Review: Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw

I received a free eARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb: New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995. Mina’s having a summer to die for. 17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can’t wait to explore the city’s darkest secrets – vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths… And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby’s gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast. But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina 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.

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Title: Mina and the Undead

Author: Amy McCaw

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

Genre: Fiction, YA, Horror

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Review:

When Mina heads to New Orleans to visit her older sister, Libby, for the summer, she’s expecting to watch some scary movies and have some fun. What she’s not expecting is having to face the reality that vampires are real, and one in particular has his eye on her…

The best way I could describe this book to someone who’s not read it yet is to say it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Nancy Drew. Combine bloodthirsty creatures with a bit of amateur sleuthing and you’ve pretty much summed up this book! I loved that this book was set in the 90s and in New Orleans which is full of bloody historical tales, lots of which are mentioned and we get a little crash course in. Think American Horror Story: Coven with the Axeman, Marie Laveau and Madama LaLaurie. It obvious that the author has done her research about New Orleans history which I really appreciate! I also have to note that McCaw has a real talent for describing gore – the beginning of the story is set in a particularly bloody haunted house (I’m a big fan of the bear trap chandelier!) which is described so well that I could really imagine it. It made me wish it was Halloween so I could go and experience a haunted house like this one for myself. To add to that, every time we encounter a murder, it was vividly described enough to give your stomach a turn. This was one of the things that really kept me invested as it felt like I just couldn’t tear my eyes away. As for the characters, we did get a lot of diversity. Mina’s older sister Libby has a girlfriend and when it came to appearance, all sort of skin tones and hair types were mentioned. We read from Mina’s point of view, a horror movie obsessed seventeen-year-old who’s not afraid to find her own answers. I really loved her curiosity when it came to getting to the bottom of the murders and reading up on everything she could (that would definitely be me! The reading up, not so much the risking my life I guess ๐Ÿ˜‚).

As for what I disliked, I would have loved to see more emotion from the characters. We see a bit of anger but a lot of the time everyone is pretty chill, even when faced with the murder of their friend and the fact that there are actual vampires roaming the city. Because we don’t get to see much of this it felt like some of the scenes fell a bit flat. For example, there’s a scene where one of the characters gets badly hurt but other than visiting him in hospital, not much is said about it. On top of that, I feel like we don’t really get to know them very much, aside from Mina and by extension her sister, so I would have liked this book to be a bit longer so that we could fully form attachments to these characters. I also thought that Lucas’s change in demeanour at the end was a bit abrupt – he goes from tortured artist and a bit shy to ready to kill his friends which felt a bit too much of a change for me.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun take on the world of vampires, filled with all the blood and gore you could need!

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Rating: 3/5

Recommend?: Yes


Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? Iโ€™d love to know!

You can always find me over on Twitter if youโ€™d like to discuss this book (or any others that Iโ€™ve featured) in more detail ๐Ÿ˜Œ

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