on 18 May 2010
I have just finished Dead in the Family and felt I wanted to write a review as I disagree quite a lot with the other reviews so far. Firstly, what I will agree on is that this novel really isn't for a brand new Sookie fan and probably doesn't have enough action for those new to her stories. What I will say though is that having been a devoted fan since the beginning of the series I finished the last book feeling quite low and dejected (I am aware she is only a character but 9 books in and you get a feel for the girl). All the goodness, charm and easy going qualities that made her the character we all love were being knocked out of her (sometimes literally), one disaster after another and it was taking it's toll. By the end of book 9 I wasn't sure what kind of Sookie we were going to encounter in 'Dead in the Family'.
In this book Sookie finally gets a well deserved break, as do a few other popular characters who have had a tough time throughout the series and although we are seeing an emotionally tougher Sookie, her inner qualities are starting to recover throughout and by the end the scene has been set for a pretty amazing book 11. It's just horrid we shall have to wait another year for it. There is also a nice feeling in the fact that after having had her trust betrayed so many times previously she spends a lot of time here building bridges with the people she loves the most which again makes for quite a refreshing change. There are a lot of little sub-plots but I feel this is a device to keep all our favourite characters involved and I like that some get solved and some will spill over to the next books. All in all, I would definitely recommend to any Sookie fans and I think Charlaine Harris has done another great job. Like I said, Not as adventurous as some of her other efforts but a nice little stop gap between major story lines.
Dead in the Family is the highly anticipated tenth novel in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Sookie is once again having to help out the local werewolf pack and deal with unruly vampires. At the same time she is reconnecting with those that she stopped having proper relationships with when she delved deeper into the supernatural world.
In this book we meet Eric's maker, Appius, and his new brother, Alexei. We are introduced to another child of Lorena's, who may or may not be able to help Bill's ongoing silver poisoning. Claude moves in with Sookie and we get to see a different side to him. Hunter returns and the moments with him are very warm and cute.
Alcide once again gets Sookie involved in pack matters and when she is meant to just be on the sidelines. She gets hauled in and is butt deep in weres before she can say `bite me'. The ever growing pack are on edge constantly in this book until it comes to a climax, but the threat is still there. Now they need to decide how to get rid of it.
Bill is in some serious pain and needs help. He has started giving up on everything, life and even his work. Sookie feels real bad for him and wants to help, but she doesn't know how. Eventually Sookie gets an idea and tries her hand at helping him.
Appius is a force to be reckoned with and Sookie doesn't like him one bit. Being around him as well as Eric's new sibling, it sets Sookie at unease. She can feel what Eric is feeling and it doesn't help matters. Eric's brother needs help, but the question is will he take the help provided or bite the hand that feeds him?
Trouble is brewing in Shreveport and soon it's going to become a storm. Eric and Sookie are feeling the strain of Eric's family, Appius and Alexei, being around but with this added stress it soon takes a toll on their time together. Sookie wants the trouble maker dead, but does she get her wish?
My favourite part of this book was the first time, I think, Sookie takes us to Eric's house and they basically lunge for each other as you would if you had not seen one another for a long period of time. The description of Eric's house was amazing and you just know that a man with that much money and power has to have some serious taste and he does. Also I like the moment between Sookie and Pam when she is driving Sookie back to Bon Temps after seeing Eric.
I was very happy to find out that one of my speculations regarding the fairy that wants to do Sookie harm was right. This made my day when I read about who the fairy was and why they wanted to hurt Sookie, I practically punched my fist in the air with glee.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it lacked the action as previous books but I am sure Charlaine is building up to this. Dead in the Family wrapped up some loose ends regarding Sookie and Eric's feeling towards one another, Sookie's relationship with Bill and Alcide and getting her life back on track. Eventually Sookie's life starts to take on a more normal appearance. Well as normal as a mind reader, dating a very powerful vampire that happens to be her husband and being related to fairy's can be.
Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money. I have not been paid to review this book and everything I have said is of my own honest opinion.
First Sentence: "I feel bad that I'm leaving you like this," Amelia said.
The Fae War is over and Sookie is recovering from her injuries. In spite of the door to the Fae World being closed, it seems not all the faeries have left. Her cousin, Claude, has decided to move in with her, she suspects her great-uncle Dermot may still be around and, perhaps, one other. Sookie's vampire lover, Eric, is also still recovering. Although he is pleased when his "maker" appears, Sookie isn't happy particularly with vampire child of Russian nobility who is with him.
As if that's not enough, Sookie tries to help a human child who shares her telepathic abilities, is asked to act as Shaman for the Wares and everyone is concerned about a government bill which would require all Wares and Shifters to register as such.
It is interesting that, while many people didn't like this book, I felt it was one of the better books in the series.
The consistent thread was families, all types of families, and the relationships within them. For that reason, I felt there was more depth to this book than some. At the same time, it is not easy to take vampires, wares, faeries and humans and make the paranormal seem normal, realistic and logical. Harris does it with style, aplomb and humour.
