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on 25 February 2015
*Spoilers*
This is the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I had read an excerpt of this book in ‘Tempest Rising’ which had prompted me to purchase the box set when I saw the offer. Now I realise that this is the best book so far and enjoyed it far more than the last three. For me, I liked that Bill was off on his travels and we could see Sookie without all the angst that surrounds them both; we also saw the flickerings of more than one plot being woven together within the book which made it feel more challenging.

The book starts off on New Year’s Eve and once again Sookie is working in the bar grumbling that everyone else has stuff to do. As she is driving back home she meets a half naked vampire walking along the road – it’s Eric and he’s suffering from amnesia. After a quick chat with Pam and Co. Sookie ends up vampire sitting him and thanks to Jason, this time she’s getting paid for it. She’s such a sucker for waifs and strays, I am surprised that her house isn’t jammed full of animals needing a home, but then again this might encourage more vamps…

There was an element of sadness throughout the book. Sookie rapidly falls in love with Eric who is a ‘pure’ version of himself without his usual bravado and the power, wealth and influence that he has created as a buffer against the human world . He constantly looks to Sookie for reassurance, love and affection, so she has the upper hand. This is ideal for her, not only does she get to take care of and mother him, but she also has the benefits of being with a vampire. In fact, it’s probably the closest she’d ever get to a ‘normal’ relationship with a vampire. For Eric, he has the benefits of a relationship that is simply about love and he takes to it to such an extent that he said that he didn’t care if he ever got his memory back and that he wants to run away with her. This is what makes this book so sad, they both have this fleeting moment of what a life together could be like, but of course Sookie would never stop him from getting his memory back and an Eric with his memory would find it hard to give up all the trappings he has accumulated. To quote Nine Inch Nails, it’s something that they’ll never have.

So, what was the matter with Eric? Well, we have a new supernatural on our hands – witches! This brother and sister led group of powerful witches go around to successful businesses blackmailing the owners and threatening to curse their customers/business if they don’t get a cut of their profits and now they have arrived in Shreveport. That isn’t the only problem. Hallow, the main witch, generously said that she wanted Eric to be her love bunny and in return she wouldn’t take all of his profits. When he refused, he got cursed. Now Pam and Co. need to find the witch so she can remove the curse, while Eric who is a danger to himself, needs to keep his head down.

Now we get to learn about witches! In fact, there are witches who have power and Wiccans who are about the religion, but this new group doesn’t care which sort you are. They are on a recruiting spree and using their tried and tested business tactics to blackmail other witches to join them. Sookie discovers that there are witches closer to home and decides that she has to warn Alcide (who is back with Debbie Pelt, again). He introduces her to the Chief wolf and discovers that the second in command (who is also a witch) was missing. She turns up dead and this is just the excuse that the wolf pack needs to join the fight. Hooray!

In the meantime, Jason is missing and what with all the witchy goings on, Sookie believes that they are behind it. In trying to figure out Jason’s last movement she visits Hotshot, a village populated by were-panthers. Crystal, Jason’s latest fling lives there and initially lies to Sookie, but her Uncle Calvin turns up and she starts singing like a canary. Being of a supernatural disposition, Calvin takes a shine to Sookie and offers to protect her now that she doesn’t have a man to do so. Lovely.

Sookie, now doing her bit for supernatural relations has bought together both the wolves and vampires and everyone is up for a fight. They have devised a plan to invade the house where the witches are holed up, seize Hallow and reverse the spell on Eric. Simple. Meanwhile, Bill who is back from his travels and happens to mention that Debbie was a part of the torture team from the last book and that she had known the state he was in when she pushed Sookie into the boot of the car. This takes Alcide by surprise and he finally sees the light and publicly abjures her, meanwhile Debbie is furious. The plan is for Sookie to stay at a safe distance, but of course she ends up to her armpits in blood and gore as vampires, witches and wolves rip each other to pieces.

Sookie takes Eric back home while Pam is getting the spell reversed, but the fun doesn’t end there. They have a visitor and it’s Debbie Pelt who is not a happy camper and wants revenge. She tries to shoot Sookie, but Eric takes the bullet for her and in the moment that this distracts Debbie, Sookie shoots her dead. Afterwards, Eric gets rid of the body and car just before he gets his mind back. Once again Sookie is left alone.

