I’m excited to be a part of the blog tour for Queen of the Dead, the second novel in The Undertakers series. After my review, there is some information on the author and a giveaway of a paperback copy of Queen of the Dead. This is the second book in the series, but I never felt like I was missing crucial information, so don’t let that stop you from entering. Drago did a great job of catching me up when he needed to, without being boring.
Book: Queen of the Dead (The Undertakers #2) by Ty Drago
(October 2012; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; $7.99; Ages 10+)
Summary (kind of spoilery): The dead have risen again and are set on taking over the world. But how do you make sure the dead stay dead? Join Will and his friends as they try to put the dead to rest once and for all in The Undertakers: Queen of The Dead. In the second of the undertakers series, Will Ritter and his rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters may have triumphed over the Zombies (alien-possessed corpses) last time…but that’s the thing about the dead- they keep coming back. A new Corpse leader has crossed the rift and taken command of the invasion: The Queen of the Dead is even more brilliant and ruthless than her predecessor, and her ambitions are even deadlier. Will and his friends are the only ones that can stop the corpses. They’re the Undertakers- the earth’s first, last, and only defense against the undead.Will and the crew must somehow rescue his mother, prevent an assassination, and show FBI Agent Ramirez the truth about the Corpses—and the danger the world faces. But how do a bunch of kids prove to a grown-up that monsters are real?
Characters: Will is easy to root for. He has devoted himself to the cause in such a way that I sometimes forgot he was only 13. But then he would get desperately homesick for his mom and I would remember. I also enjoyed his complete denial about his developing a crush on his best friend. The rest of the characters are fleshed out in much the same way. They are a group of kids who had to grow up fast because they are the only thing keeping the earth from being taken over by Corpses. I especially enjoyed reading about Will’s friend and roommate, who is struggling with self-confidence because he has different strengths than Will and the other members of the team responsible for actually fighting the Corpses. As for the queen of the dead… she was scary, even if her antics were tempered by moments of humor.
Plot/Pacing: This is mostly told from Will’s point of view, which is conversational and fun, but we also get some third person glimpses at things going on in other parts of the city. Especially with the Queen of the Dead, Lilith Cavanaugh. I loved these parts, because they added a ton of suspense. I had to keep reading to find out when Will and his friends would discover what I already knew and how they would deal with it. The premise for these zombies–corpses reanimated by the souls (maybe spirits? …something) of intelligent beings from another world–is something I hadn’t seen before and combined the terror of zombies and body-snatchers.
Moments I Loved: There are tons of actions scenes that I could choose or the very last scene at Haven, but I won’t spoil you. Instead, I’m going to go with the moment when Will’s crush realizes that he has a crush on her. Of course, no matter how much logic she applied, he refused to admit it, and while the scene didn’t end with a kiss or even a hug (which would have felt out of place in this book, so that’s not a complaint), the entire scene was awkwardly delicious.
WTF Moments: There is a moment at the end that I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll go with the moment that Will’s mom walked into Lilith Cavanaugh’s office, not realizing that she was the queen of the dead and enemy of her late husband and missing son. Oh, wow, was I stressed out about this. I did not expect it and it freaked me out for the entire book!
Overall: Queen of the Dead (The Undertakers #2) combines zombies and aliens in a way that is terrifying. The story is part adventure and part desperate survival, but always exciting, and the characters have a ton of heart.
Ty Drago is an author, husband, father, and a born Quaker who has lived in New Jersey almost his entire life. As an accomplished writer, Drago is editor/publisher of Allegory, an online magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror and author of The Undertakers Series: Rise of the Corpses the first of the undertakes series. He has also had short fiction published in Space and Time Magazine and Fortress Publishing’s YESTERDAY I WILL anthology.