Review: Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare

Posted 23 June, 2011 by Amanda / 9 Comments

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare (Rhiannon’s Law, #1) [A-]
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Purchased e-book
Finished Reading: 6/12/2011
In six words: Rhiannon — a mouth that doesn’t quit.


J.A. Saare’s website | Twitter
Amazon:  paperback | e-book
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Book Order:

1) Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between
2) The Renfield Syndrome (August 2011)
3) The Ripple Effect (2012)


No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance, she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her–until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no. But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.
-from Goodreads

Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts

I’d seen a review or two of this book before, but it was Ash’s review that really sold me on this book, and prompted me to put this on my to be read list.  Snark and sarcasm?  It has my name written all over it.  I can only aspire to have the snark and potty-mouth that Rhiannon does.  As much as I enjoyed Rhiannon, I don’t think I enjoyed this book as much as I could have.  However, that has nothing to do with the book itself, and more to the fact my attention was already fractured and unfocused on the day I read this book.

A More In-Depth Look

Rhiannon is one of those amazing characters whom you simply must admire for her strength.  But her strength comes at the expense of a tragic and somewhat terrifying childhood; she is the type to build walls around herself to protect against any vulnerability.  This kind of character has always been the most appealing to me, because they are written with such depth and truth, and romance that involves the scaling or breaking down of those protective walls remains among my favorites.  I cannot help but identify with Rhiannon, even if I’ve never had her experiences.

Although I loved the snark in all its glory, it seemed Rhiannon’s sharp wit faded some as she became more involved (and overwhelmed) in Disco’s world, with her scathing retorts only making brief appearances.  I missed this as the book progressed, but knowing that sarcasm is a weapon best wielded to keep people at a distance under normal circumstances, I also know that it is not easy to maintain when you find yourself out of your depth.  In this sense, Rhiannon’s character becomes more believable — having much of your “meaningless existence” (as Rhiannon has said) being turned upside down would put stress on any person’s usual defensive mechanisms.  Disco uses this turmoil and upheaval in Rhiannon’s life to breach her walls.  We can tell, even if Rhiannon can’t at first, that Disco is interested in her beyond whatever help she can provide.  However, there is a shroud of mystery surrounding him, as if there are secrets he has yet to reveal.

Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between is action packed, and doesn’t let up until the very end where we’re thrown a twist that leaves us hanging for the next book.  I did not see the twist coming, but it was hinted at, ever so briefly and not directly.  But it does almost guarantee that the Renfield Syndrome will find a way into my hands come August.

Favorite Quotes

“Rhiannon’s Law #37: Don’t get so high and mighty.  God will only reward that arrogance with a huge bitch slap back to reality.”

“Rhiannon’s Law #16: If it looks like a rabbit, and it hops like a rabbit, run the other way and fast.  That shit is liable to tear your arm off Monty Python and the Holy Grail style.”

“I almost felt sorry for her, but let’s face it–no one forced her to be a moron.”

“If her death taught me anything, it’s this.  Cherish the time you have.  Don’t worry about tomorrow.  Right now is all we are promised.” -Disco to Rhiannon

You Might Enjoy This Book If…

If you like your urban fantasies with lots of sharp sarcasm and ass-kicking, you will probably enjoy this book.

Other Reviews

Smash Attack Reads!
Reading with Tequila
Supernatural Snark

Filed under: ESR: 7, Review: Amanda, Urban Fantasy, ,


9 Responses to “Review: Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare”

  1. “Rhiannon’s Law #16: If it looks like a rabbit, and it hops like a rabbit, run the other way and fast. That shit is liable to tear your arm off Monty Python and the Holy Grail style.”

    Now I have to read this. Added to the TBR.

  2. Felicia

    Yep! I am adding this one! I am super picky about UF—like romance to much—but a good sarcastic lead character ranks way up there for me :)

  3. *crackles* No one forced me to be a moron either, so why haven’t I read this book yet? I love snark and sarcasm!

    Your analysis on Rhiannon pretty much sums up what I most appreciate about characters too, even if you haven’t experienced what they have but can still relate.

    I purchased this book back in Nov, I think, after reading a review on Supernatural Snark. I can’t believe I forgot all about it. Thanks for the review Amanda. I will have to find a way to bump it up.