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Literature / Betsy the Vampire Queen

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Betsy the Vampire Queen, properly known as the Undead series, is an Urban Fantasy book series by MaryJanice Davidson about Betsy Taylor. Betsy loses her job and is killed in the same day (her 30th birthday), but awakes undead in a funeral home. After attempting multiple times to kill herself, Betsy realizes that she is a vampire — not only a vampire, but queen of the vampires.

The series is a humorous jab at many popular vampire stereotypes. While the vampires are played completely serious, Betsy's bubbly personality takes the wind out of their sails.

The books are, in chronological order:

  • Undead and Unwed (2004)
  • Undead and Unemployed (2004)
  • Undead and Unappreciated (2005)
  • Undead and Unreturnable (2006)
  • Undead and Unpopular (2006)
  • Undead and Uneasy (2007)
  • Undead and Unworthy (2008)
  • Undead and Unwelcome (2009)
  • Undead and Unfinished (2010)
  • Undead and Undermined (2011)
  • Undead and Unstable (2012)
  • Undead and Unsure (2013)
  • Undead and Unwary (2014)
  • Undead and Unforgiven (2015)
  • Undead and Done (2016)

The series is now complete.

This series contains examples of:

  • All Women Love Shoes: Betsy isn't all women but she's neurotically obsessed with them.
  • Alternate History: In a minor way, though not to Betsy. Her and Laura's travels through time cause, among other things, Christian Louboutain to not be born. The shoe obsessed Betsy treats this as a worse tragedy than if both the Nazis and the Confederacy had won their respective wars.
  • Answers to the Name of God: A running gag. Vampires cannot bear to hear Christ's name or any prayer, as it causes them physical pain. Betsy's tendency to take the Lord's name in vain is therefore unfortunate given her relationship with the vampire Sinclair. So every time she exclaims, "Jesus Christ!" Sinclair winces and says, "I've asked you not to call me that."
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: Laura, the Devil's Daughter, is first introduced as this, but as the series goes on, she appears less and less "good", what with murdering people (specifically serial-killers, but still), dumping her job (ruler of Hell) on her sister and then accusing her of robbing her of her birthright, etc...
  • Emergency Transformation: Subverted. Jessica refuses to become a vampire when faced with cancer.
  • Expy: Sinclair bears a lot of resemblance, personality-wise, to the butler from MJD's earlier Alaskan Royalty series.
  • Fang Thpeak: Betsy Taylor thpeakth like thith.
  • Footnote Fever: The author uses them for two purposes: to remind the readers of which book some actions took place in, and for humorous remarks.
  • Fur Against Fang: Subverted. For the longest time werewolves and vampires each thought the other race was a myth. When they finally meet the results are...awkward, but not actively hostile.
  • Ghostly Goals: The Queen of the Vampires can see the dead. They want stuff done.
  • The Grovel: When Betsy turns temporarily evil in Undead and Unappreciated, she attacks her friends. Afterward she tries to grovel but she gets sidetracked into an argument over how much of the possession was her fault.
    Betsy: Hmm, my grovelling wasn't going quite the way I planned.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sinclair in the second book, when Betsy's been staked and, they think, killed. As Father Markus said, "It would have been touching if it wasn't so terribly, terribly sad."
  • Holy Burns Evil: Vampires are hurt by holy items.
  • Insulted Awake: In order to get Betsy out of a near-comatose state, Eric (her fiancé) shouts, "I'm terribly sorry, but I cannot go through with the wedding!" She snaps and begins to yell at him before realizing what he was trying to do.
  • It's All About Me: It takes a while for Betsy to figure it out, but all of Laura's good deeds are about proving that she is Good and deserves to go to Heaven, not about genuinely helping people.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Played straight; the kiss of a vampire makes people deeply in love with the vampire.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Tina is technically bisexual and, as such, has emotional sway over both men and women (but not over gay men). However, she prefers women, which causes Betsy a bit of trouble early on.
  • Never Heard That One Before: As noted early in book 1, Betsy's real full name is Elizabeth Taylor, and she's heard (and is not amused by) all the jokes comparing her to the actress.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The majority are extremely weak, vulnerable to nearly all the traditional weaknesses and holy items especially. Betsy, as Queen of the Vampires, is immune to most of the traditional weaknesses.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They all live together in Cape Cod and some of them are psychic.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Book of the Dead, again. The reason Betsy doesn't just speed-read it and know everything? Reading more than two or three pages at a time turns you into a monstrous Jerkass. This might seem minor, except that when you turn a vampire into a jerkass... (In Betsy's case, it involved nearly killing Jessica.)
  • Wicked Stepmother: Antonia Taylor, Betsy's stepmother. She pursued a married man, destroying his marriage, and tried to turn him against his then-teenaged daughter. She wanted him to surrender full custody to his ex-wife, and when that failed, to send Betsy to military school. Her efforts continued into Betsy's thirties, when after Betsy's funeral, she eats a celebratory lobster dinner and books a cruise. She is even, at one point in the backstory, possessed by Lucifer for a year, and no one notices because she's so nasty by nature. In Undead and Unworthy After her death, The Ant comes back to haunt Betsy as a ghost because during life, her sole purpose was to torment Betsy. Part of this new torment includes walking in on Betsy and her husband during lovemaking, and making no apology or attempt to leave.