365 of 381 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
Geez, where do I start? I know I'll finish the series, but like other reviewers, I'm disappointed with the unnecessary explanations that ultimately conflict with the timeline. There were also a couple of incongruous actions of the characters- leading one to believe that C.H. is going to arrive at her predetermined resolution, no matter how inelegant or contrived.
I really wish C.H. had done something like Orson Scott Card. During his 8 book series, he recruited a handful of avid fans to comb over drafts of upcoming books for plot holes.
Taken as a stand alone book, I really enjoyed it. But it isn't a stand alone, and we all know these characters, so when they do out of character things or we find out they've been doing things that don't fit the timeline... the magic is lost.
And now, MAJOR SPOILERS:
Like other reviewers have pointed out, we find out that Niall and Eric have been in contact all along... and that just isn't possible. Goes against the timeline. I guess we're meant to understand (among other reasons, I'm sure) that Eric has had motives all along and is no better than Bill. I'm okay with C.H. tearing down some of what we know about Eric if that's the way she wants to go, but at least let it make sense.
Then there is Eric tearing into her neck after the major fight scene. What? Now Eric is manhandling Sookie? Can that be explained away by the bond break? Or maybe the heat of the moment? No, I just don't buy it. Eric has almost always worn kid gloves when it comes to Sookie. Yes, he has put her in danger before, but that's the world he lives in. Yes, they've had rough sex, but that has always been consensual and doesn't count. And yes, he has deceived her, which is wrong, but it has never been to injure her. If Eric isn't "the one," so be it. There are plenty of reasons for the Sookie/Eric relationship to fall apart, but revising his character, turning him into something readers don't recognize isn't necessary.
Then there's the betrothal to the Queen of Oklahoma that he can't undo. I'd be okay with this if it weren't for all the other slams against Eric, inciting us to believe that Eric will never be honest with Sookie and that until now, we haven't seen his true colors. This betrothal reeks of "it can never be," bc Eric will never put Sookie first, just like everyone else (except maybe Sam, of course). Does that mean that everything we've learned about these characters up til now has been wrong?
I will be sorry if C.H.'s ultimate message suggests that one should go with the easy, safe choice even if there isn't that attraction- the lesson being: this (drama, heartache, etc.)is what happens when you DON'T settle. (And btw, I like Sam).
1,146 of 1,217 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
I won't offer a synopsis of the book since others have done so. This book is much better than the previous two or three books; however, the continuity problems get in the way of really enjoying the book. At one point, I put it down and was disgusted with myself when I picked the book back up. If Charlaine Harris does not respect her audience and reread her own books before she writes a new one, why should I keep reading her books as she changes events that could not have possibly happened the way she says (in the most recent books) it happened?
One of the main issues with the continuity problems is the enlightening details regarding past events. If you have not read the book yet, I suggest you stop reading now because there will be spoilers. When Sookie is finally able to talk to Claude and Dermot, they tell her that Eric and Niall had had business dealings for quite some time and that Eric had kept Niall informed about Sookie and her goings on. First, Niall learns from Eric Sookie's special talent. Secondly, Eric tells Niall that Sookie is "withering," and Niall sends Claudine to help her. As for the first issue: Eric did not learn that Sookie was part fae until book 7, "All Together Dead." He was genuinely surprised when he found out. Granted, he may have had business dealings with Niall before learning of Sookie's heritage, but why would he talk about Sookie to Niall before he learned that she was part fairy? The second issue cannot be so easily disregarded. Eric tells Niall that Sookie is not doing well, and Niall sends Claudine. Claudine does not show up until book 4, "Dead to the World." Eric did not know who he was in that book; how in the world would he know who Sookie was (or Niall, for that matter) to tell Niall that Sookie was "withering"? Besides that, he shouldn't have even known that she was part fae at that point. I have overlooked many of the continuity problems in Ms. Harris' books, but this insults my intelligence. She obviously does not care enough about this series or her readers to do some research (or even remember what she had previously written) for the books she writes. She is changing her own history. Reviewers from other books of hers in this series have suggested that she is focused on the money, and I now agree. I won't even go into the re-telling of Terry Bellefleur and his relationship with Eric. It was completely pointless. (I also have to say shame on the people who edit her book: there are missing periods and verb tenses constantly shift.)
