Thursday, June 10, 2010

Charlaine Harris "Dead in the Family” review

Charlaine Harris "Dead in the Family” review – the tenth Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Short intro into the series.
If you have read one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels you might want to skip this part.

Sookie Stackhouse series consists now of ten books and as far as I know the author is still on a roll. In every title you find the world “dead” because the books are simply teeming with dead, undead and barely dead. Let’s return to the main character, though – Sookie Stackhouse, a blonde waitress, who works in the Merlotte’s bar in a small town called Bon Temps in Louisiana. She could have been one of so many American waitresses if it wasn’t for her unusual gift or maybe even glitch - she can read people’s minds. This particular ability makes her life very colourful and difficult at the same time – she is not good in the presence of humans, especially prospective boyfriends (she can’t be fooled by their courtesy knowing practically everything they really think – just imagine that) so she hangs around vampires a lot because they are the only creatures which brains are closed (because…dead?) to her. Many vampires want Sookie to cooperate closely with them but she is less than willing – vampires in this series are devious and power-hungry creatures, they love domination and no atrocity is beneath their dignity – imagine having normal life in such a company. There are also other supernatural creatures, like werewolves and fairies, who would like to use (or abuse) Sookie’s mind-reading powers. Not to mention two ambitious FBI agents. To make things worse (and the reading more interesting) many sentient beings tend to crop dead around Sookie. Small wonder - some of them she has been forced to kill herself.

“Dead in the Family” synopsis

When dealing with such a big series it is almost impossible not to include any spoilers – especially that the plots of particular parts are interwoven with each other rather closely. I will try my best but I might spoil you a little bit here and there – sorry in advance!

Amelia the witch is out of Sookie’s house as she returns to New Orleans – she wants to forget the tragic death of her werewolf boyfriend, Tray Dawson. Sookie is still with Eric Northman, the vampire sheriff of her area, but she has some mental problems: shaking off the trauma after a bloody meeting with some really nasty faeries is no mean feat. Eric explains her why he failed to rescue her personally, as he intended. He has to be very careful indeed because after the death of his previous vampire superior the position of Area Five sheriff is a bit shaky. In the vampire world it usually means he and his loyal subordinates might be murdered cold-bloodedly any time soon. The new vampire king of Louisiana sends his envoy, Victor Madden, to keep a close watch on Eric. Victor seems to be only too eager to see Eric killed and disgraced – apparently he is after his position and some more independence. It doesn’t help that he also knows about Sookie’s special abilities and her bond with Eric, which , at least for the vampires, means nothing less than marriage. Meanwhile Sookie finds out that somebody buried a new body on her land. When a friendly pack of werewolves and her vampire friends dig the cadaver out, the whole problem becomes even more mysterious. She must try to solve this crime riddle because it seems somebody wants to put the whole blame on her. The fact that she has a new resident in her house makes her life even more complicated, and she simply couldn’t refuse a member of her family, could she? Additionally her cousin’s son, small Hunter, who has inherited the same powers as Sookie, is going to pay her a visit and once again she can’t say “no”. Eric might be a tiny bit busier too, having unexpected guests of his own. Will Sookie be able to multi-task with her usual astuteness after these all bad experiences so fresh in her mind? Will the bond with Eric will be an asset or a liability this time?

What I liked.

Plenty. The plot is good – not too complicated but complicated enough. Some might consider this part a bit tamer than the previous ones, but it was just rightly balanced for me. Some new characters are introduced and we learn more about others, only mentioned in previous installments. It all ends well but there’s still a lot of potential for the next part. I even appreciate the fact that the sex scenes were less detailed than previously.

What I didn’t like.
I do regret one character that ends up dead. I won’t tell you who because it would be a major spoiler but, getting to know them closer I wanted them around for longer and now I know my wish won’t come true. They’re dead. For sure.

The final verdict

A book you would love to read not only in the summer as it has it all: murder, mystery, fantastic creatures and realistic settings.

10 shout outs:

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