Book Review: Dead Ever After

Dead Ever After
BY: Charlaine Harris
PUBLISHED BY: Ace Books, New York
ISBN: 978-1-937007-88-1
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

And so we come to the end of the Sookie Stackhouse saga, as Sookie’s relationship with Eric Northman comes to an end as well. Due to his late makers’ meddling, the hunky vampire Viking is now engaged to Freyda, the Vampire Queen of Oklahoma. He is forced to end his “marriage” to Sookie by his boss, Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Nevada, Louisiana and Arkansas, who after witnessing the dissolution ceremony in Eric’s office at his bar Fangtasia, forbids her to ever come to the bar again. You’d think he’d show a little more gratitude to the person who saved him from being killed by his predecessor’s bodyguard. But as they say on The Sopranos, “It’s just business, nothing personal.”

As if that weren’t enough, Sookie’s boss Sam Merlotte has been acting weird since she brought him back to life in the previous book, using her late grandmother’s gift from her fairy lover. You’d think that he would show a little more gratitude too, since Sookie could have used the cluviel dor to save her relationship with Eric, which is what the big, blond brute expected her to do. But she didn’t, which is why Eric is pissed at her, which may be why he didn’t try too hard to get out of his arranged marriage with Freyda. Now Sam is acting spooked whenever she’s near, and her former lover is being aloof, when he’s not visiting her late at night in her bedroom to assure her of his undying (?) love despite the unpleasantness of his circumstances. He also leaves one of his “children” to guard her, a beautiful blonde vampire known as Karin the Slaughterer, whose presence turns out to be useful when one of Sookie’s former friends turns up dead behind Sam’s bar and Sookie needs a witness to prove she was at home that night.

I forgot to mention that three very unpleasant men are gunning for Sookie; one of them is Copley Carmichael, a ruthless businessman from New Orleans who is also the father of one of Sookie’s friends, Amelia Broadway, aspiring witch. Seems he made a deal with the devil that included a cluviel dor, but the devil wasn’t able to steal Sookie’s, which was the only one left in the world, before she used it to restore Sam. Now Carmichael blames her for depriving him of what he considers his. And he’s not the only one; the not-so-good Reverend Steve Newland, former head of the Fellowship of the Sun, has joined forces with Johan Glassport, a crooked lawyer who survived the debacle at the vampire conclave at Rhodes. They’re both working for a third party who Sookie used to be close to; in fact, they’re related by blood. It looks as if all of Sookie’s bats have come home to roost, and they’re all pooping on her head at the same time.

Charlaine Harris has pulled out all the stops for this one, bringing in everybody Sookie has ever known in the last twelve books, living or dead, for a guest appearance. Even Quinn the were tiger, one of my personal faves, as well as Alcide Herveaux the werewolf, make cameo appearances. But neither of them turns out to be relevant to the story, which is about clearing Sookie’s name of murder. Just when you think the danger is over, poor Sookie is kidnapped by two out of three of the villains who are after her, and finds out the hard way that blood isn’t always thicker than water.

But things turn out all right in the end, though not as smoothly as Sookie would have liked. She’s still basically a decent human being, despite having been intimate with two vampire males, consorting with witches and fairies, and running with werewolves, not to mention taming a were tiger. She’s learned to kill in her own defense, as well as in defense of others, but she hates to do it. And she feels every death as a stain on her Christian soul. But even though Sookie believes she’s not a very good Christian, I think she’s a lot closer to Christ’s teachings than the Reverend Newland, who uses the scriptures to justify all the terrible things he’s done. Killing vampires and the people who consort with them doesn’t look like God’s work to me, especially when the aforementioned vampires have never done anything to harm you personally. Mind you, there have been a lot of vampires in Sookie’s world that were less than benevolent, and who truly deserved their deaths at human hands. Newland’s mistake was not being able to tell the difference between them. His first mistake, I mean; his second one was trusting the person who hired him and Glassport to frame Sookie for murder. But then, Sookie made the mistake of trusting him first.

All in all, I found this a satisfying conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse series, and I was sorry to see it end. I can only hope that we see Sookie again in the form of guest appearances in whatever anthology Ms. Harris writes for in the future. I can personally recommend “Death’s Excellent Vacation”, an anthology about vacations in which Sookie takes a trip to Mississippi with Pam in “Two Blondes”. “Many Bloody Returns”, “Home Improvement: Undead Edition”, and “An Apple for the Creature” are still on my Science Fiction Book Club Wish List. Check your local bookstore or for them, if you still feel the need for a little touch of Sookie in the night. Oh, and don’t forget HBO’s “True Blood” series, though personally I think that show is getting close to jumping the shark. With all that blood in the water, I’m surprised the shark still hasn’t shown up yet.