Outside of continuity problems, I still could not completely enjoy this book. The breaking of the blood bond is anti-climatic, and it is obvious that Eric is being phased out, and Sam phased in (I won't even talk about Bill-he is obviously a red herring to create conflict). I understand that she is trying to set up the ending of the series and needs to start putting Sookie's permanent love interest in the forefront, but does she have to be so obvious about it? Can't she use some literary techniques that add some mystery to it? Apparently not. I have heard that Ms. Harris is ready to move on and end the series. I personally think it is a good decision. There is no more heart or magic to this series.
I know that there will be some people unhappy about my comments and, to be honest, I am not happy about having them. I loved this series up until the 7th book, but it has gone downhill since then. I do understand that there is only so much that can be done in a series this long. However, Ms. Harris signed a contract for 13 books yearly, and so if she could not write them with heart, she should have given up a few books ago and returned some of the publisher's money. At this point, it feels like money is all she cares about. I understand that she is tired of Sookie, but she should at least appreciate the people who helped buy her house and put her kids through college--the reader.
148 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
I am truly disappointed in this entry in the Sookie Stackhouse collection. One major plot point is answered, but in an unsatisfactory way. The tone of the book was morose. Sookie is practically comatose in her behavior and attitude, not the firecracker we've come to know and love. The author seems to be showing that she is resigned to being a doormat for other "supes"; but she walks through this book with little emotion, even when big things happen.
For some reason, the same person keeps on trying to **Spoiler Alert** kill her in a half dozen ways throughout the book. This does not forward the story at all. Gang of thugs here, gang of thugs there, even one of her multiple escapes which is supposed to be exciting is very disjointed and bizarre. Charlaine Harris's usual style is to have a one or possibly two major incidents when someone is out to get Sookie with minor incidents to back up and question motives. This one is very overt and feels like the author made no attempt to integrate these incidents into what was going on. We know the attacker, we know what and why they are doing it, where is the mystery?
I was astounded that a major, major thing between Sookie and Eric is treated as an afterthought. Something that would, in the other books, have created all kinds of feelings and expression fall flat at a pancake. We've been building it up about for 10 books, but oh well, let's talk about it lamely over a coke and a True Blood and be interrupted within a few lines. They could have been discussing whose turn it was to take out the garbage. **Spolier Alert End**
I couldn't find one happy moment in this book. Not one. Sad and dreary is the order of the day.
207 of 231 people found the following review helpful
Have you ever noticed that every time an enemy of Sookie Stackhouse bites the dust, another is waiting in the wings to make her life miserable? If you think about it, our girl has got a lot of carnage in her wake: from Lorena... to the vamp who killed Hadley... on to Andre and Debbie and Appius Livius. But you cut off the head of one beast and another grows in its place. Our beast du jour for Dead Reckoning is our old pal Victor. He is making life more and more miserable for Eric, and he's an ever-present threat to Sookie.
And he's not the only one. Someone has firebombed Merlotte's; some drugged out thugs are sent to snatch Sookie; and that's just the beginning! Sookie has to figure out who is targeting her, while helping Eric come up with a plan to get out from under Victor.
Emotions are running high. There's a schism between Eric and Pam, and Sookie knows she has something to do with it. (The basis of their discord, when it's finally revealed, is real kick to the gut!) At the same time, Pam is trying to gain permission to create her first vampire child. And there are major developments in the blood-bond issue between Eric and Sookie.
