Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After by Charlaine HarrisFormat read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Series: Sookie Stackhouse, #13
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Number of pages: 352 pages
Publisher: Penguin Publishing
Formats available: ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK)

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart….

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

My Thoughts:

“I’m Sookie Stackhouse. I belong here.” THE END.

Except for the capitalized end, Sookie pretty much declaring that there’s no place like home really is the last line of Dead Ever After. We just had to read through 13 books to get there.

dead until dark by Charlaine harrisWhat’s hard to believe is that in the Sookieverse, it’s only 2 years of her life, because it’s taken 12 years out of the rest of us. Dead Until Dark was unleashed on the world in 2001. Practically a whole lifetime ago.

Sookie’s lifetime, anyway. (If you’re searching for perspective, Harry Potter had found the Goblet of Fire, but had not yet joined the Order of the Phoenix. No Horcruxes were even on the bloody horizon in 2001. Dumbledore was still alive!)

Back to Sookie. In Dead Ever After, all of the chickens from all of Sookie’s previous outings come home to roost. Pretty much everyone she has ever met gets at least a mention.

Nearly all her old friends who are alive pay her a visit. Most of them come to support her in her hour of need. And does she ever have a need!

Because all her old enemies return to do her one final bad turn. Some of them want her very, very dead. And some of them want to hurt her so bad, she’ll just wish she was dead.

Every loose end that might possibly be left in Sookie’s story gets tied up tight, nearly in the shape of a handman’s noose around her neck.

And while Sookie investigates, not necessarily successfully, to figure out who her enemies are, she also figures out who her friends are. She has a lot more friends than she believed. Sookie has always sold herself short, never thinking that she had made as many friends as she has.

Most important of all, she finally grows a pair and protects her heart, instead of continuing to be Eric’s doormat. Eric has always put himself first, and it’s high time that Sookie did the same.

Verdict: The first books in the Sookie Stackhouse series were magical, because Sookie was on an incredible voyage of discovery. The last few have been kind of a chore, because Sookie let herself become dependent on Eric. She got weak and whiny and bitchy.

dead to the world by charlaine harrisThe only time I thought Eric really loved Sookie was when he had amnesia (Dead to the World) and forgot to be the manipulative bastard he really is. Otherwise, Eric puts Eric first. He always has and he always does. It’s a survival instinct that has kept him alive for more than a thousand years.

Here’s a question about vampire romances in general: what does someone who is over a thousand years old have in common with a 20-year-old? This isn’t about looks or possibly even brains, but what do they talk about? What are their shared experiences? Why would this relationship possibly work?

How could Sookie ever be anything except a subordinate (and I don’t mean this in a sexual context necessarily)? Even if Eric turned her, which she expressly did not want, it would be centuries before she acquired enough experience to approach a level of equality. And, as was shown in Club Dead, the vampire who sires another vampire has control over that vampire for the rest of their unnatural lives. If Eric had turned Sookie, he would always be in control of her and their relationship.

Sookie started the books as an independent person. The one being in her life for whom she continually made excuses and ceded that independence was Eric. I wish she’d kicked him to the curb sooner.

The double-mystery that sets this story in motion is a little weak. It mostly provided an excuse to “get the band back together” and have everyone that Sookie has ever met parade through her life one last time. I’m almost certain that every living or unliving soul that Sookie has crossed paths with got a mention except Bubba.

But the point was to make sure that Sookie took stock and resolved all her issues with the supe community, and she does that. The mystery is just an excuse to put her in jeopardy, so the troops rally round.

Sookie also had the opportunity to choose between Eric, Bill and Sam. While admittedly she could have chosen to be happily single, that wasn’t likely to be a resolution for the story and it wouldn’t have tied up the romantic loose ends.

Eric wanted her to be his “piece on the side” while he married someone else. Bill wanted her to forgive him for deceiving her, for betraying her, and, let’s not forget, for raping her.

And Sam, a while back he made her half owner of his bar, because she’s been so supportive of him. She didn’t need to put in any money. Sam counted her sweat-equity and her support more than enough of a contribution.

I know who I’d pick. And I know who I wouldn’t choose if he were the last man or vampire on Earth.


I give  Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris 3 and 1/2 furry stars!

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Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

I just finished, and by that I mean I finished it about an hour ago, Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris. Deadlocked is book 12, for anyone who doesn’t already know, in Harris’ quirky tale of the telepathic waitress in the fictional small-town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. It’s also a slightly alternate world where vampires are not only real, but everyone knows they’re real, because some enterprising inventor created a synthetic substitute for blood that allowed them to come out of the coffin.

