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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Enough chick lit to last me for a long, LONG time. 
21st-Jan-2006 11:15 am
At least the novels were all relatively short. No point in drawing the pain out for longer than it absolutely has to be.

Davidson, MaryJanice. Betsy the Vampire Queen. SFBC, 2005.
-Undead and Unwed- (2004)
Summary: Elizabeth Taylor aka Betsy has had the worst birthday ever--and at the end of the day she gets run over and killed. Except that she rises as a vampire...a vampire that isn't bothered by holy objects or sunlight, that doesn't need to feed every night. Turns out that Betsy is the vampire queen, and she inaugurates her reign by destroying evil vampire despot Nostro and becoming betrothed to her hunky rival Sinclair.
Comments: So, we've got the usual chick lit and romance novel cliches in place. The protagonist's your average fashion-conscious chick who's going nowhere fast in her career, and there's a tall, dark stranger just beating down her apartment door trying to get into her pants (or at least latch onto her neck). We've got the best friend, the gay sidekick. Everyone's fashionable and rolling in dough. Etc. But, add the supernatural elements, and you've got a plot ripped right out of a magical girl shoujo manga ("Why can't I just be a NORMAL girl!?") Yeah, yeah, I know. What makes it all forgivable is the sarcastic, pop culture-conscious humor and the lively narrative voice that is at once authoritative and sympathetic--even if it does on occasion entertain bigoted misconceptions about the world as gospel truth. Oh, and vampires that attract their potential victims like magnets and have sex while sucking blood (but don't kill their victims) are quite interesting...as is Tina's suggestion to Betsy that becoming a vampire might broaden her sexual horizons. XD At least they're openminded in that particular fashion.
-Undead and Unemployed- (2004)
Summary: Betsy gets a job at the shoe department in Macys and discovers that there are vampire hunters on the loose. Seems that there are vampires out there who aren't accepting her rulership, and one of them, Monique, planned to sic the vampire hunters on Betsy. Fortunately, Betsy survives the fray, even after a stake through the heart, and now she's living in a mansion on Jessica's money with her former crew PLUS Tina and Sinclair. Unfortunately, she is once again unemployed; her boss was a Thrall of Monique's, and he fired her before disappearing.
Comments: Hmm. I never realized that the Macys shoe department stocks such expensive shoes. Or maybe that's just the branch at Mall of America. (Not that I spend much time hunting for expensive shoes or anything. ^^; ) This installment was noticably shorter than the first; indeed, each succeeding novel gets progressively thinner. My main gripe this time around was with the child ghost subplot: Betsy discovers a little girl in her bedroom, who she eventually realizes is a ghost and who eventually turns out to be the daughter of the vampire Sarah, who the characters had previously suspected of being the culprit. Naturally, it was a painfully transparent plot wrinkle from the get-go, and Sarah's desire to be freed from her undead existence so that she could join her daughter was abrupt and hurried. It was like Betsy couldn't wait to dispatch her. Now really! How believable is that given her chick-lit "I wanna kid!" yearnings and her supposed squeamishness regarding killing? Anyway, it's still a fun read...though we all know Betsy and Sinclair are destined--the protests get old quick. (And speaking of old. How come there are no truly ANCIENT vampires stomping around in these pages? I mean, sixty years old!? Get over yourself!)
-Undead and Unappreciated- (2005)
Summary: Betsy discovers that her stepmother is pregnant and in the process also discovers that she's got a half-sister who is the daughter of Satan and destined to rule the world. Spawn of Satan turns out to be a goody-two-shoes named Laura Goodman who saves Betsy's life when her employees at Scratch turn on her. Betsy and Sinclair finally reconcile their love for each other and agree to have a formal wedding--much to Betsy's delight and Sinclair's chagrin.
Comments: Though somewhat shorter even than the previous installment, there was far less going on there proportionate to the page count. So we find out that Lucifer's daughter isn't even. Big surprise. We don't know what exactly is going to happen with her--and, quite frankly, that would have made for a much more interesting plot. Heck, the devil herself (since when did Satan become a woman???) made for one of the most anticlimatic appearances right at the end that I've ever seen. Not to mention that Betsy's brush with evil behavior after overdosing on the Book of the Dead made for most uninspired narrative. Really, I don't think Davidson has the imagination to write true evil, which is why, really, none of her major characters are. Oh, and when are Jessica and Marc, and Tina, for that matter, going to find loves of their own? Isn't that what happens next in shoujo manga after the heroine gets hers? Then all the sidekicks pair up? I really wish the characters would acquire more depth--especially Sinclair. But that's never gonna happen, now is it?
-Undead and Unreturnable- (2005)
Summary: A serial killer has been stocking blonde women in their driveways, and, meanwhile, Betsy keeps postponing her wedding. (Sinclair finds out that she can read his mind during sex and becomes...disgruntled.) Fortunately, at the prodding of the ghost of one of the victims and with the help of half-sister Laura, they are able to bring the killer to "justice."
Comments: Well, it occurred to me: How can these vampires enjoy sex if they don't have much in the way of bodily fluids? And then the conceit late in the fourth novel arrives; they can't cry, apparently, but they CAN ejaculate. How dumb is that??? This volume was the shortest yet, and it was the least consequential. Really, it felt like a placeholder more than anything else--Betsy and Sinclair are together (but fighting), while we still don't know what the Devil's Daughter is going to become. Jessica finds a date in the form of detective Nick Berry, a character who's been around from the start. Marc, however, never finds a man. (Is that some unwritten rule?) Anyway, we find out at the end that former vampire hunter Jon's Betsy biography has been inadvertently unleashed in the world, and it is called Undead and Unwed. And that Betsy has become a syndicated advice columnist. ("Feed only on the evildoer." Can we say Anne Rice three times fast?) Beyond farce, really, and I'm just glad to be finished with this omnibus.
Notes: hardcover, exclusive 4-in-1 BCE
Ratings: 6.5, 6, 5.5, 4.5/10 - An amusing premise, but the author overexploits her formula of success, and it becomes merely tiring by the end. Just be sure that mindless entertainment is what you're in the market for in the first place.
21st-Jan-2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
I've only read the first two. I thought the first one was okay, but half way through the second one I kind of wanted to kill Betsy myself. She is just an annoying character. I wouldn't care what was going on around her. I can't get past not liking her. So I probably won't get around to anymore of those books.
21st-Jan-2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
*nod nod* I stopped liking the series somewhere during the second book, as well; I read the rest because the were a part of the omnibus and felt "obligated." Personally, though, I'm not sure I could admire anyone THAT designer shoe-needy...
30th-Jan-2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
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