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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...
  • Artifact of Doom: The Book of the Dead.
    • Betsy's first engagement ring, as well. It grants your wishes... in the most destructive way it can.
  • Badass Normal: The Blade Warriors, a group of teenage vampire hunters.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Book of the Dead pretty much predicts every single plot development.
  • Big Bad: Nostro. Though he dies very quickly.
    • Undead and Unfinished introduces a new one: Betsy's future self.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: As the series goes on, Laura seems to fall more and more deeply into this category.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: This series is somewhere between this and Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The way Laura believes the world is.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Betsy.
  • A Chat with Satan: Betsy regularly has these. Satan apparently resembles Lena Olin.
  • Creator Provincialism: Minnesota is the heart of the vampire world before Betsy takes over.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sinclair.
  • The Devil: Appears as a middle-aged woman, in fact, a dead ringer for Lena Olin.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Betsy kills Satan. No, seriously.
  • Doing In the Wizard: A really weird case. Future Betsy writes the Book of the Dead and sends it back in time.
  • 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.
  • First Person Smart Ass: Betsy herself.
  • 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.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Betsy herself. A large portion of her problems comes from attempting to make every other vampire in the world into one.
  • 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.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Future Betsy is mighty scary indeed in Undead and Unfinished.
    • Laura's attempts to avert this backfire horribly.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Betsy throws Sinclair's opera CD's from his car in revenge. Leading to (paraphrased):
    Betsy: Andrea Bocelli? Who the hell is she?
  • Genius Ditz: Betsy at vampiredom.
  • Ghostly Goals: The Queen of the Vampires can see the dead. They want stuff done.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: How other vampires view Betsy.
    • Later played straight with Ancient Betsy.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Sinclair and Betsy, though that may be "Vampires have good sex."
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: This series is somewhere between this and Black-and-Gray Morality.
  • 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.
  • Handsome Lech: Sinclair, pre-Betsy.
  • Hellfire: Laura is capable of generating this.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Laura.
    Betsy: You actually managed to make me being in Hell, doing your job, sound like a character flaw, or like I was rude to keep your Great Idea waiting.
  • 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.
  • Knight Templar Sister: Laura in Undead and Unwelcome.
  • 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.
  • The Masquerade: Until Laura decides to blow it in Undead and Unforgiven.
  • Motormouth: Betsy in a nutshell.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Betsy's friend keeps a calendar of her sexual activity to try and encourage her to get more action; Sinclair has daily orgies with his three girlfriends on black silk sheets.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded on several occasions with Betsy.
  • Not Himself: Betsy struggles with this due to fasting, The Book of the Dead, and evil future selves.
  • One Steve Limit: Subverted with the Ant and Antonia.
    • Later subverted when The Ant dies.
  • 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.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Marc.
    • Initially, they don't exist until Betsy makes them.
  • Pet Homosexual: Marc.
  • Screw Destiny: Betsy attempts this, usually to miserable failure.
    • It becomes a major plotline after Undead and Unfinished. Where Betsy must keep herself from becoming an Evil Overlord.
  • Stable Time Loop: Over the course of Undead and Unfinished, Betsy becomes part of several. Subverted near the end, when she meets her evil future self. The future self acts like this is the case at first... and then Betsy completely deviates from her future self's memories, throwing her off.
    • The timeline is now completely shot to hell.
  • Suicide by Cop: How Satan goes out.
  • 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.)
  • Ungrateful Bastard: The Fiends once they regain their intelligence.
  • The Unmasqued World: As of the epilogue of Undead and Unforgiven.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Jessica.
  • Vampire Fiction
  • Vampire Monarch: Betsy and Eric.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: Betsy has one of these moments, though it's a funeral home.
  • 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.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Laura, best demonstrated by this quote:
    Laura (enthusiastically): Once we convince the rest of the world [of the existence of God], things would change overnight! No more wars, no more murders.
  • Your Vampires Suck: How Betsy reacts to the Nostro dominated vampires of the world.
    • Amusingly, Betsy is largely a traditional vampire with a stake through the heart immobilizing her and sunlight making her fall asleep. It's other vampires who are more traditional Hollywood Vampires with massive weaknesses to sunlight and holy items.