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08 April 2021

Book Review: Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw

Do you know how excited I was for Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw?

I love vampire stories, I grew up reading Point Horror and the Night World books, watching Buffy. This book was a total nostalgia trip and absolutely excellent.

Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw book cover


New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995.

Mina’s having a summer to die for.

Mina arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. She loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie and can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets - vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths...

Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate and fellow horror enthusiast. But the perfect summer bliss is broken when she stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby’s.

Someone is replicating New Orleans’ most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister’s innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth.

Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, vampires, horror, belonging, love.


This book? It's bloody brilliant.

From the very first page, I was in love with everything about Mina's story.

I love the messy family relationships, Mina and Libby have a lot of resentment for each other, they clash, but there is still some love deep down. At times it reminded me a lot of me and my sisters, because put us in a stressful environment and there will be a clash. Maybe some hair pulling. Regardless, I loved the slow build of their relationship back up, the desperation not to lose each other again, the sadness and reluctance to talk about their past.

There is an element of romance, and although there is a small age-gap that made me feel a teensy bit squiffy, I was here for it. If they were all just a couple years older I wouldn't have any issue at all, and I loved the chemistry. It was a pretty slow burn but once it got going *sigh*.

The writing feels kind of timeless - this could be happening at pretty much any time in the past 100 years, the plot is not constrained by technology, and I don't think it would change too much if it were set 30 years later. And I loved it. I loved the small hints and clues and the nostalgia about the setting. Whether it was bath pearls or Opal Fruits, I was misty-eyed for my childhood. I even looked out the Night World books once I finished, does anyone else remember counting down the millennium reading them and then there never being a tenth book?

As I read, I couldn't stop myself from tabbing out quotes or scenes that hit me particularly hard. If I'd annotated this book I wouldn't be able to reread it, and I ended up using an entire packet of page tabs. It was worth it.

I loved Mina's passion for vampires and all things horror. This book will give you an excellent TBR and have your watchlist full. It will probably also have you wanting to dress up as a horror character.

In terms of horror, this book did give me a pretty vivid nightmare when I was working on my review and a quote feature post (next week, guys), but I wouldn't say that it's especially gory. The action is very Buffy-esque, it has that fantasy element to it, and I found it easy to disconnect from the horror as I was reading and focus more on the feelings and psychological side of what was happening. Even if there is A Lot of blood and some pretty grisly murders.

A small thing that I thought was very clever was the whispered contrast of Whitby and New Orleans, how Mina's world in New Orleans was so vastly different from the grey and drizzly North of England, even if we barely saw her home. And that they are both places filled with vampire lore? Loved it.

Mina and the Undead was so, so good. It reminded me of why I love horror, even if I am a total wimp. Mina's passion for all things scary is contagious, and she was the perfect protagonist for the story.

I am desperate for a follow up. I want to know what happens next So Badly, and I'd happily read stories of their exploits at the manner for the fun of it. I want to see where they go from here after that wild ending.

6 comments:

  1. I skimmed this review a little bit because this is on my wish-list and I can't wait to get around to reading it! It sounds sooo good! :) x

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  2. I can't wait to pick this up now!

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  3. Ohhh I like the sound of this! I haven't read a vampire book since the Twilight saga but I did really enjoy those books so I would definitely be up for something more gritty x

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  4. Vampires? I'm down! I have been craving a good vampire book.

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  5. I don't think I've ever read a vampire book before which is quite shocking so I'd love to give this a try, especially as you loved it so much!

    Tash - A Girl with a View

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  6. Great review! I've been seeing this book out and about so much recently and I really want to give it a go!

    Lois | https://loisreadsbooks.com

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