My book list for 2013 is much shorter than it has been in years past. But then I’ve also read some really long books this year. Really long, dense, wonderful books. I’ve missed those books you can get through in a few days, though I haven’t necessarily missed reading books of minimal to no redeeming literary value. But you know what? Reading Dead Ever After this week was so fun. Nice and easy and contemporary. Say what you will about Sookie Stackhouse’s narrative voice (and believe me I’ve said plenty), she is engaging and moves a story along.
I was hopeful that Charlaine Harris would end the series strong, as the past couple entries have been a bit shaky. I blame HBO. And I was generally pleased with this book, though I have to qualify my enjoyment a bit: I’ve learned to expect less of these books than I did when I started reading them a few years ago. Here’s the gist of the plot. Someone is out to kill Sookie Stackhouse! And no one knows who it is! Sookie is wrongfully accused of a crime and sent to jail! All of her old lovers and friends show up to help clear her name! The rightful perpetrator is captured! Sookie has crazy sex with her new boyfriend! She gets kidnapped right when you think everything has been said and done! She is rescued by her new boyfriend! The end! That’s basically it. This was not the best book in the series, but I think it was definitely better than the last two. The mystery was more interesting to me this time around, and it was nice revisit characters who haven’t been around much in the past few books, both good and evil. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t remember all of the bad guys from prior novels until Charlaine/Sookie prompted me a bit. Obviously I remembered Steve Newlin and Copely Carmichael, and Arlene, but Johan was a hazy memory at best.
I was just reading some reviews on Amazon, and to the people who said that they were shocked that Sookie ended up with Sam, come on. I’ve known for at least two books that that was going to happen. Right around the time Sookie started getting sick of the vampire/supe universe and when she started having baby envy, I knew she was never going to end up with Eric or Bill. And for the record, Charlaine Harris, I don’t need to be told every ten pages that Sookie is a Christian. She’s from rural Louisiana. Of course she is a Christian. And here’s another thing. Just because you got sick of vampires and Weres (I’m pretty sure that’s where Sookie’s aversion came from), don’t make your main character hate them too. I can understand Sookie being tired after all the years of drama. But don’t make them the bad guys and the human world where Sookie belongs. They all hated her for her peculiarities for years before the supes came along. Don’t you remember? She was an outcast. She found acceptance with the weirdos and freaks.
I have other thoughts about Sookie’s love life, in particular where Eric is concerned. Mainly, this: Eric was always going to take care of Eric. How is that a surprise to anyone? Yes, he loves Sookie. But to be the consort to the Queen of Oklahoma is a huge career move for him. How could he turn that down, really? It did bother me that Eric (and pretty much all the vampires, now that I think about it. Especially Pam. I love Pam.) wasn’t really around in this book, because I like him too, but never really trusted him. Just like Sookie never really trusted him. Don’t you think she would have told him about her cousin Hunter if she did? And who knows? Maybe Eric has a plan to get out of his arranged marriage. Or maybe not. He’s a vampire. Two hundred years isn’t more than a blink of an eye to him.
I really don’t want to dedicate any more time to this book. It’s just not worth it. I did enjoy it, though the more I think about it the more I find things that bother me, which is the main reason why I am going to conclude this review earlier than I normally would. The Sookie Stackhouse series has been a constant in my life since 2008, and I will miss visiting Sookie and the rest of the gang in Bon Temps. I consider True Blood on HBO to be Sookie, etc. in a parallel universe, so it’s not really the same. It’s better in some ways, but also worse. And I still haven’t finished watching last season, and the new season starts on Sunday. Will I read other Charlaine Harris books? Probably not. What I loved about these books was the comingling of vampires and witches and werewolves with regular humans in a universe where everyone knew everything about the supernatural world (or most everything). I liked the setting. I think that Harris is sick of “monsters,” hence the focus on the human characters, or at least the living ones, in this book. Any future efforts of hers will probably be more human-based. I don’t like her writing enough to read her books just because they are hers. I need the undead to pique my interest.