I thought You Are So Undead to Me was fluffy in a fun way, but by the end of Undead Much, I was mostly just annoyed — enough so that it makes me retroactively question my response to the previous book.
This time around, what impressed me most was the density of repurposing elements from other recent media: the (powerful young) zombie settler/Settler’s Affairs back drop is very Buffy the vampire slayer/Watcher’s Council. The pom squad/cheerleader social conflict is straight out of Glee. In the second book I was more conscious of tiresome Twilight-ish romantic mooning (and I suspect if I had ever read a “Sweet Valley High” book I might have found points of comparison there, as well). Last time I thought it was a bit unfair of me to brand people yelling vaguely Latin-ish spells like “Reverto!” as derivative of Harry Potter, but this book adds a distinctly Potter-y element to the evolving plot thread as well.
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments books draw on much of the same source material, but far more successfully. Undead Much leans very, very hard on tall coincidence, and its conclusion is far too much like that of You’re So Undead to Me — both feature a late revelation of the villain’s identity that abandons character consistency, and a big improbable fight scene.
As an adult male I’m admittedly way outside the target demographic for this novel. But there are a plenty of young adult books I have no trouble enjoying. This was not one of them.
I was also a bit creeped out by Undead Much‘s treatment of adolescent sexuality. Megan Berry spends a lot of time wondering whether she should become sexually active or not — but because there’s black magic afoot and the blood of virgins has ritual uses, in her situation her life would literally become less complicated if she started having sex. I hate to sound like an old prude, but that seems like a misleading message to send teens.
needs more demons? yeah.