First Sentence: "Caucasian vampires should never wear white," the television announcer intoned.
Now that vampires have come out and been acknowledged by society, members of the ware species have decided it's time to do the same. However, not everyone is accepting of discovering someone they know can turn into an animal.
Telepathic bartender, Sookie Stackhouse, is called back to the bar at which she works to find a police scene. Her warepanther sister-in-law has been murdered and left in the bar's parking lot. Was it a hate crime? Sookie is determined to help the police, her brother and the ware community find the killer.
Sookie also finds herself in personal danger as war as broken out among unhuman beings. Her great-grandfather, Naill, warns her that one of his sons is leading those who want to destroy all humans with fairy blood, which includes Sookie. It is going to take all her friends, including "Bubba," once the King of rock-and-roll, to keep her alive.
When Laurell K. Hamilton went astray with her books, I was delighted to find Charlaine Harris, who gets better with each book. Harris has created an almost plausible world of humans, vampires, wares, fairies and all other paranormal beings, while referencing back to actual events in reality.
I couldn't help but draw parallels between the ware communities coming out to the gay community. In both fiction and fact, prejudice and violence are evident. The resolution of the murder is both sad and horrible to contemplate. The fairie war speaks to ethnic cleansing. Believe me, these are no Disney-like fairies. There is violence and brutality with a resolution I found rather sad but interesting as it left no hint as to where Harris is taking the series.
The characters are critical to me when I read, and Harris has created wonderful characters. Sookie is very real and we learn more about her parents' death in this book. I particularly like that often, during the situations in which Sookie finds herself, in spite of not being one to go to church, she worries about how God will perceive her thoughts and actions. We also learn more about the background of Eric, the head vampire for the region. We lose a lot of characters, with this book, but I was delighted to see "Bubba" back and laughed at Sookie's fairie godmother's comment about Irish names.
This would seem to be a transitional book for the series as it was darker and more serious than previous entries. I also found it a bit sad. It will be interesting to see where the series goes from her. I am anxious for Ms. Harris' next Sookie Stackhouse book.
DEAD AND GONE (Para/Mys-Sookie Stackhouse-Louisiana-Cont) - VG
Harris, Charlaine - 9th in series
ACE Books, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780441017157
on 20 May 2009
This is the ninth book in Charlaine Harris' long running Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series, a series that continues to be one of the most original of the genre avoiding many of the typical cliches.
The plot is relatively simple - the weres have come out to the general public and on the night of the announcement a were is murdered in the parking lot outside Merlottes bar. Sookie must use all her abilities and connections to uncover the killer or killers and protect herself from a new and deadly enemy connected to her fairy great great grandfather. The plot is much stronger than that of the last book in the series which felt to me a bit like a filler book tying off old loose threads, but I'm not entirely happy with what happened to certain characters, Claudine in partciular.
Sookie has always been quite a positive, sunny and upbeat character in the books up to this, but time and the events of the past seem to be knocking this out of her. Sookie seems a pale shadow of her Pollyanna like former self but in light of what has happend to her in previous books and in this book it does make sense.
Overall this is a good enough read. Charlaine Harris is a competent writer and this book is not bad, but theres a sense of darkness (or despair or something I can't really quite put my finger on) about this book that left me slightly saddened in the end with its not so happily ever after.
on 9 June 2009
I agree with everything in the previous reviews. I love the Sookie books and find Charlaine to be an excellent author. This book however fell short of my expectations, I felt too many charactors were thrown into this book at once. The story itself seemed rushed and almost as if it was thrown together because Charlaine is under contract to make book 9!
The story itself stars off with the shifters coming out and a murder of a Ware, that isnt the main story however as Sookie has to deal with her fae heritage. I dont feel the 2 story lines run together well and the ending and the reveal of who actually commited the murder dont sit well with me at all.
This book is a lot more central round Sookie and her plight. I would have liked to have seen a lot more of Eric, Bill, Pam and Sam. I felt nearly all had only bit parts in this book which is disappoining. I also agree with the other review that the charactors themselves felt wrong. I understand that the books are getting darker and Sookie cant be little Miss Happy all the time but some parts of all the charactors just felt way off. Would Eric really discuss his previous life of being human so openly in the middle of the bar and then for it to just be left in the middle of the story and not returned to ....
I am an avid follower of the series and I was expecting a lot more of this book, I am keeping my fingers crossed for book 10.
on 15 June 2009
Hmmm, since discovering this series a year ago, I've eaten up almost everything Ms Charlaine Harris has had to write, my favourite being the Southern Vampire Chronicles.
Dead and Gone moves at a fast pace, much much faster than any of the previous novels. Some reviewers have attributed this to the churning out of the book in time for the second series on HBO, but longtime fans will know that these books are released annually regardless, as well as other books Ms Harris has published.
I agree that the continuity leaves something to be desired, but it didn't detract from the story for me. (Perhaps publishers should utilise the huge fan base to check continuity in future?!?!)
