Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Dead Ever After’ brings Sookie Stackhouse full circle



There is going to be a lot of griping about this final installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

I can hear it already – and most of it is being done by Eric Northman fans.

Personally, I loved the ending of the series. It was the best installment in a good five books or so – at least for me.

When readers were introduced to Sookie Stackhouse, she was a simple individual with a simple job and simple aspirations. She just happened to be able to read minds.

When Sookie met her first vampire, she was mesmerized by him – and quickly fell in love with neighbor Bill Compton.

That relationship (obviously) didn’t last, and through the years Sookie flirted with Alcided, romped with Quinn and tried to make things work with Eric. None of those relationships seemed to fit, though.

‘Dead Ever After’ reintroduces a lot of faces from the series’ past – and most of them were happy cameos. I was glad to see Quinn again – even though the ending to his relationship with Sookie was so pathetic.

I was glad to see Amelia and Bob -- and a hint at their happily ever after.
Steve Newlin is always a hoot – and his reaction to Claude outing himself had me laughing out loud.

Alcide regained some of his stature, Jason became something of a standup guy, and the supporting characters that were the town of Bon Temps actually came to Sookie’s aid (for a change).

The only character that didn’t seem to be given a happy ending was Eric – and I think that’s a fitting end for the character.

I know fans are screaming – but Charlaine Harris told us years ago that Sookie and Eric wouldn’t have a happily ever after. I don’t know why you’re surprised.

Eric is a character that is narcissistic and treated Sookie like property. He valued power and stature more than her – and in the end, power and stature are what he got. Had Sookie went with him – then she would have been woefully pathetic.

I liked Eric in the early books. I even liked the start of the Sookie and Eric romance – when he lost his memory. When Eric knew who he was, though, he was never about doing what was right for Sookie. As the books progressed, Eric became more and more proprietary, and Sookie lost that spark she had in the earlier books.

My biggest gripes with this series were the fairies taking over for a good five-book chunk. To me, that was too much. I lost interested in the story – even though I read every book. It was more like I was going through the motions.

I went into this book with a sense of relief that the series was coming to an end. It was time. I was ready. (Side note: Stephanie Plum should be put to rest right alongside Sookie)

I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the story. I was glad to see all the familiar faces – many of which were redeemed – and I was glad to see Sookie reclaim the life she always wanted but pushed aside so she could make room for Eric in her heart and bed.

At her heart, Sookie is an extraordinary woman that wants to be ordinary. She wants to hang out with her friends. She wants to have love in her life. She wants to exist – without people constantly threatening that existence.

Once Sookie’s life became all about Eric, things changed. She became all about him. All about helping him. All about how she could do what she wanted – but make sure she didn’t hurt him in the process (because his pride just couldn't handle it).

That wasn’t the Sookie I fell in love with.

I see people are complaining about the individual Sookie ends up with, but to me that was the clear path from the beginning. He really is the best fit for Sookie -- and the ending that she envisions for herself.

In the end, Harris did an admirable job putting her baby to bed. She should be glad that all the Eric fans are pitching fits and whining – that just means she did her job and created a world that people not only want to visit, but will miss.

What do you think? Did you like the final Sookie Stackhouse novel?

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