Customer Review

21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter the furry, 7 Jun 2009
This review is from: Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse Vampire 9) (Hardcover)
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.
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