Sookie is coming to see how much she has changed since the supes have come into her life. Much of what she's done has been necessary to her own survival, but she's not sure she likes who she's become. Things are strained between her and Eric. I've been Team-Eric for as long as I can remember, but the cracks are forming. That's an understatement, really. We see what can easily be the mechanism to separate them once and for all. But things are left unresolved. I just wish Harris would just rip the band-aid off already. I've softened towards Bill, though I can't see the two of them ever reconciling --and we even have a surprise appearance from another potential suitor. But when all is said and done, I feel like we're just getting more groundwork laid for Sam as an eventual HEA. Sure, he's got a girlfriend here, but he is now firmly ensconced as Sookie's best friend. I feel like it's just a hop, skip and jump from becoming something more.
I can't wrap up without acknowledging that Sookie makes some great new discoveries about her family history. And we finally know where her telepathy comes from. (A fun surprise, I thought.) We have resolution on the main story arc, but the relationship issues are left hanging in a most frustrating way. I just didn't feel like the book was as cohesive as some of the ones that came before it. The best books in the series were obvious in what they were about: whether it was the vampire summit, the evil witches or what-have-you. The weaker ones tend to meander from event to event, or perhaps more accurately... from disaster to disaster, in Sookie's life. Almost 4 stars.
69 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2011
I've come to terms with Charliane Harris stating there would be no Sookie and Eric for eternity, but this book was just awful. The characters spent the entire book being angry at everything under the sun. The climax was, well anti-climatic, and I left with an overal distaste for the entire thing. This entire book felt like an afterthought, one that could have been condensed quite easily into 50 pages or less in another. I found that I had to force myself to not skip ahead and find the relevant parts to the story. All the characters seem to have undergone profound personality changes that just didn't seem right or with the spirit of the previous novels. All the little side things being hinted at seem to be much, much more captivating and promising for the next book. Thumbs all the way down for this one....(this is only the second time I've ever absolutely hated a book in my life, across any genre!)
103 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2011
Because it surely seems like Ms Harris took a vacation. While one of the main reasons I love this series so much is the frank, pointedly simple but poignant writing style of Charlaine Harris, it was jut not there in this book. The writing style is completely different, our sweet but strong Southern Christian Belle suddenly became a wine swilling, trucker mouthed, fluff ball more concerned about her hair and her clothes then she is her moral values. She used to care about killing people. She used to mourn killing people. At one point she puts Kill Victor on her To do list. She now looks forward to it with little regret. Eric, where was Eric?? He actually stoops so low as to fist fight with his beloved and most devoted child, Pam, and destroys Sookies kitchen. THEN shows up with a toaster as repayment? UGH, the real Eric would never have hit Pam, ever, or vice versa. And Bill, southern gentleman Bill actually tells Sookie her breasts should have won the Miss America Tit Competition. Seriously? Where is this coming from? Alcide just popping up in Sookies bed thinking she was going to sleep with him? He just laughs, "yeah that was stupid of me" and leaves. This is just True Blood Raunch, and not in a good way. I felt like I was reading a screenplay version of a True Blood script. Especially with all the first name talk. Everything was Sookie this, Sam that, Eric this, Pam that. You'd think when only 2 people are conversing, that there would be no need to mention the name of the person they are addressing. Right?
I think this book and the last book were a total screw you to Alan Ball and True Blood. I think the plot twists on the TV show are just too much, too convoluted and stray too far from the world we Sookie readers love. The Appius, the maker, story line of Dead in the Family and the origins of Sookies Telepathy among other things in this book are a BIG FU to the True Blood establishment. During the TV show Pam made a comment in one of the seasons...."are you getting what I am putting down." I totally remember that line form the show because I could not believe it had been written for Pam, prim, proper <and British> kick butt and ask questions later Pam. Well, much to my chagrin, there is was in this book, Pam actually saying those very words. I knew something was amiss. I had to put the book down and walk away for a while so that I could view it with the eyes of someone who just might be pissed off at what other writers are doing to her beloved characters.
