My review: After Dead by Charlaine Harris (SPOILERS INCLUDED)

ImageFirst things first: Happy 2014 to everyone!

I decided that I would end 2013 much like I brought it in: with a stack of books that I am long overdue to read. The first on my list was Charlaine Harris’ After Dead, which documents the lives of the residents in Bon Temps after the events in Dead Ever After – the final book in the Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) series. As a fan of the series – and the TV show it spawned, True Blood – I was looking forward to finding out about the happily-ever-afters I had hoped to find, especially after the general feeling of disappointment I had after reading Dead Ever After and the most recent season of True Blood. The anticipation I felt quickly turned to disappointment as I read through the first few pages of the book and upon finishing, led me to this one conclusion:

This book was a complete waste of trees and for me, cemented the fact that the Sookieverse is indeed dead – and good riddance to it.

This book was to have served as a continuance into Bon Temps, telling us – the loyal readers – what happened in the lives of our favorite characters after the events in Dead Ever After. I got through the first fourteen characters without remembering who most of them are, and even now couldn’t tell you from which books they appeared. Characters #15 and #16, Andy and Halleigh Bellefleur, were the first in a line of characters who I actually cared for, and their stories post-Dead Ever After are for the most part sad and depressing. Most of the major characters survived all of the craziness throughout the 13-book series, just to find themselves dying of “ordinary” circumstances (car accidents, heart problems, drugs, etc.). The ones who did live had sad, pathetic lives – except for the handful that Ms. Harris gave pleasant lives to, the main ones we wanted to know about anyway. The important contents of this book could have easily been scripted into an epilogue included at the end of Dead Ever After.

Some examples include (CLICK AND DRAG YOUR MOUSE TO SEE SPOILERS):

  • Andy and Halleigh Bellefleur’s daughter was born with a heart defect, two months after the events in Dead Ever After. She lived until her teens, when she died in her senior year of high school due to complications. She was buried in her cheerleader uniform.
  • Terry Bellefleur, along with his wife, dies in a car accident 8 years after Dead Ever After.
  • Jane Bodehouse died 5 years later, after hitting her head on the bathroom sink when she passed out on the toilet. (Not surprising, but did she really have to die such an undignified death?)
  • Bubba gets exiled to Canada after causing a riot at his gravesite.
  • Tara and JB break up
  • Octavia Fant and Louis Chambers die after a tree branch crashes into their bedroom during a storm.
  • Amelia and Bob get married, have a son and get divorced.

Well, you can see how this is going. The characters who have relatively happy lives are ones who made brief appearances throughout the series. Of course Bill, Sookie, and Eric have relatively happy lives, but I won’t spoil those here.

Overall, this book was a disappointment for me, and makes me certain that it was definitely time to end the tales in Bon Temps. (Although Ms. Harris suggests in two characters’ bios that we will probably see them again). Certainly NOT worth the $18.00 cover price. Pull out your library card for this one, or borrow it from a friend who had the misfortune of paying for it. RIP, Sookieverse.

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Title, Cover Art Revealed for Sookie Stackhouse Book #11

Cover art for the 11th installment in Charlaine Harris’ “Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse” series has been released. “Dead Reckoning” will be in stores on May 3, 2011. According the TrueBlood.net, the synopsis for the story is as follows:

“With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. But Sookie suspects otherwise and she and Sam work together to uncover the culprit – and the twisted motive for the attack. But her attention is divided. Though she can’t ‘read’ vampires, Sookie knows her lover Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam well – and she realises that they are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, she is drawn into the plot -which is much more complicated than she knows. Caught up in the politics of the vampire world, Sookie will learn that she is as much of a pawn as any ordinary human – and that there is a new Queen on the board . . . ”

Looks like Sookie just can’t stay out of trouble, can she?

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion

Cover image provided by CharlaineHarris.com

I finally got a chance to go over to LiveJournal today, and found this gem of information in one of the True Blood communities. Apparently, there is a new Sookie Stackhouse book scheduled to be released in February 2011. This is great news for Sookie fans, who up until now weren’t expecting the next Sookie installment until May 2011.

According to CharlaineHarris.com, “The Sookie Stackhouse Companion” will include a new Sookie novella, and an exclusive interview with Alan Ball (creator of the HBO series True Blood, which is based on the Sookie books). There will also be a Q&A section where Charlaine answers questions sent in by fans.

You’re invited to send in your questions (limited to three) to askcharlaine@gmail.com from June 17 through June 26. (After that, the email address will be inactive.) Sending in your questions doesn’t guarantee they’ll be included. Please add your name and a valid email address to each question in case Charlaine selects your entry. All questions should pertain to the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Book Thoughts: “Dead in the Family” (minor spoilers)

I don’t like writing reviews for the simple fact that I don’t like having to try to talk about a book/show/movie while trying to screen myself from giving out possible spoilers. But I do want to get a few of my thoughts out now; my opinions of books tend to change once some time has gone by, or I get a chance to re-read and alter my thoughts.

Hmm…what to say about Dead in the Family? As usual, I enjoyed re-immersing myself into the Southern Vampire world, but in this – the 10th book – I found myself torn between wanting more, and wanting something different.

Some of the good:

*More exploration of the Sookie/Eric relationship.

*More Claude.

*More action, more Weres

*Interesting new characters – Vampire-wise.

Some of the things I did not like:

* The fact that CHarris tends to over-explain some of the key points of the series over and over and over again. In Book #10, I don’t need to read Sookie’s explanation of how her power works…again. I’ve had to read that in all nine of the previous books.

* Too much political talk. I understand that the Were/Vampire legislation is a big deal in the series, but there was way too much political talk for my taste. Vampire politics, Were politics, human politics; I don’t even like talking about politics in real life, much less do I want to read about it in a fantasy world.

* Not enough Bill. I understand that there are a lot of fans who do not like Bill, but I am one of the ones who is sympathetic to his plight and the accumulating set of circumstances that have gotten him where he is, storyline-wise. I was sad to see him reduced to such a minor character in this book. But when he did show up, the scenes were very moving, very powerful for me.

*No Bubba.

All in all it was a great book, just as with the others. Entertaining with enough silliness in it to be fun without being cheesy. Now comes the long wait for Book #11.

Sookie Book #10: possible spoilers?

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place …or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives … (Just cant get enough of that first sentence! 🙂 )

Also, I’m meeting Charlaine Harris this weekend at Dragon*Con…I’m so excited!