Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review - Charlaine Harris's Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
Published by: Ace
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy

By saving Sam, Sookie has forced Eric's hand. He will go with the Queen of Oklahoma. Sookie didn't realize that this is what would happen. She just knew that seeing Sam dead she had to save him. This is Sam! Now Eric is all off being his aloof self and all Sookie wants is to talk everything through with him to see where they stand. It doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. So Sookie goes back to her life. She works at Merlotte's, though Sam is being very odd since he "came back." Then one day the last person in the world she would have expected walks through the door. Arlene shows up. Arlene who has been in prison awaiting trial because of the whole trying to kill Sookie with the aim of crucifying her on a nice big wooden cross to make a point about what happens to those who sleep with vampires. Well, Arlene wants her job back, or at least she has been told to ask for her job back very publicly. Sookie flat out refuses her and then Arlene shows up dead. Sookie soon is the prime suspect, not because of any real evidence, but because someone wants her to suffer. All Sookie's friends and family gather round to help her clear her name. All Sookie wants is freedom and a simple life. Enough is enough.

We have come to the end of the Southern Vampires books, and some of you, myself included will be saying about time. Yet there's something poetic about ending a supernatural series on the thirteenth book, sadly a lot of the overly long series have overshot this by quite a ways. While the series has definitely had it's ups and downs, I have to say I enjoyed the ride and now I really don't know what book will fill that end of semester/start of summer gap at the beginning of May. That is why I picked up Dead Until Dark ten years ago. It was 2003 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had ended and I had no supernatural outlet. The third book in the series, Club Dead had come out, and this was still when they were released in paperback, so Charlaine wasn't a household name. To try to drum up readers Charlaine's publishers put an ad in the Buffy magazine, and, well, I was an easy sell.

I remember being on a road trip to Pennsylvania, ironically for a Buffy convention, and I actually longed for each night when I could crawl into bed to pick up my book. I would read it any chance I got, even curled up on my friend's floor on my uncomfortable air mattress. I didn't want the book to end, but when it did and as I was home again I went straight out to Barnes and Noble and bought the next two in the series. Since then, every year, round about May I've gotten to hang out with Sookie, and she has become a bit of a friend... one who I believe deserved her happily ever after.

A few weeks before Dead Ever After came out the ending was apparently leaked by some fan in Germany. Much like the Doctor Who leak of more recent history, this caused a furor online. The reason, because the Eric fanbase didn't like that Sookie ended up with Sam. You know what I have to say to that? Suck it haters, I loved the ending. I have been rooting for Sookie and Sam since DAY ONE! Bill was always blah, Eric, well, he's too much the sexy undead vampire viking, and while yes, very sexy, especially as played by Alexander Skarsgård on True Blood (his apparently leaving the show is hurting Eric fans as well right now), well, you don't get a nice happily ever after with an vampire do you? Yes, I'm looking at you Twilight! That's not how things work, even in a made up land with fairies. Sookie got what she deserved and needed. She lived a sheltered half-life before the supes, the supes made her come out of her shell and become herself. The scene in the courthouse shows how far she's come. Real people love her and support her. Sookie is no longer a freak of nature, but just one of the many supernatural and magical things that exist in the ever expanding world Charlaine has built. Her time with the supes has taught her to control her "gift" and given her love and happiness... sure death and destruction too... but Eric's final gift of protection means that she now has a valid chance at her happy ending.

And you know what? Sookie just hanging around her house, doing laundry and cooking... well, there's something a little magical in that to me. I know I might sound a little crazy... but I admire the simple life that Sookie has tried to hang onto despite all that has happened. I'm glad she gets this life, I'd kind of like that life, supes aside. Because, let's face it, the vampire politics can get a little overwhelming. Thankfully, Dead Ever After was almost bereft of vampire politics, with Eric and his new Queen's machinations going on behind the scenes. Instead we get human threats. Though the glimpse of "the" Devil and his creating soullessness was really intriguing to me, I was happy that we stuck to the more human threat. Also by seeing some of the action through the eyes of these evil men, well... it gave a greater sense of peril then some of the other books. Sure, there was more then just humans behind it in the end... but it showed that we don't need something supernatural to show the evilness of man. That actually goes back to the first book. The Big Bad was human. So I guess we've come full circle. Sookie may have changed, but she has changed for the better. Though I can't wait to read the little "what happened next" book that is slated for this fall. Sure it might be more like the Sookie Companion... but I still need to know!


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