Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Review number: 37
Genre: Paranormal Comedy (Para-Comedy?) /Vampires
Stand Alone/Series: Book 1 of Queen Betsy books.
Summary: Betsy Taylor turns 30, gets laid off, is killed by an SUV and wakes up dead all in the same week. The vampire community is convinced she’s their prophesied Queen. But she’s not having any of it – she’s got shoes to buy! And now the undead world is being turned upside-down by a Bela Lugosi throwback and her subjects expect her to take care of it! Why didn’t she read the handbook? But her would-be consort, Eric Sinclair, is (annoyingly) ever-present. If only he wasn’t so tall, dark, gorgeous…and undead
This has got to be one of the silliest books I have ever read. Ergo, I love it.
Betsy Taylor is an improbable combo of Bridget Jones/Carrie Bradshaw/ Scarlet O’Hara: a single, trendy, not – the – smartest – cookie – in – the – jar, with an inability to focus on the conversations that she is having, obsessed – with – designer – shoes woman who is having the shittiest 30th birthday ever: she is fired from her job as a secretary, her celebration party has to be cancelled and to top things up, she is hit by a car whilst trying to save her cat and she dies. Only that she isn’t really dead: she wakes up in the funeral home convinced that she should be dead but is so surprised that she isn’t. At first she thinks she is a zombie and tries to kill herself (“God, it’s me Betsy. I’m coming to see you now. Make up the guest room.”) to no effect. But then she comes across someone that is bleeding and her fangs come out immediately. Realising what she is, she speaks, or rather, she lisps:
“A vampire? How ith that pothible? I died in a car ackthident, for god’th thake!
Blood maketh me throw up. Even the thight of it.”
But it is soon clear that she is no mere vampire : she can walk into churches, she can speak holy names, she has no problems with holy water and she can go long periods without feeding. Is that only her? Was everything she ever knew about vampires a bunch a bull? Answer: it is only her and she figures it out when she is taken to a mausoleum to be greeted by the vampire community. Apparently any new vampires must swear allegiance to the Vampire master Nostro, (short for Nostradamus) and live with the community underground. This is one of the best parts of the book: Betsy is completely amused by the whole thing and just makes fun of it all, taking the mickey out of Nostro (and his stupid name), his acolytes and the stereotypes around vampires. Cemetery? Check. Mausoleum? Check. Vampires dressed in black? Check.
She refuses to live like this and just walks off. Just like that. To everyone’s astonishment especially to one Eric Sinclair. He believes she is different and that she is their prophesized queen! From the old vampire’s Tabla Morto:
“A Queen shall ryse, who has power beyond that of the vampire. The thyrst shall not consume her, and the cross will never harm her, and the beasts will befryend her, and she will rule the dead.”
Betsy won’t take any of that. She doesn’t see herself as a queen and she will certainly not be used to vanquish Nostro and his puppies. Most of all, she dislikes Eric. Immensely at first sight (even if he is hot and is OMG wearing Ferragamo shoes!) because he is overbearing and more so when well, let me just say that the second time she sees him didn’t help making a better impression: he was feeding and having sex with three women at the same time. Fortunately for us and Betsy we have a small glimpse into Eric’s mind towards the very end of the book that more than makes up for anything else, which will probably makes things easier in the future given the fact that he is prophesized to be her consort!
At some points I was literally roaring with laughter. Not only because the narrative in first person makes us spend a lot of time inside Betsy’s mind and let me tell you, this is one mind it is well worth spending time with but because it is a riot when she is making fun of the vampires or having wildly amusing conversations with her two sidekicks – her childhood friend Jessica and the gay doctor Marc – they are both wonderful secondary characters that add some normality to Betsy’s life.
This book is not to be taken seriously and that is the beauty of it. It doesn’t have any self-illusions of grandeur whilst at the same time having a lot of potential for character and story development in future books and this is why it is so.very.good. Ana wants more.
Notable quotes/parts: Betsy first encounter with Eric Sinclair
Betsy: He was unbelievable. Easily the most amazing-looking man I’d ever seen outside of playgirl. Not that I read such trash. Well, hardly ever.
Tall, very tall at least four inches taller than me, and I ‘m no petite. He had thick, inky black hair that swept back from his face in lush waves. Not many men could have pulled off the Elvis hair swirl thing, but this guy had it. His features were classically handsome: strong nose, good chin, nice broad forehead. His eye were beautiful and frightening: deepest black, with a hard glitter to them, like star shining in the dark winter sky.
Ana: *drools *
Betsy: And his mouth was saved from being tender by a cruel twist of the upper lip. He looked mean and he looked Bad. And his body! He was so broad through the shoulders I wondered how he’d fit through the door, and his arms looked thick and powerful.
Betsy: The charcoal suit superbly set off his long frame, and speaking of long, his fingers were slim and straight; they looked deft and capable. Pianist’s hands. Surgeon’s hands. His shoes were – whoa! Were those Ferragamos? It was a rare and wonderful thing to see a properly shod man in an underground mausoleum.
Ana: *falls off chair with laughter*
Additional Thoughts: Does anyone around here have a shoe fetish? I don’t even know half the designers she mentions……my shoes need only be comfortable and colourful.
Verdict: Fun , fun, fun. Perfect to wind down after a stressful day or after a more heavy read. I will definitely read all in the series.
Rating: 7, veering towards a 8. Very very good.
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