There are so many errors in this book, some major storyline errors carried on from past books but even within the book itself. We learn in the beginning of this book that saying Thank you to a fairy is a HUGE no-no. Thank you Mercy Thompson. Then at the end of this book when Bellanos, clearly one of the fae, re-wards her home, she thanks him, not one but twice. WTH? Then the obvious overlook of Eric's knowledge of Sookies fae heritage. The trite letter from Gran neatly wrapping up many of Sookies questions about how or why her grandmother strayed. Erics obvious carless attitude about the sex between Appius and his "brother" in this book when last book he was VERY concerned about sex with the maker, so much that it was stressing his bond with Sookie, his worry that Appius would request it from him as well. But this book his attitude is yeah it's maker sex, it's bound to happen. It's insulting, truly insulting.
I have read each of these books at least 10 times and Sookie has been one of my favorite series characters but this book was just plain terrible. I struggled to finish it. At times I was screaming at my husband about the discrepencies, the foul language, the lack of love, the terrible writing. It's like she just did not care about this book, at all. I felt like it was a season of True Blood Lite. Please, Ms Harris, don't do this to the last 2 books. We who read your work know that the show stinks, it's a parody of the original. It's OK. We want the REAL Sookie to stand up and take her bow, not go out like this.
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2011
This book was so disappointing. There was too much going on. It seemed like a half assed rough draft. The entire time I was reading it, it felt like an author with major ADD was writing it and timelines weren't matching up like previous posters have mentioned. The author spent all this time building her characters up only to tear them down and go in a different direction. Instead of filling this book with drawn out drama, Ms. Harris should have put the "mystery" back into the Southern Vampire Mysteries. It definitely seems like the Sookie/Eric relationship is coming to an end. The part with Alcide was idiotic. She ruins the friendship Sookie has with Amelia. She pretty much isolates the main character and makes the book miserable. It seemed like the author was giving every character a shout out even if it didn't make sense to put them in the story. The way she is so against fanfiction, I don't think she likes the True Blood series at all. Actors and directors are stealing her limelight and taking the stories in a different direction. I don't want to be too hard on her because I'm sure recent events in the author's life(her mother passed away in Sept.)have distracted her. I think she is tired of this series. I am glad it will be coming to an end. No point in beating a dead horse. There were some bright points in the book (Bubba is back!) I will finish reading the series and I hope that the last two books can bring back the characteristics that we loved about the previous books.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
To begin: I am a VERY LOYAL Sookie fan. I have followed this series faithfully through my teenage years and into adulthood, squealed at the release of each book, etc.
But this book was a slap in the face to the fans of Sookie's world. I dislike saying this immensely. The quality of the previous two books had declined, but I still disagreed with the ultra-negative reviews of those books because there were still glimmers of the early series that I had fallen in love with.
I think the main problem with this book--even more than the continuity errors that many other reviews have mentioned, which I would say is actually the third largest problem--is that Harris is miming her characters now. She's not listening to them, writing their actions as THEY WOULD ACT, but rather just copying down what is most convenient. It felt like she just wanted to get to the end of the book she was writing than that she listened to her characters.
Case in point:The extremely prim, quietly dignified Bill (remember, early on in the series, his telling her that he preferred when women wore slips, that women in today's society had become less ladylike?) telling Sookie she'd win America's Best Tit competition if there ever were one? My mouth dropped open. Eric--who always acts in what he believes to be Sookie's best interest and who tries to shield her from harm or even the idea of harm--biting her and letting her feel the pain of it? (And dont' get me started on the too-heavy-handed Sookie narration directly after this in which she says she can feel this is a turning point in their relationship! And I disagreed also with Eric's accusing her of hypocrisy--yes, she was being hypocritical, but Eric is used to Sookie's moralizing and should not have expected her to rejoice after a battle. Hasn't he learned anything from the myriad past battles they've been through together?) Eric's mannerisms and speech vacillating between ultra-modern and archaic with very little continuity. The moralizing Sookie plotting an assassination (with many fewer reservations than I'd expect from our Sookie of old)? The same, moralizing Sookie not seeming to feel anything beyond a vague disgust at the gruesome death of Sandra Pelt at the end (even if Sandra was out to get her...)--and here we have the new uncaring Sookie plus a convenient plot device to get rid of the body. Yay! Sookie acts lethargic instead of fiery. The honorable Alcide has become a chauvinist and shown up naked in Sookie's bed!! THESE ARE NOT THE CHARACTERS I FELL IN LOVE WITH!!!
