions to yours – too much info dumping etc. Think I’ll give this one a miss. such a shame cause the ideas sounded so good!

  4. Ashley

    I agree with a lot of what you said. And important scenes were just skipped over so quickly. Like the end… That was a huge change in..location. (Avoiding spoilers here LOL) But it was over in a heartbeat. I didn’t even have time to process the craziness of it.

    Did the hoo-kay get to you? 😀

  5. Elisa

    Great review, not sure if I will find my way to this one, at this point the young YA stuff is driving me crazy (in a bad way) and I need a break. I think I have just overloaded.
    On a different note, one line you wrote I was going to say the exact same thing about another book I am reading right now – I was acutely aware that I was reading a book. UGH! That is so frustrating since I read to satisfy my escapist tendencies! Oh well.

  6. Sarah (saz101)

    Ugh. Jen, I’ve been hearing the same thing about this one, and it’s a crying shame, because the concept sounds like so much fun.

    I’m… mmm… it sounds like I’ll be giving this one a miss. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you, but… aargh. I’M SO TORN! It’s kind of like… I know I’m not going to like it, but I want to read it anyway? >__<

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I know what you mean. I knew all the bad things before I dove in but I had to read it for myself. If the second book is awesome then I think this series has potential, so maybe you should read it.

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