Oct 24 2016 10:00am

All Hail Queen Betsy: A Look Back Over Her Reign

Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson

Ever since she first appeared on the page in 2004 in the delightful Undead and Unwed, readers have been captivated by (and sometimes exasperated with) Betsy Taylor, the reluctant Vampire Queen whom few take seriously—often to their peril.

Over the course of this unique and always-entertaining series, Betsy discovers (often without trying) new powers (such as killing the undead with the force of her mind and will alone, drawing on energy to heal or resurrect) she uses to aid her in completing her objectives. Sometimes these abilities prove problematic, at least until Betsy figures out how to use them most effectively, but they tend to emerge when most needed—typically to help her friends and family.

The first half of the series deals primarily with Betsy navigating her role as vampire queen, gathering her friends and relatives into her “made” family, and alternately building and restructuring relationships with other supernatural entities, such as the Wyndham werewolves. This framework proves very necessary for what Betsy faces in subsequent installments.

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In the more serious and less primarily-for-amusement trilogy comprised of books nine through eleven, Betsy and Laura take a trip to the future, and due to what she learns there, Betsy makes the decision to alter the timeline. This action of course has unforeseen results, but all pale in comparison to the world all would have been stuck with if she had not changed what she did. In book thirteen, Betsy ends up taking on the thankless job of running Hell.

Despite everything she finds herself up against, Betsy somehow retains her positive outlook and determination to make the world a better place for those she cares about and those she feels responsible for—characteristics that place in her in the Good Leader category. Betsy often chooses what she deems the correct course of action, even if it runs counter to her personal inclinations.

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

Aside from changing the atmosphere of vampire society and hierarchy as more open and cooperative rather than dictatorial, Betsy’s decision to out vampires to the world has a huge impact on not only vampires, but the supernatural community as a whole. Even though making the decision to bring everyone into the open is a direct response to Laura’s exposure of vampires online, Betsy determines expending energy on maintaining good relationships amongst themselves and with humans has more worth than working to keep the paranormal world secret.

Betsy’s most significant accomplishment, however: the parole system she institutes in Hell, giving people a chance to return to the world and fix the problems and situations they feel responsible for. Success enables them to remain as full-fledged inhabitants, failure gets them a ticket back to the Hell dimension. Betsy’s desire for true justice inspires her to find a way to free those either capable and deserving of redemption, even if only in their own eyes, as well as innocents such as children.

Even though initially she falls into the role of Vampire Queen, and does not set out to become the ruler of Hell, Betsy manages to pull off both with wit and aplomb. Much of her strength derives from the family she makes for herself, but her personality and determination work to make her into the true leader she becomes throughout the series.

Long live Queen Betsy!

Learn more about or order a copy of the books in the Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson:

Undead and Unwed (# 1)
Undead and Unemployed (# 2)
Undead and Underappreciated (# 3)
Undead and Unreturnable (# 4)
Undead and Unpopular (# 5)
Undead and Uneasy (# 6)
Undead and Unworthy (# 7)
Undead and Unwelcome (# 8)
Undead and Unfinished (# 9)
Undead and Undermined (# 10)
Undead and Unstable (# 11)
Undead and Unsure (# 12)
Undead and Unwary (# 13)
Undead and Unforgiven (# 15)
Undead and Done (# 16)

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Excerpt: Undead and Done by MaryJanice Davidson

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A reviewer and editor at Bitten by Books since 2008, Carol also serves as the Director of the Urban Fantasy track at Dragon Con, and in 2013 co-authored The Jane Yellowrock World Companion with Faith Hunter. When not reading, reviewing, or working at conventions, Carol spends as much time as possible with her three amazing grandsons.

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