Monday, May 20, 2013

#BookReview: 'Dead Ever After' by Charlaine Harris (spoilers)

Thank you, Charlaine Harris, for the years of enjoyment your Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries has given me. I absolutely adore this series, a wild 13-part paranormal ride. Dead Until Dark was one of the books that first drew me into the paranormal romance genre, even though it isn't strictly speaking a romance series.

I got this book at the library. 
I've always wanted it to be that, though. I wanted a continuous romantic arc from the first book through the last, with Bill and Sookie rediscovering and rekindling their love for one another. I imagined that ending the series without Bill and Sookie being together would be like ending the Twilight Saga with Bella running off with Mike.

(I've never liked book-Eric.)

However, Harris had a different story arc in mind, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I truly enjoyed reading how it played out. At the moment when Sam and Sookie discovered their mutual attraction, I was rooting for them. I was satisfied with the ending, despite any preconceived notions I had before I started reading.

It was a pleasure to read about consummate ladies' man Jason Stackhouse finally settling down and getting married. It was deeply satisfying that some long-term villains finally got their comeuppance. The book doesn't break any new thematic ground for this series, and in this case that was a comfort, since Harris was wrapping the series up. As usual, there's a murder, and Sookie's life is in almost-constant danger. As usual, she gets horribly injured.

Southern Vampire Mysteries Gifts at Cafe Press

As usual, she does the thing that makes her annoying as a narrator: gets jealous of and/or slut-shames any other female character who crosses her radar. To my everlasting shame, I didn't take much notice of this until I read ACrackedMoon's "Meet Charlaine Harris: Racist, Misogynist, Talentless." I don't agree with everything in that post, and I certainly wouldn't call Harris "talentless," but once Sookie's slut-shaming tendencies have been seen, they can't be unseen.

Sookie isn't a perfect character, and she remains a magnet for paranormal troubles of all kinds (and often a damsel in distress), but after 13 books and now knowing her full story, I'm glad I stuck with Sookie. I don't ask for perfection. I ask for a good story, well told. Charlaine Harris delivered.

I'm really going to miss this series. I'd like to know if Sookie and Sam ever get married, or if they decide to just be friends with benefits. I'd like to know if Bill ever finds someone, and if Eric really spends the next 200 years with Freyda. I'm sure Pam has many fascinating adventures as the new sheriff of Area 5 - and we never really got to see Karin in action.

Fortunately, we still have at least one more season of True Blood to look forward to. I won't lie - I'm hoping for a lot of exploration of the budding Pam-Tara romance.

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Shoshanah said...

I few years back I started reading these books, and read everything that was out then. Of course, 3 or 4 more books have been published since, and I've yet to read them. But with this series finally ending, it might be time to pick it back up.

Unknown said...

i am reading this now! i'll have to come back and read your review when i'm done :)

Erin O'Riordan said...

Shoshanah, I certainly felt compelled to stick with this series. I feel very satisfied with the story arc overall.

Jen, I'll be anxious to know what you thought about it!

~Anchored In Christ~ said...

Have you tried goodbooks and booksneeze for free books and in return you have to do reviews. It's fun. :D

Erin O'Riordan said...

Good to know, Owler. I typically get my fill of free books through Amazon Vine - I've got Eve Ensler's memoir coming in the mail next week - but you never know. Maybe I can use it to find more reviewers for my writings.