Book Review: MINA AND THE UNDEAD by Amy McCaw

I won a copy from the publishers. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in dripping white on red
Genre: Horror
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - first book


Book cover for MINA AND THE UNDEAD: title in white above red mansion like a VHS box

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 Whitby, 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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


After their 2000s boom and then lull, vampires seem to be back. There have been a lot of vampiric books publishing of late, and MINA AND THE UNDEAD is the latest in that trend. Rather than going the “sexy, gritty” vampire route (which I deeply dislike), this book was trying to go the horror route, full of references to 1990s horror movies.

My main impression was that it was fun, but didn’t have the tense, spooky feeling of a horror. I never particularly felt like there was any danger, and the various deaths, attacks, and near-misses failed to grab me.

It personally felt more than a wacky ride through movies and tropes than a tense thriller. The introduction of the vampires at the end also felt very convenient and the personal link to them a little weak. It was fun and easy to read, but not the horror I’d been hoping for.

This book is set in the 1990s, but the only real way it didn’t feel like a modern setting is because they didn’t have any phones on them or computers – no searching things on the internet, books instead. Otherwise, it felt very modern to me, as there didn’t seem to be a special point made on clothing or food. It’s a weird period, technically a historical, but not so different to today that it’s all that noticeable. The values the society lives by are basically the same (unlike, say a 1920s book when WW1 has had an impact.)

A sequel has just been announced, and I’ll probably read it, but it might take me a while to get around to it.

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