It turns out that the witches weren’t behind Jason’s disappearance and Sookie has a brain wave. She and Sam go to Hotshot where Jason is being held hostage. One of Crystal’s admirers, jealous that she preferred a regular human, had taken him hostage with the intention of turning Jason into a part panther by repeatedly biting him. Pow. That was how quickly it was all resolved. In what is becoming a pattern to these books, the main plot was usually concluded four fifths of the way through and then the mini plot gains a little speed only to fizzle out with a rush as if CH wants to get it all over and done with. I don’t know why it is like this, it is not as if these books are huge tomes – a few extra pages adding more to the mini plot would have rounded out the story and it would have felt far less rushed.

Now everything is back to normal in Sookieland. It is clear that this book is far more interesting because there is more of Eric and less of Bill. His character is far more appealing and he actually has depth and doesn’t sulk, on the other hand Sookie hasn’t changed much. I hope that now as all the supernatural beings have been introduced, she is allowed to have a bit of room to grow too.
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on 14 May 2005
Sookie Stackhouse, the attractive, telepathic barmaid from Bon Temps, LA, makes her fourth appearance in "Dead To The World," which I think is the best book in the series, so far. Boyfriend Bill, a Civil War veteran and vampire, is pretty much out of the picture here. He has been sent to Peru, by the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, to continue his research for the extensive vampire data base he is building. Sookie has ambivalent feelings about her old beau. He has proved to have a cheatin' heart, along with other unfaithful body parts. This is unfortunate because Sookie thought she had found the man of her dreams. However, there seems to be an abundance of other men, all preternatural, who are very interested in getting to know our Sookie better. And it is best for her to stick with the superhumans. She can't read their minds, and doesn't need to worry about keeping their inner voices at bay.
Driving home from work early New Year's morning, (there was a huge party at Merlotte's Bar), Sookie sees a half-naked, shoeless man running down the road. When she stops to help the poor guy, she realizes it is Eric, charismatic owner of Club Fangtasia, and vampire Sheriff of Area 5, which encompasses Shreveport and Bon Temps. It appears that Eric has amnesia, and remembers nothing about his life except that he is a vampire. He doesn't even know why he is running, or where. He is only aware of his terror - a very strange state for the strong, confident warrior he has always been. We learn later from Eric's cohorts that a coven of powerful witches, who use their magic for dark purposes, are attempting to take control of all the supernaturals in Area 5 - vampires, werewolves, shifters, etc.. When Eric refused to cooperate with them, they cast a spell taking away his memory. Sookie brings Eric home to care for him, through sheer kindness. Her brother Jason interferes with her altruism, however, when Eric's second in command visits to figure out an emergency course of action. Eric must remain in hiding and Jason negotiates a whopping $35,000. babysitting fee for his sister. Sookie finds that Eric is no longer the suave, scary, business-first, head-honcho vampire that she had been accustomed to. He is now tender, sincere, attentive, romantic, protective of her and grateful for her loyalty and decency. Our heroine doesn't know what to make of this drastic change, until sparks begin to fly between the two. She then decides to go with the flow. After all, Bill has been gone a long time.
"Dead To The World's" pace is fast and the action is nonstop throughout. Jason goes missing, the evil witches are on the loose, Alcide Herveaux, the hunky werewolf (from "Club Dead"), and his pack become involved in what is to be a major battle between the forces of good and evil, new characters are introduced, and much more. Per usual Charlaine Harris fills her well written narrative with humor, suspense, and thrilling plot twists and turns. The finale is outrageously good! Terrific escapist reading. I couldn't put the novel down.
JANA
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on 18 April 2005
If you have read the first 3 books by charlaine you won't be disapointed with this one. Sookies trying to take a break from all vamps and supes, but finds eric wandering the back roads with no memory, she reluctantly agrees to mind (babysit) him, but then her brother goes missing! Bringing back old charactors, alceed and his psycho girlfreind debbie, she then gets caught up in a battle between baddie witch/weres and vamps, witchs and weres.As always the charactors are interesting and different and the story pulls you in, a real page turner
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Sookie Stackhouse is a small-town cocktail waitress in Louisiana. She is a human with the special talent of telepathy. Since the Great Revelation, when vampires announced their presence to the world, everyone's eyes have opened. Sookie's first real boyfriend, Bill Compton, came around shortly thereafter. Since vampires are dead, it is tough for Sookie to hear their thoughts. It made Bill perfect for her. Until Bill cheated on her (last book) and they broke up. Through Sookie's adventures with Bill, she learned that Vampires are not the only supernatural predator in the world. But Weres, Fairies, Shifter, and the like, still did not want their presence known to humans.
