Book Review: Dead Ever After

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Author: Charlaine Harris
ISBN: 978-0-575-09662-2
RRP: $29.99

The latest, and last, in the Sookie Stackhouse series was released early in May to a huge outpouring of dismay and disappointment across the internet. Spoilers popped up everywhere and I just knew I had to get my hands on it soon or I would not be able to hold myself back from finding out about the book. My curious nature, and my slight compulsiveness when it comes to books, meant that I had to read the last book. I had to know how it ended and I really needed to find out for myself. I didn’t want to head out into the webiverse to find out how it ended, I didn’t want to be influenced by all of the disappointment. I studiously avoided places I knew would be rife with spoilers but my curiousity was piqued and I couldn’t help but question a fellow blogger vaguely, until I started skirting spoilerific questions and knew I had to exercise restraint before I ruined it for myself.

I have been a fan of the Stackhouse novels since the early days, I love the early books. I fell in love with True Blood when it started on Foxtel, and it wasn’t until after I started watching the show that I was introduced to the books. I still love the Sookieverse, in both incarnations, but not as much as the early days.

This is why I knew the minute this book arrived on my TBR pile it was the next one up, no putting it in the pile – this one went straight to the top. I went in with low expectations but knowing I had to read it. Unfortunately I wasn’t in such a rush to write the review, though I wish I had been. Now that I have read the book and come to my own conclusions I could quite easily go check out all the other opinions out there, but until I write this review I am going to steer clear.

Dead Ever After is the 13th Sookie Stackhouse novel, quite a good number to end on considering the subject matter. So, if you have read the series from its inception you are familiar with the Sookieverse. You know the surroundings and you know the characters. I have read the entire series, as well as watching the TV Show, so I am familiar but the two incarnations have taken such different paths that I do find myself confused at times.

dead ever after

This novel is written in the first person by Sookie but we also have third person narration interspersed so that we get a picture of what’s going on with different characters and storylines that will all merge later on. Dead Ever After brings back many characters from earlier in the series so that all of the loose ends are nicely tied up, they all move on to their own ever afters and we are left with few questions about what comes next.

I am a little stuck on how to write this without spoilers but still say all the things I want to say. I think it’s relevant to reference the dedication in the front of this book where Harris says that throughout the years there has been much feedback from loyal fans and now that it’s time to draw the series to a close there is no way to keep all of the fans happy so she went with the way she always saw the series ending.

Dead Ever After finds Sookie in the deepest human trouble she’s been in throughout all her adventures when she is arrested for murder. This is how we get all of the early players back to Bon Temps, they all join forces to try and prove Sookie’s innocence and clear her name.

There is a lot going on in this book, it isn’t all Sookie’s arrest and subsequent investigation to clear her name so it is very busy and in the interest of remaining spoilerless I don’t know what I should tell you and what I shouldn’t. The fact that there’s so much going on means it’s not so much that nothing was happening. It was more a case of it was too hectic and almost haphazard before needing to all be pulled in and tied up to leave us with all the answers in the last third of the book.

I don’t agree with the ending, but I can see how the writing was on the wall. Not necessarily in what was actually going on but more what wasn’t, what was sort of mentioned about Sookie’s general dreams for her future. The more I think about this the more it seems like even Harris struggled a little with how to make it end like that, how to make something that seemed so unlikely actually come to pass. Much as I understand the why and can see how it’s fitting I am less than thrilled with the how. The execution was rushed and a little lazy and it didn’t really fit with how I thought any of the characters would behave.

I think this series has lost a lot of momentum and it is definitely time Harris tied up the story and we said goodby to Bon Temps. What began for me as a must read passionate love affair has slowly faded to a need to know but long suffering marriage, I can’t walk out on the series but I’m feeling less of the love with each new book.

Ever since the release of the previous volume I have wanted to get my hands on this, wanted to know how it would all end and eagerly anticipated reading it; thinking I would love it. A final triumphant farewell to the series was expected, until the direct lead up to release and all the spoilers and disappointment. I was turned off a little but still knew that I had to read it and make up my own mind. I went in with very low expectations and I’m not sure if that affected my personal outcomes.

My overall feeling is that I didn’t hate it, I wasn’t really disappointed in the ending (possibly because I was lead to believe I would quite likely hate it) but I wasn’t thrilled. This wasn’t a must read so glad I raced to it book. This was a fairly average close to a series that has had it’s time in the limelight. Everybody has moved off into the closest thing they could possibly get to a Happily Ever After. I am glad that I read it, I am glad my collection is complete but I am not sure it will become one of those books that I would love to re-read.

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