I am a devoted Sookie Stackhouse fan. I eagerly await the release of a new Sookie book each May and don’t even hesitate to fork over the money for the hardback. The latest installment in the series is Dead in the Family. I had read the negative reviews on Amazon that said it was no good, but refused to believe that a Sookie book could leave me disappointed. (Plus, the cover has Sookie and Eric hovering around a giant rose – which totally seems promising, right?) I kept the faith, but alas, I must regretfully admit…I was a bit disappointed.
The book picks up just weeks after the huge Fae War and Sookie is still healing both physically and mentally. Amelia has gone back to New Orleans, Claudine is dead, Niall is sealed up in Faery, and Jason has finally settled down with a nice girl. Claude moves in with Sookie and she begins forming a relationship with her new-found relative and fellow telepath, Hunter. Eric’s maker returns and introduces him to his new “brother” and a freshly introduced Were is murdered on Sookie’s property, where Dermot is discovered to be wandering around. Despite all that, my biggest gripe is that I was left feeling like absolutely nothing happened.
I need to preface the impending rant by saying that I truly love Charlaine Harris and the Sookie Stackhouse series. I sheepishly admit to having read the entire series twice, actually I’ve read a few of the books three times, but this one will not be added to that list. What didn’t I like? Well, Eric and Sookie are officially a couple right from the get-go. I was a bit taken aback by this since apparently I missed the part where their relationship began? (No, I didn’t miss it. It just didn’t happen.) I have wanted them to be together for some time now, so why should this rather abrupt departure be an issue with me? Well, for one, I was unpleasantly surprised to find them acting like an old married couple (i.e. Sookie picking up Eric’s wet towels off the bathroom floor. Really? Ok, who am I kidding, I’d probably pick up Eric’s towels too, but moving on…), not to mention the fact that there is practically no passion between them at all. Quite frankly, if their relationship isn’t going to include goodies like those found in Dead to the World, then why even bother? And we still don’t get much insight regarding whether Sookie’s feelings for Eric (and vice versa) are genuine or simply a result of the blood bond.
And then there is poor Bill, who practically died during the Fae War while saving Sookie, and who is still in dire straights for the most part of this book. Even though Bill has dropped the ball numerous times throughout this series, he still holds a special place in my heart and I feel he was done a terrible disservice in this book. Although some might argue that there was a happy ending for him at the end, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for.
Like I said before, the biggest disappointment for me is that nothing really happens in this book. I know, technically something happens when Eric’s maker returns, accompanied by his psychotic son; and technically things happen when a few people get murdered by said son, but I just really found it rather dull compared to the previous books. Also, the storyline with Eric’s maker was so similar to what happened in True Blood last year, I couldn’t help but wonder if Harris had gotten the idea from the show.
On the bright side, the fact that Eric is now free holds a lot of potential for future drama and I am glad that they are together now. I haven’t given up hope, it will take a lot more than one dull book to quell my love for these characters.