Bill is off to Peru, on assignment, for a couple of weeks. The New Year's Eve celebration finally ends. Sookie's resolutions are to not get beaten up and to stay out of trouble. (Har-de-har-har!) The night is not even over and Sookie is driving home when she spies a man running, nude, down the road as if someone or something is after him. Turns out that he has amnesia. He has no memory of why he is tunning in the nude. He does not even know his name. Sookie does, of course. It is Eric! He is still scary and sexy, but no longer cruel and sly.
A coven of powerful witches have moved into the area. They plan to take over the businesses of the vampires. The leader, Hallow, cursed Eric with amnesia, but did not expect him to vanish. The witches put a huge bounty out for information on Eric's location. Sookie has the task of keeping Eric hidden in her home, until the evil witches are dealt with. Sookie knows this is dangerous, but she is more worried about how alluring the new, nicer Eric is. At the same time, Sookie's brother, Jason has disappeared.
**** If you do not read the previous books in this series, you will find yourself wondering why Sookie is worried about a few things. This book picks up a few weeks after the last one left off. As usual, the novel begins and ends the major plot of the story. But a few juicy sub-plots are left dangling, to be continued in the next. Those on-going tid-bits are one of the wonderful things the fans of this series enjoys very much! But this book does not touch on the Sookie, Bill, and Eric triangle as much. Bill is demoted to a minor character this time around.
The author is just as witty in her writing as always. Jason, Sookie's brother, is finally being pulled into the Supernatural mess as well. Lively (no pun intended), witty, intense, and just plain fun reading. Wonderful! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 31 August 2011
I have only read all the books up to and including Dead as a Doornail and this has got to be by far the best! I enjoyed this so much particuarly what happens between Eric and Sookie. If you are thinking about getting this book out of the series and are not sure, then trust me, this will be a treat for you!
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on 31 March 2006
Having read all the other Sukie Stachouse novels I was pleased to find that this one didn't disappoint. Some people don't seem to be able to understand the attraction of Sukie to the other characters but it is her very honesty and obvious discomfort with her abilities that appeals. In this book Eric, owner of Club Dead finds himself in a bit of a spot and it is Sukie who holds out the hand of friendship. I loved the way she rationalised sex with him by hoping he wouldn't realise what they had done when his memory was restored!
Protecting Eric, despite the fact they have never realkly been friends, allows Sookie a different outlook on the life of the undead. The combining of the various factions of undead, were and shifter to rid the themselves of a very real threat, allows the return of the attractive werewolf who helped Sookie find and rescue vampire Bill. I hope we see more of him in future Stackhouse outings!
Overall this was a riveting read and I fro one can't waut for the next lighthearted installment of watching Sookie struggle to keep her humanity.
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on 12 December 2011
Having read all of the books Charlaine Harris has released following Sookie Stackhouse, the fourth book is by far my favourite. The book was completely addictive - I finished it in a little over two days as I couldn't put it down.
It begins with Sookie, the protagonist, driving home from her work at the bar, on New Years Day at 2am. As she gets close to her home, she sees a man running down the road in just his jeans. She soon realises that the man is actually the head vampire sherrif, Eric Northman, who she knows fairly well. She coaxes the vampire into her car and takes him back to her house where she learns he has amnesia and doesn't know who he is. When she calls Pam, Eric's underling, she tells Sookie to hide him and that a band of witches cursed Eric - leaving him in his current state. Sookie reluctantly agrees to keep him and he soon begins to trust her above all others.
It's a compelling read to watch the relationship between Sookie and Eric be rebuilt. The once dangerous and sexily mysterious Eric, who held a degree of power over Sookie, is now a timid man who lays everything bare for all to see and who now looks to Sookie for guidance. It isn't long before their evident chemistry takes over and the two of them embark on a sexual relationship. However, she knows that the time she spends with this Eric is limited with Pam looking to restore him to his former being.
As I said before, my favourite book by far. I was so pleased to see Eric with Sookie instead of Bill, who I always felt didn't warrant her attention. I would definitely recommend this book to others and wish Charlaine would go back to writing storylines like these rather than every second person looking to kill Sookie off.
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on 6 May 2010
I must say, I have been very pleasantly surprised by this series so far - and this installment was no different. Sookie's razor-sharp narration has been honed to whiplash proportions, and her dry humour just sparkles. The key players have been thoroughly established by now and sinking into these books is becoming quite the comfortable indulgence - yet there are also new faces to keep the series fresh, the action drags the reader along at a roaring pace, and the twisting threads of love and lust are spicily scintillating.

