DNF Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on April 8, 2013 | 8 Comments

DNF Review: Undeadly by Michele VailUndeadly by Michele Vail
Series: The Reaper Diaries #1
Published by Harlequin Teen (11.20.2012)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 272 pages
Source: Library


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....

My thoughts

To be honest, the writing style was a major issue for me. It was in Molly’s voice, so it was written in the slang-ish ‘snarky’ way that a 16-year-old would talk. Or supposed to be, anyway. To me it seemed much more juvenile than 16 and I felt like the attempts at humor and sarcasm just tried to hard. The points that were probably supposed to be funny didn’t even draw a twitch of the lips from me. Instead I was like: 


I couldn’t stand Molly. She was snobby, judgmental, and petulant. Sometimes I forgot she was supposed to be 16 (at least that’s what I think she was?) because she acted more like she was 12. (Seriously, at times I felt like I was reading a 12-year-old’s diary.) Plus, some of the things she said made me want to punch her, such as:

There were only a handful [of necros] that attended my school, and most of them were to dark and angsty for my taste. Plus, I didn’t look good with kohl on my eyes and my nose was too cute to be pierced.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but the stereotypes in this sentence just pissed me off. So just because you have your nose pierced and wear dark eyeliner you’re ‘dark and angsty?’ Bitch, please. And this:

Ally was fourteen, tall and gangly, still flat-chested and had braces, too. She had the best hair – long, silky chestnut waves with auburn highlights, but did she care? No. She also liked to wear baggy clothes in blah colors. Even though I would never admit it to her (not ever), one day she’d be gorgeous. Y’know, after she lost the metalwork, got some boobs and developed some fashion sense.

What, just because she has a few flaws and isn’t snobby like you, she’s not beautiful? Because she wears what she wants and likes to be comfortable, she’s ugly? Ugh. This just rubbed me the wrong way. And Molly had something like that to say about pretty much anyone she saw. Like she was better than everyone else. At one point she even said something judgmental and shallow and then was like “oops…my shallowness was showing again” like she was trying to make it a joke. Hahahaha-NO, how ’bout I knock some of your perfect teeth right out of your pretty, shallow little head. ARGH. I hated her. And when her dad drops a major bomb she goes all Hulk, smash! on everyone:

“No,” I yelled. “I’m not! I hate you! I hate all of you! […] I’m not going to boarding school. I’m not gonna be a reaper. Or Anubis’s bitch. You hear me? I choose my life. Not you!”


Back to the writing style: It grated on my nerves and made my eye twitch. Let’s get something straight, I use the word ‘woot.’ I happen to love that word. But for some reason when it was used in this book, it annoyed the crap out of me. I guess that brings me back to the fact that it tried way to hard to be the mind of a 16-year-old. The ‘woots’ and ‘squees’ and ‘whatevs’ irritated me to no end, and that type of slang was used so much it dragged the story down to the point where that was all I would notice. And who says ‘a whole ‘nother level of WTH?’ Seriously.

I tried valiantly to keep on truckin’ despite all of the irritations and negative reviews stating that it doesn’t get any better, but when I get THAT annoyed with something I’m reading, then it’s time to stop and move on to something better. Plus the whole you’re special, the chosen one to defeat the evil and save the world made things a bit too cliche for me.

The premise was exciting, and I was kinda hyped to meet Anubis, but when the moment came I was underwhelmed by how un-God-like he was. Plus I felt like there was too much mixing of the terms ‘necromancer’ and ‘reaper.’ The lines were a bit blurred, even though those two paranormals are totally different. I did skip through and read the end, and was underwhelmed and unsurprised by that, too. 


Really? Sigh.

Jessi (Geo)

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8 responses to “DNF Review: Undeadly by Michele Vail

  1. BAHAHA. Oh that is terrible. Eeew. You have successfully turned me away from this book. Hehe. Not that I have time to read it anyway. O.O Even though the reviews are actually pretty good…..and I may or may not have an e-ARC sitting somewhere in my digital hard drives…Though I’ve never really cared at the idea behind this book so meh.

    Anyway. You make very good points. I HATE books trying to hard. Or just crappy contradictions and teeny judgments What the heck people?! Let’s be realistic and real, [check out my awesome use of synonyms] not just…FAKE. Ridonculous is it, say I!

    I Am Your Nator Twin.

  2. Megan R

    I don’t think I’ve read a single positive review of this one. Definitely steering clear of it!

  3. Molli Moran

    I have yet to read any reviews of this one that didn’t share some of your same complaints. Normally I wouldn’t let that affect me, but goodness. EVERYONE pretty much dislikes the MC, and says she’s childish/etc. And this book well. It’s just not high up at all on my TBR. At all.

  4. Ugh I really hate when an author tries to write a compelling teen voice but it DOESN’T WORK because, I mean, I like to think I’m more mature and graduated from “i like dis very much yo”

    The stereotyping sounds like an INSANELY bad problem, especially with Molly’s attitude! And seriously, I just can’t even on the writing style. That is the one thing that makes a five-star book into a four star book for me (other than plot/lack of originality of course!)

    Great review, Jessi! I’m sorry you didn’t like this one D: Although I’ve heard countless negative things about this one.

  5. Yup. That’s it, I’m not reading this one anymore… I don’t think so at the moment anyways. Undeadly sounds pretty lame and the mc is just a fail. And she sounds WORSE than a 12 year old. She’s worse than my sister! URGH, I am disgusted.
    Great review, even though it’s a shame you had to DNF this, it totally helped me shorten my TBR list. (even though it’s just one, but it counts, eh?) haha

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