The fast paced storyline covers Fae wars and assassination attempts, the loss of several characters and very little in the way of developing the storyline between Bill and Sookie. The novel however becomes much much darker than before, and with the departure of several characters are we going to see more new ones introduced? We've had weres, witches, fae, vampires and a maenad and I hope Ms Harris doesn't introduce another set of supernatural creatures. The Fae seemed a little too far fetched for me, but I guess suited the storyline. I'm hoping we can get back to the real issue of The Fellowship of The Sun, the Vamp politics and the emerging shifters.
Charlaine Harris is a gifted writer, her prose is almost instinctively read aloud in a southern drawl, and I'm hoping that this novel is one of those stepping stones to a new storyline and hopefully, resolution of Sookie's lovelife.
on 24 May 2010
Hmmn ... what do we have? Pregnant were-panthers (and fairies), torture, slaughter, violence with gardening tools, a large dash of vampiric sex, war, were-revelations. All in all, very entertaining.
Not my most favourite of the 9 so far, but still another enjoyable installment of this series.
Wouldn't have minded a bit more enlightenment on the Sookie-Eric emotional relationship though. It either needs to develop or that piece of bed candy needs to be replaced with something more substantial.
Like getting back with Bill. Or putting Sam out of his misery? I can't decide which of those too I would prefer Sookie to end up with, (but being that there are several other contenders (Eric and Quinn in particular) maybe she will end up with neither!
I don't know if C Harris is working towards something with the baby theme (we'll have to wait and see), but I think Sookie would make a great mother to a child, and none of her vampire suitors can give her one.
Well, I'm obviously still hooked on this series, and if you're up to book 9 so are you probably, so here's to continued enjoyment of the series! ;0
The latest Sookie novel opens as the weres and the shifters finally announce their existence to the world, with Sam Merlotte and Tray Dawson shifting in Merlotte's Bar to the surprise of the patrons. Most of the locals seem to take the revelation pretty well, until the mutilated body of Sookie's faithless sister-in-law, Crystal, turns up nailed to a cross in the parking lot of the bar. Sookie is horrified, but that isn't the only shock in store for her as a brutal enemy emerges who is determined to destroy her.
Whilst I'm a big fan of this series and have enjoyed all the books, I have to admit that after book 4 the series started to flag a teeny bit. But with Dead and Gone it's back with a bang. This book is packed with excitement, as Sookie finds herself in trouble time after time, usual for this series, but this novel is a bit darker than the rest, featuring torture and crucifixion, and several regular characters meet grisly ends.
There's a good bit of character development too, with some of the secondary story threads coming together, in particular Arlene's involvement in the Fellowship of the Sun. And Sookie's slow-burn relationship with Eric takes a few steps forward (yay!) but they aren't all changes Sookie approves of, as she is sucked further into the world of the Las Vegas vampires who took over Louisiana in the previous book. As ever, Eric is not Sookie's only love interest, as her exes Bill and Quinn also continue to fight for her affection. Plus we find out the truth behind the death of the Stackhouse parents as Sookie's fae heritage comes shockingly to life.
With this novel Charlaine Harris has upped her game, and proven that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are a must-read. Can't wait for the next one!
In book 9 of this series, several events impact heavily on the life of telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. We have yet another murder (has there been a book when Sookie doesn't discover a dead body?), a fairy war, the death of some significant individuals (one of whom was a favourite character of mine) and Sookie becomes involved again with a supernatural ex.
There are several heartbreaking moments in this book, but as they mostly remain on the peripheral of the story line, they fail to make the emotional impact that they should. In fact I'm surprised CH made one death so incidental; this particular event only mentioned in a few sentences despite the growing importance of this character and their attachment to Sookie. I felt that "Dead and Gone" should have left me in tears, but moments I thought should have been far more significant were glossed over somewhat. Perhaps this is all part of this author's plans for this series, and more will be uncovered in later books?
on 1 June 2009
Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries was such a fun and creatively written series for a while. But the humor and wit that characterized the first four or five books seems to have completely run out by this ninth book, leaving with the reader a disconnected palette of characters, and a hectic pace in which the author seems to have been determined to get in every minor character at the expense of any clarity or reflection by the major characters.
The characters, including Sookie herself, seem to be in a fog in this book, and to be speaking out of character. Even big scary vampire Eric, always one of the most fun to read, just seems off. (Spoiler: he is willing to discuss his painful personal history out in the open in a public place, his bar???) Tossed off personal revelations are never absorbed by the characters and never revisited. The pace of the book is such that it is actually counterproductive in terms of feeling any empathy for the central characters.
Readers should be forewarned about the tremendous violence in the book. (Spoiler: Are the multiple deaths of pregnant women just a heavy-handed device signaling lost promise or hope? Maybe they are the stunted hopes for this book?)
The dragging issue of suitor resolution and the lack of development, if not regression, of Sookie's character on the issue of relationships is disappointing. As a reader who has followed the series for some time, I'm virtually at the point where I no longer care who she ends up with. Not a good place for an author to be finding herself with her readers. Does she really intend to make her readers NOT care about her heroine or give the impression that her heroine is incapable of evolving?