After the wider storylines of the last two novels, set in Dallas and Mississippi, this one was a welcome return to Bon Temps and the familiar local characters. Bill and Sookie are staying well apart - in fact, he's in Peru working on his vampire directory. A coven of powerful witches, with unprecedented triple power thanks to their Were status and taste for vampire blood, have moved into Shreveport with their eye on the vampires' business assets - and their personal ones too. Eric's memory has been hexed into oblivion in response to his rejection of the formidable Hallow, head of the coven. Left uncharacteristically sweet, vulnerable and completely clueless (but still totally gorgeous), it's left to Sookie to take him in and hide him from the witches - with sizzling repercussions... Oh, and Jason's mysteriously gone missing in suspicious circumstances. Just another week in Bon Temps, then!

Vampire chick lit may not be everyone's cup of tea, but these are snappy little reads, full of drama, wit, romance and a deft splash of blood, and I for one am having a wonderful time devouring them on my days off! Bring on book five...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2009
Since the development of synthetic blood vampires have made their presence known in the world; however mainstreaming (behaving appropriately in public rather than drain some human dry) is not embraced by all vampires; whilst some humans would rather grab the nearest stake than live with the Undead. Yet there are other things out there that go bump in the night, things that unlike vampires, want to keep their existence from humans unknown at any cost.

Entangled heavily in the supernatural world is small town telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. She may be on the outs with her boyfriend Vampire Bill but Sookie is still involved with the local Undead community and soon protecting head vampire Eric when she finds him wandering in the night buck naked with no memory of who he is. As vampires, shifters and witches unite to battle Eric's enemies (of course Sookie is right where she normally is - directly in the line of fire) there is an all out war brewing between the supernatural species yet the majority of humanity remains beautifully oblivious.

Eric's personality change is an interesting contrast to his normal persona; with his memory wiped clear courtesy of a witch's curse (yep another paranormal being raises its head) he certainly lacks the arrogance and self assurance he normally flaunts whilst his reliance on Sookie reveals a softer more endearing side to his character. The vampires are showing more personality as this series progresses, and I'm enjoying learning more of Pam and Chow and how they interact with humans, as well as Eric despite his vulnerable state throughout this book. Sookie herself is running ragged, protecting Eric and searching for her brother Jason who has disappeared, whilst the supernatural communities gear up for war.

Yet again CH introduces a variety of newcomers and resulting situations to her story line resulting (IMO) in the best "Southern Vampire" book so far in this series. The action is almost breath taking in places culminating in a monumental battle scene; plus there are plenty of surprises that had me perching on the end of my seat. Although the relationship between Sookie and Bill has (unsurprisingly) waned, Sookie finds her hands full with plenty of supernaturals ready to step in and take his place in her affections. Facing danger and death on such a regular basis definitely has its perks.
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A hostile takeover bid for Fangtasia! Evil witches will create havoc until they succeed - for starters depriving vampire club owner Eric of his memory. Busy times are ahead for telepathic waitress Sookie.

Again vampire Bill (now ex-boyfriend) is barely around (Peru this time). Emphasis is very much on highly confused fugitive Eric, hidden by Sookie as witches ruthlessly seek (a vampire drained each day they have to search). Meanwhile Sookie's brother Jason goes missing in mysterious circumstances....

This fourth novel is another exciting read, for once Sookie to emerge relatively unscathed. Others are not so fortunate. All builds up to a dramatic, very violent, climax - an unprecedented alliance of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and nice witches converging to tackle the foe.

Sookie as ever is awesomely resilient - and irresistible. Bill is going to have to join the queue of supernaturals competing for her affections. In future it will be in his interest to stay around a bit.

Throughout, humour enhances. (Eric passes the time watching tapes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".) Recommended to those who enjoy full blooded passion and adventure.
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