Author: Michele Vail
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
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….
First Sentence: So, my…um, friend gave me a diary for my sixteenth birthday because, apparently, it’s a necromancer tradition.
When I first saw the cover of Undeadly, I just knew I had to get my hands on it and read it asap, especially with a series name like The Reaper Diaries. However, I saw lots of reviews warning readers that Undeadly is full of awkward teen-speak and Molly’s stupidity makes her look like a twelve year old instead of a sixteen year old. Despite all that, I decided to give Undeadly a try because of the gorgeous cover, and boy, did I regret not listening to the other reviewers and avoid this book like the plague.
A warning: this review will contain a lot of book references to prove my point (and okay, my disappointment too).
First up, the teen-speak.
Whatevs. I was trying really hard not to freak out. I mean, I’d done something impossible to save Rick. And then I’d passed out. ‘Cause I know how to par-tay. Ugh. (pg 72)
This excerpt lead me to think that Michele Vail asked her daughters (I don’t know if she has any) all the abbreviations teenagers text with and puts it all in her book to appear hip. The worse part is, even all the teachers in Undeadly speak like that excerpt! All I could do while reading Undeadly was shake my head in dread.
And then there’s this:
“Okay.”Barie heaved a sigh. “We must convo. What’s up with all the rumors about the dead girl?” (pg 144)
Um, excuse me, but nobody in their right mind, especially teenagers, will say, “We must convo.” That is seriously an insult. But let’s ignore that part for now and say that Michele Vail wrote out the whole phrase, “We must conversation,” or better yet, “We must have a conversation.” What normal, sane person, would say that? They will just talk what they want to say, not what they’re about to do.
If Michele Vail wants to continue writing using teen-speak, then I’ll recommend her to read Lisi Harrison’s The Clique series. In The Clique series, Lisi Harrison manages to fit teen-speak in her books perfectly without it being too overused or awkward.
Now on to Molly’s stupidity. I’m usually not that harsh, using words like “stupid” to describe someone’s character, but there are really no other words to describe Molly.
Irina pulled out the gun. “I will shoot you.”
“I know, I know, I know. You’re ruthless,” I said.
“You’re a traitor, Irina,” I said in a shaking voice. “You’re doing this for Set!” Yuri laughed. “You said she was dumb.”
“Not dumb enough,” muttered Irina. (pg 231)
I couldn’t figure out Irina. Was she friend or foe? (pg 232)
This excerpt shows all the signs Molly notices that labels Irina as the bad guy. However, in the very next page, Molly wonders if Irina was a friend or foe. Apparently, Irina is wrong. Molly is dumber than “dumb enough.” I hope authors know that stupidity in characters is good if it’s meant to be funny, but in Molly’s case, it’s not. It just makes us readers shake our head and wonder how the author can stand to write things like this.
I don’t think it’ll take a genius to figure out that I won’t recommend Undeadly to anyone, unless you’re looking for examples on how to not use teen-speak in a book. If you are, then I recommend Undeadly. However, I warn you, you won’t have fun cringing at every phrase in Undeadly.