The number of continuity errors for a book with this sales base is truly astonishing. From the fact that Eric no longer remembers that Sookie was never paid for her work in book 7, to the fact that Sookie doesn't remember her grandfather and great-uncle were twins, to the fact that Claude and Claudine's deceased sister was Claudia and not Claudette, to the fact that Chow and not Clancy killed Hallow the witch's representative back in book 4, to the fact that Eric says he `remembers' but seems to have forgotten what he remembers at a rather delicate moment. The writing, continuity wise, or even factwise, seems not to have been proofread at all!
The book reads like a rough draft and has a sense of disconnectedness that is disheartening in comparison to others in the series. Was the goal just to get this one knocked out before the new season of True Blood? Did the publisher and editor think the series fans wouldn't notice? It reads, frankly, like a sellout. And as a reader of the series, I'm seriously hoping this isn't the next Anita Blake series in terms of steady deterioration of quality and content. This book makes me wonder. The editor seems to have done Ms. Harris a great injustice by letting it go out in such disconnected form and with so many continuity errors.
Let's hope that Book 10 gets Sookie Stackhouse back on course.
on 19 September 2010
Book 9: Now it's the turn of the weres and shifters to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world. But what Sookie doesn't realise is that there is a far greater danger than this killer threatening Bon Temps: a race of unhuman beings, older, more powerful and far more secretive than the vampires or the werewolves is preparing for war . . .
The Sookie Stackhouse books are as addictive as the fictional drug V is and yes sometimes they don't always hit the right mark, for me anyway, I'm still dying (no pun intended) to know what life has in store for Sookie with each new addition. In my humble opinion, and I'm certainly no book critic, the series hit a bit of a slump about half way through but these last few books have seen a marked improvement and it's hit a high with this installment. Poor Sookie certainly goes through the wars in this one though, in more ways than one.
I assume if you are looking to purchase this book you've been with Sookie from the start. If you are new to the series then you really should start with Dead until Dark although I can't really comment how the books would stand up as stand alone novels I really don't think they would work any other way than reading the entire series. If you are wondering if the books live up to the TV series yes they do, although they may not be as fleshed out as the TV show and they really only follow the story from Sookie's point of view it makes them no less enjoyable.
If you've read all the others and are wondering if this book is as good as the rest all I can tell you is that in my view it's one of the best yet and at this price it's worth finding out if you agree.
Vampires have been out of the coffin for awhile, but in the Sookieverse, it's time for the weres to show their stuff in public.
And of course that Great Reveal Part II stirs up murder and mayhem in the ninth volume of Charlaine Harris' bestselling urban fantasy series, "Dead and Gone." Sookie has a new array of problems from all walks of supernatural life (and some human ones), and Harris manages to balance them out neatly in her smooth, warm prose style. And yes, some new developments.
When the weres choose to publicly reveal their existence, the people of Bon Temps are relatively unruffled (except for the fanatical Arlene). There are some problems and controversies, but overall it's smoother than the vampires' Great Reveal. But it has caused new problems under the surface -- the new, uneasy vampire regime is affecting the were communities, Sam's mother has been viciously attacked, and the FBI has appeared in town about Sookie's psychic powers.
To make matters even worse, her estranged sister-in-law Crystal is found savagely crucified in the parking lot. Was it because she was a werepanther, or was it because she was a huge slut? As Sookie tries to unravel the mystery of who had killed Crystal (and why), she becomes embroiled in a very different kind of family feud among the royal fairy family. And she may be the next one murdered if she isn't very very careful...
Charlaine Harris' urban fantasy is not the usual kind -- it feels very cozy and down-home, and is set is a pleasant little town in the South. And while it's obvious that The Great Reveal Part II would cause a lot of social and religious problems, the focus here is on the struggles in Bon Temps primarily. They handle it pretty well, until the murders start.
Harris' warm, slightly tongue-in-cheek prose ("Did fairy parents tell fairy children human tales?") keeps the plot moving along smoothly, without getting bogged down in gruesome deaths. It also has half a dozen supernatural dilemmas (some directly related to Sookie, some not) that loop loosely through Sookie's life as the plot goes along, ranging from her sorta-kinda relationship with Eric to the FBI coveting her special skills.
Despite the light, pleasant atmosphere of Bon Temps, Harris is able to make it chilling when she wants too -- cold-blooded murder attempts, ghastly crimes (the brutal murder of a pregnant woman) and she even manages to portray rancid bigotry and racism without being preachy.
The biggest problem? While the plot speeds up in the last few chapters, it also sort of flies apart with some random character deaths and an anticlimactic fairy clash, as if she got rushed and had to finish it fast. And she glosses over the question of how the were Reveal would change things.
Sookie's plate is pretty full in this volume: fairy assassination, vampire pledges, the were Reveal and a double shift at work. Harris does a good job making her heroine all too human and fallible, while still making her sympathetic -- such as her worry that she's being selfish by not wanting to use her talents for the FBI, because she fears the horrors she'd be exposed to. And despite some meddling by her annoying ex-boyfriend Quinn, she seems to have more steam building with lovable Viking Eric, whose past marital experiences are revealed.
"Dead and Gone" is a solid ninth volume in a still-strong series, despite some flaws in the storyline's end. I'm looking forward to what Harris has yet in store for her telepathic waitress.