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Unchosen (The Reaper Diaries #2) - Michele Vail

Before we get started with the review, can I just say how much I hate this cover? Not only that, but it does not even accurately reflect the contents of the book. Yes, Rath is in the book. Yes, they are reapers. But the book is about Molly, Rath is not even the focus of this book! This looks like the cover of a romance novel about a male reaper, which it is not.

Oh well, anyway! Although I was not the biggest fan of the first book in this series, I decided to give the second book a shot. In the first book, while I loved the Egyptian Mythology and reaper focus, Molly sounded like the teenage version of "Legally Blonde" which drove me crazy. This is toned down a bit in this second book, which I am very thankful for. The chapters are divided by quotes regarding Egyptian Mythology and advice from Molly to new reapers. This advice really showed Molly's maturity as a character, and the lessons she imparts are applicable for really anyone at any stage in their life. Get along with others. Pick your battles. Be kind. These may seem like things that everyone should know, but the way they are sprinkled throughout the book gives them context and makes Molly appear wise beyond her years.

The continued focus on the Egyptian mythology, its Gods, the zombies, and the ghosts is fantastic. There is really nothing else on the YA market that I have read that showcases this ancient belief system as well as this series does. My only wish would be that the Gods be given bigger personalities and a bit more spotlight so readers and learn to identify them by more than just their name.

While Molly is given more depth in this second volume, her friends are unfortunately still nothing more than two dimensional cardboard cut outs she eats lunch and hangs out with. The exception to this being Barbie. Barbie and her zombie, Jon Lemon, are really given a significant amount of depth near the end of this story. Jon Lemon in particular was really very endearing as a character, so I hope to see more of these two in the next installment.

We also get to see a bit more of Rath. His lines and interactions with Molly are so cheesy, though, that I began to roll my eyes and sigh heavily every single time his name appeared on the page. I understand that almost all YA books have to include a love interest, that is fine, but if you are going to include one at least give the boy a personality and lines that don't sound like they were ripped straight from a romantic comedy script or a soap opera. I hope that the third book in the series gives Rath the depth he deserves so I can begin to dislike him a bit less.

This was a huge improvement over the last book. Molly is given a real voice, and the advice she imparts to her readers is not only smart but timeless. Her friends and Rath are still not given any real depth however, with the exception of Barbie and her zombie, Jon Lemon, who step into the spotlight in the second half of the book. It's my hope the writing, characters, and world building continue to improve in the third volume in this series. I'd recommend this series to fans of reapers, zombies, ghosts, mythology, and paranormal fiction.