And that’s where the fun began, in 2001, with Dead Until Dark. It has been mostly fun for those of us reading the series. It has not been fun for the heroine of this little tale, that telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie’s journey has been one crisis after another. The more she has learned about the world of the supernatural, the darker and more dangerous her life has become.

Be warned, Deadlocked is book 12 in an ongoing series. I will do my best not to include spoilers for Deadlocked, but there’s no reasonable way to say much about book 12 without spoiling something in books 1-11.

Deadlocked is the perfect title for this book, because Sookie’s life is deadlocked as the story opens. Eric Northman, her vampire lover, is the vampire “sheriff” of Shreveport and the surrounding area, including Bon Temps. However, his sire promised the Queen of Oklahoma that Eric would marry her, not long before the waste of space (I can’t type something disgusting enough) was killed. On Sookie’s front lawn.

Eric, Sookie, and Pam, Eric’s second-in-command, murdered the deputy of the King of Nevada. The man who Eric owes fealty to. The fact that the bastard was trying to kill them doesn’t matter. They should pay for his death. The King is in Shreveport to collect.

Sookie’s boss, and best friend, Sam Merlotte, is a were, a shapeshifter. His current girlfriend is second-in command of the local pack. Jannalyn hates Sookie, for no reason that Sookie can understand, except that Jannalyn thinks Sam and Sookie might be more than just friends. They’re not.

Then a girl dies. On Eric’s front yard this time. In the middle of a party. Just after he drank from her. It shouldn’t have anything to do with Sookie. But it does.

Her fae grandfather left her with a gift. It grants one wish, the wish of her heart. And everyone wants it. Or want her to use it.

Or wants her to die.

Escape Rating B: Too much of the first 2/3rds of the book is setup, and a lot of that setup involves Sookie’s situation just getting more and more, I want to say pitiful but that’s not quite it, let’s say worse, by the hour. Things shouldn’t be able to sink any lower, but they just keep heading downhill.

It is pretty obvious who the responsible parties are for everything that’s going wrong in Sookie’s universe. Why Sookie can’t see it, we’ll say dramatic license. The clues were pretty obvious and the herrings were very, very bright red.

On the other hand, the last third of the book saw the loose ends being knitted together. Every person, or at least every supernatural creature, who ever crossed Sookie’s path seems to be making a final appearance, a curtain call, one way or another. The author has announced that the next book will be the last in the series.

Lucky 13. How appropriate for a book about the creatures that go bump in the night. Or considering this series, maybe hump in the night is a better phrase.

A few notes on the audiobook version, read by Johanna Parker. Because the story is told from Sookie’s perspective, Ms. Parker is primarily voicing Sookie, although she does deepen her voice or drop her accent to represent the other characters when they speak. Her narration works because she is able to make herself sound like Sookie, at least to this listener. It sounds like Sookie is telling me her perspective on events as she is witnessing them. It’s marvelous. Occasionally, you want to slap her for concentrating on the wrong things, because you’re caught up in her telling you her story.

I just wish Sookie had gotten her act together sooner. She spends way too much of the book being passive. The narrator has a good handle on voicing Sookie’s inner dialogue. It would have made a better story if Sookie had less inner dialog and more outer action the first two thirds of the book.

On My Wishlist #7

On My Wishlist is currently hosted at Cosy Books, but was started at Book Chick City. It’s a way for us to share the books we’re wishing, wishing, wishing for, whether they’re already out (maybe long out) but we haven’t indulged ourselves yet, or they’re due sometime in the near or distant future, and we’re trying to resist purchasing them.

Or maybe resistance is futile, and they will be absorbed into our towering TBR piles.

Speaking of books where the resistance is probably futile, at least for me, it’s May, and that means its time for another installment of the Perils of Pauline…wait, scratch that, I meant another chapter in the continuing saga of the life of Sookie Stackhouse. It’s just not May without another Sookie book. This year Sookie is Deadlocked.

I think I’ve read an interview with Ms. Harris (unfortunately no relation at ALL) that there are a limited number of books left in this series. While I’m sad, it’s probably getting close to time. I’d rather be left wanting a little bit more, than watching the train wreck grind on a la Anita Blake.

The other book that I just plain want to read is Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck. All the reviews have been so awesome and I love urban fantasy. And, I miss Harry Dresden. I like the idea of reading an Urban Fantasy series with a male narrator again. Although it sounds like Deacon Chalk gets his act together considerably faster than Harry did, which is probably a good thing, Chalk’s circumstances start out way worse. Blood and Bullets is definitely different, but in good ways I want to sink my “teeth” into. But not like the were-spiders! Eeew.

So come on, share with group! What’s on your wishlist? Will you be able to resist bringing it home?