Thursday, December 6, 2012

Review: Undeadly

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries #1)
Author: Michele Vail
Published: November 20, 2012
272 pages
3 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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...

I had really high hopes for this novel. I thought it would have a Soul Screamers feel, one of my favourite series. This book was easy to read and I devoured it in three days, but it was lacking a lot of things that make me love books.

We are thrown into this world as if it's the most normal thing, but most of it is not explained throughout the story. Many people have necromancer powers and zombies and ghosts are common occurances. Molly is a ka heka, a necromancer with the power to turn the dead into zombies. If you think this is weird, on her sixteenth birthday Molly has a dream involving Annubis, the god of Death, selecting her to be a reaper. Supposedly this is common enough that there is a school revolved around training necromancers and reapers. But before Molly can even enjoy her birthday, kiss her first boyfriend, and open her presents, Rick slips, falls, and dies in her house. Despite to save him, and with her new reaper powers, she steals his soul and puts it back into his body before it can go to the afterlife. Rath, the reaper sent to actually reap his soul, witnesses this and warns her that what she's done will have consequences. Before the weekend is through, Molly is told that she has great powers and that she needs to go to Nekyia Academy to train to be Annubis' champion. Ya, everything seems thrown together in the book too. 

Nekyia is your usual boarding school. Cliques, snotty popular girls and mysterious societies make for what could be an interesting part of the book, but Vail doesn't put much into what goes on at the school. This book seems like it should be 100 page longer just so we can have more information about this world she's created. As Molly tries to figure out who she really is and what she can do, she is trained by Rath, while slowly falling for him, stalked by Rick, who seems to have something very off about him, and starts having strange dreams about students dying. 

Molly is a good character, but Vail writes her in that a way that seems too realistic. I understand you want to show that she's sixteen, but the language gets annoying after the first few chapters. She spells things wrong, says the word 'Gah' at least once a chapter, and using a little bit too much slang. It doesn't add much to Molly's character and I think it would have been stronger without all of it. There is a lot of potential in these pages. If the world was described a little better, and it wasn't all so packed into 300 pages, than I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Having the Egyptian gods being a main part of the story gave it a nice, unique twist. This is the first time I've seen this done and I enjoyed the history lesson. I've always been intrigued by the Ancient Egyptians and it was nice to see that depicted in teen fiction. I like that there was a little blurb at the beginning of each chapter, excepts from necromancer books, poetry, etc, that added a lot to the story. I think this helped me try to figure out everything happening in the world. I hope the sequel shows us more of this world, teaches me more about what's happening and how everything works, because I am interested in reading the next chapter to see where this all goes. 

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