The book deals more with characters and less with edge-of-the-seat action. Most of the gang is here but there is just enough detail provided about each character for new readers. Harris makes you believe in these characters. More than that, she makes you cheer for the "good" characters and when Sookie says she wants one of the "bad" characters to die; so, too, do you.
Harris' descriptions provide such a strong sense of place that when she talks about Sookie sitting on the front porch, you can smell the coffee and hear the birds. Unfortunately, that also works for the less-than-pleasant descriptions as well so it is not a book for the easily queasy. To me, it's that contrast that makes it work.
This wasn't as much of a graphic action or sex plot as some, although certainly enough to satisfy. This was a more introspective book for Sookie with the emotions conveyed being tangible. It also felt a transition book for Ms. Harris--the series growing up, if you will, and relationships developing.
I know Ms. Harris has planned out where the series is going. There is no question but that I shall be going along with her.
DEAD IN THE FAMILY (Para Susp-Sookie Stackhouse-Louisiana-Cont) - VG
Harris, Charlaine - 10th in series
ACE Books, ©2010, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780441018642
on 9 January 2011
I have had a very up and down relationship with this series and it's on a down again with this book. It's a shame that a series with such promise and which still has real potential for exciting books, is slowly running out of steam.
Sookie and Eric are pretty loved up and both getting used to the idea that they are married in vampire style and that they feel each other so strongly through the blood bond. Sookie has some problems; Claude has decided to move in, there are 2 dead bodies on her property and an unknown member of the fae has been scented nearby. Eric is having some difficulties too with the aftermath of Sophie-Anne's death and the arrival of his maker.
The good stuff:
* all the Eric and Sookie scenes are highlights. Their relationship is well-written and easy to engage in.
* Charlaine Harris has stopped describing everyone's clothing in lengthy detail- hurrah!
* Hunter is back and the part of the book where he features is good fun although it adds nothing to the plot.
* Claude finds his human side- good times :)
* Octavia and Amelia are gone. Phew!
The problems with this book:
* Nothing, and I mean nothing, of any interest happens until exactly half-way through the book. Then it really picks up enough to hold your interest.
* The impending threat of the mysterious fairy out to get Sookie doesn't seem very threatening and she doesn't seem very scared.
* Sookie is getting more and more snarky and mean as the books go on. What has happened to her? She's becoming difficult to like.
I think part of the problem is True Blood. Alan Ball is doing such a good job of beefing up the characters and the storylines that the books are starting to be a let down now. The True Blood version of Eric's maker, Godric, was far more interesting than what Charlaine Harris has done with Appius in this book for one example.
So- I would say that if you have read all the others, pick this one up too. Just don't expect to be wowed and thrilled by it, because it doesn't have much going on and it's not very exciting.
NB//The Kindle edition has a few errors but nothing major.
Our favourite telepathic waitress Sookie isn't getting to spend a lot of time with her boyfriend Eric; you see the country is divided into different vampiric territories, and each territory is further divided into numbered areas, and Eric is in charge of one of these areas, so he has to deal with any supernatural and political problems that may effect the vampires that fall under his jurisdiction. Plus he owns his own business as well, so as well as any work related worries of his own he may have, he also has a lot of responsibility to other people.
There's another headache for him now, in the form of some powerful vampires that may be plotting to overthrow him from his position [read as plotting to kill him], so he now has another massive weight added to his shoulders. Naturally this is just the perfect time for his Roman sire to come and visit - Oh yeah, his sire also brings Eric's vampiric brother - that he didn't know about - to meet too...
Sookie is jumpy and not too keen to be alone in these uncertain times, so when her cousin Claude - a fairy [really] - asks to move into her house for a little while because he is lonely with no other fairies around, and will feel better around family it seems like a perfect distraction for her. But, despite saying yes to him, she doesn't really trust Claude and she soon discovers that another fairy has been on her land and most of the few remaining fairies that she knows of don't like her and would be happy to see her dead. Has Claude got something to do with her fairy stalker?
Meanwhile Sookie's vampiric neighbour [and ex] Bill has silver poisoning and isn't getting better, so Sookie somehow decides that it's her responsibility to find a cure for him - even though he's more or less told her not to.
I said I wasn't going to read another True Blood book after finishing the previous entry in the series [Dead And Gone] and being extremely disappointed by it, but I was looking for a particular book on my bookcase this week when I came across DEAD IN THE FAMILY; I don't even remember buying it and it was dusty so it's been here a while. So since it's already in my hands I thought that I might as well give it a go. What's the worst that could happen?
Lots, as it happens. Let's rewind a bit and remember that my main problem with the last book was with the number of characters that were killed off or abruptly decided to suddenly up and leave for very little reason. I knew this book was going to be a major let down when the very first chapter in this book begins with yet another recurring character getting up and leaving, for no real reason. And, sure enough, the author gets all kill happy again in DEAD IN THE FAMILY.
