ARC Review: “Undeadly” by Michele Vail

Undeadly  (The Reaper Chronicles #1) by Michele Vail

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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 school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath. Who seems to hate her guts.

Rath will be watching closely to be sure she completes her first assignment-reaping Rick, the boy who should have died. The boy she still wants to be with. To make matters worse, students at the academy start turning up catatonic, and accusations fly-against Molly. The only way out of this mess? To go through hell. Literally.

4 stars

Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This book will be released November 20th, 2012.

After so many fricking books that started with a prologue that happened later in the book, I was ready to DNF the next book that did that to me. (Hint: I really, really don’t like that.) When that happened with Undeadly, I slid down in my chair and cried for a while. Then I kept reading.

And reading and reading and reading.

I’ll be honest, technically–especially in the second half–this book probably rates more around 3 1/2 stars or something. But I’ll call it four because of the sheer “I’m having so much fun” factor.

Molly is my kind of girl. She acts tough, but she doesn’t pretend she doesn’t want a guy to notice her. She is also ridiculously snarky and sarcastic, which basically means I was meant to love her. Her first person narration made even dull moments seem fantastic. I was in love with her from the first second, and she basically kept me going when things started to get technically screwy.

But! Before that!

The world that Vail has created is amazing. Not only are zombies, ghosts and necromancers common place, but I love Molly’s bland observations about things that seem normal to her but are crazy to us. Even just her describing the backstory of her powers and the zombies everywhere is enjoyable to read. I’m usually not too forgiving of infodumps, but turns out I’ll forgive anything if someone tells me about it with the right amount of snark.

I also usually don’t forgive moving the story to an academy of any kind. I got over that with Harry Potter–and even JK Rowling got bored with it and moved Harry away from Hogwarts. Honestly, I still sorta don’t forgive it here because it was after that shift that things got weird. More on that later…

Other than Molly, the other characters weren’t particularly exciting, but they weren’t horribly bland either (most of them, anyways). The move to the academy introduced way more character than necessary that all seemed to want to be important that weren’t, and that’s…well…when things got weird.

I guess I should explain that.

Basically, after Molly hit Nekyia the story got really choppy. The characters became less rounded, there was way more of them then need be and the continuity started to make no sense. One second we’re here, then this is happening, then this and it was like trying to smash together puzzle pieces that didn’t fit. I still don’t get how or why some things happened. This is basically the sole reason I docked an entire star.

One more word for the wise: that blurb up there? I don’t know what book they’re talking about, but it really warps the storyline of the actual novel.

But anyways…

Yeah, the ending of the book was choppy, but I put up with it because MOLLY. Screw the semi-love triangle, Molly is way too good for that. Despite what Vail throws at her, she always has a comeback. Plus, the Ancient Egyptian mythology this is based on would have won me over any day besides. This book was basically a conglomeration of so many things I loved that I just passed over the choppy bits with a small note and waited for them to smooth down again.

And then Vail leaves the book ON A CLIFFHANGER. But that’s another story.

Do you like necromancy? Read this book. Do you like zombies? Read this book. Do you like books that aren’t romance heavy? Read this book. Do you like Egyptian mythology? Read this book.


The second book in this series, Unchosen, will be released in 2013.