The second largest problem in the book is that Harris shied away from elaborating on ANY type of conflict; whenever any could arise she snuffed it out at the soonest opportunity. So Sookie and Eric are having an extremely significant discussion of the future of their relationship? Let's cut that off with a different conversation. Bill telling Sookie what she means to him and that he doesn't love Judith, while Judith is spying in the woods? Instead of creating a conflict between Judith and Sookie which could be interesting, let's just have Judith come out of the bushes and say she can't deal with that, and exit stage left. So Sam drives directly to Claude's workplace to confront him abruptly about "encouraging" Sookie's fae side(and BTW, Whoa! where did that come from?!), Claude says that we'll all talk about this tomorrow, and then the book ends and we never do. Eric is somehow betrothed to the Queen of Oklahoma and may have to give Sookie up? Let's end the book without finding out on what side of the fence Eric falls regarding the marriage. So Pam has fallen in love with someone never before mentioned in the books (BIG DEAL!)? Let's show the woman once without any character-revealing information, then kill her off, off-stage, and avenge her without ever having an interaction between Sookie and Pam about Pam's feelings of regret or vindication (granted, we get one look at Pam depressed in a corner and Sookie thinks Pam wouldn't appreciate comfort. Yay for the reader). So Cataliades is being chased by shadowy (literally) beings and we don't know why, and Sookie literally watches him run for his life away from them across her lawn and she just sort of vaguely hopes he'll be okay? Really? REALLY? So Sookie encounters some sort of sociopathic child-serial-killer as a teacher at an elementary school, tells the woman to get help, and then just leaves, and we never hear anything about it again? So we have yet another body at the end of the book of which to dispose, Sookie just feeds the body into some sort of fairy garbage disposal and we never have to worry about consequences?
And of course, we have the continuity errors. But you can read about that in almost any one of the reviews on here.
There were just so many points in the book at which I had to wonder who had written it. I am very depressed about this; I want to know what happens to Sookie and the other characters I love, and I don't want the end of the series to feel as if the author just wanted to get it over with, which this book did.
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2011
I agree with the other reviewers regarding the continuity issues with this book, but more than that, it didn't even seem like it was written by the same person. The first person narrative is something I always enjoyed about the Sookie novels, but this one just didn't even seem like it was Sookie speaking. It was empty and bland. The writing was like a reiteration of a grocery list.
As a side note, it was interesting to see Ms. Harris' makeover on the back cover. It is nice to redo your book photo, but when more thought went into the photo than the actual writing, it is extremely sad. I am also extremely sad and angry that I had to pay full price for this book. As I said in the title of the review, I will never buy another. Ms. Harris, you have lost your characters and their voices.
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
...for the end that is, and right now I could not tell you where that is going to be. While this book wraps up a few loose ends I am left with more questions than answers. I don't know what it is about Sookie that irritates me in this book, maybe it is the fact that she is never satisfied and doesn't know what she wants, she seems a little on the bipolar side. I felt trapped in Sookie's anxiety riddled brain and found myself wanting out. I love Eric's character and I love Bill's character but at this point I am seriously wishing a faerie prince would step out of a portal and carry her away just so she could have some closure. Sookie just needs to accept the fact that even though she wants more than anything to just be human she's not...plain and simple. She hasn't embraced who she is and accepted it yet...So...if you are a fan then I think this is a must read, but if you are a fan, try to resist the urge to beat your head against the wall because you have to wait another year to see if she can figure this out.