Before this book became known as the True Blood series it was the Southern Vampire Mysteries series and this change shows where the problem with the series lies; there haven't been any engaging mysteries for the last few books; instead they read as a supernatural soap opera, as the author is far more concerned with trying to reverse the past ten years and with trying to bring the books and the TV programme into an uneasy balance. There is no exciting whodunit and engaging and exciting twists and turns to the plot have long since gone and I don't feel any suspense reading the books now. I used to sit up all night, unwilling to put the books down, but now I don't even remember buying it...
DEAD IN THE FAMILY is the tenth book in the series and Charlaine Harris has also had many short stories featuring the True Blood cast published, which means that there is an enormous amount of characters and various events that are casually mentioned in the books, and remembering who is who and what relationships they have to the central cast is extremely difficult at this point. If someone who hadn't read all of the previous books and short stories picked up DEAD IN THE FAMILY they probably wouldn't have finished it, as everything is all jumbled and confusing.
There isn't any one strong storyline, the 'plot' is just a few random threads unraveling at different speeds; she starts off with one plot-line, seems to forget about it and start another one and then abandon that course too. After forgetting what's going on she pads out the middle of the book with pointless scenes of babysitting, funerals and conversations with Tara [who was a previously minor character, who hadn't been friends with Sookie since their school days]. Finally the author remembers some of the dangling threads and quickly ties them up in the last few chapters in a few very anticlimactic showdowns [one of the 'reveals' is especially annoying], but there are still a few unanswered questions that have been left by the end - has the author simply forgotten about them [seems very plausable considering her sloppy writing], or are they fuel for the next book? Who cares any more?
Simply put; it reads as though the author simply doesn't have any solid plans and is just fishing around her past books and grabbing onto any half remembered past conflict and running them to ground for the sake of having another money spinner in print.
Another annoyance for me is with the way Sookie's personality has changed and it doesn't seem like a natural progression. In some ways I can't put my finger on how she's changed; I can just tell that there's something alien about her character in the last few books. One clear difference is how she is still unsure of which love interest she wants. I don't think that the Sookie of old would still be lingering over her exes by this point; I always used to see her as polite, but strong willed and as someone who stood by her decisions in the earlier books. And she is pouty because Eric isn't giving her enough attention, even though she knows what kind of life-or-death trouble has just been added to his plate. This clingyness is very off-putting. She used to be very independent, but now she's kind of like me-me-me.
Speaking of character changes; stop romanticizing Eric, I adore him because he is a 'real' vampire; 1000 years old, ruthless, blood drinking, murderous and who once admitted that whilst he really liked Sookie, he wouldn't risk his life for her. Now he is distracted from his work over her, declaring his love for her multiple times and Sookie spends a scene braiding his hair. I wish that the author wouldn't meddle with him, is she going after the Twilight fanbase now?
Oh, and Jason? He read like a different character too. He was always a selfish womanizer, but now he's suddenly all grown up and responsible. I can't get too detailed without spoiling other books, but past events would surely make his past behaviour worse?
I've read and enjoyed this book series since it was first published in the US, but the last few releases post True Blood have been severely disappointing and read as though they've been written by a different author. After reading the last two in particular I've been immediately moved to sit down and type rant filled reviews, not a good sign.
After giving the series another chance I now swear not to bother reading any future books; I'd rather remember the good old days and re-read the earlier books. This series is Just About Dead to me now.
"Dead in the Family" has a very appropriate title -- all sorts of family members pop up, and not just for Sookie. Charlaine Harris still can whips up a pleasant warm Southern vibe for her not-so-urban fantasies, but unfortunately this latest novel isn't quite up to her usual standards: it's basically a mass of fluffy in-between storylines that rarely go anywhere.
Just after Amelia leaves for New Orleans, Sookie's cousin Claude appears at her home and asks to move in with her, since he's a lone fairy who needs the presence of another. Bill is suffering from silver poisoning AND depression, and Sookie has to find a "relative" who can help him. And Eric has some family issues as well -- his maker Appius Livius Ocella shows up on Sookie's doorstep, along with his "son"/lover Alexei.
To make matters worse, unidentified fairies and weres have been crossing Sookie's land,, and it also turns out that there's a dead body buried back there. And it's not Debbie Pelt's. Now Sookie must unravel the secrets plaguing the supernaturals around her, or there might be even more deaths.
"Dead in the Family" feels like Charlaine Harris wrote half-a-dozen short stories, ripped them apart at the seams, and then sewed them back together. There's no central plot to this book, just a mass of fluffy subplots woven loosely around each other. And some of the stories don't really have much point to them, so the book feels cluttered and fragmented.
The saving grace is that some of those subplots ARE interesting, mainly the ones that develop the characters -- the whole subplot involving Bill and the elderly Caroline Bellefleur is quite sweet and touching, and it should be interesting to see where Harris takes the religious/political pressure on the weres. And the typically bloody climax is a pretty shocking, gruesome one, if a bit slapdash.
But Sookie's characterization is very shaky in this book -- Harris zooms through her entire recovery from being TORTURED in ONE CHAPTER (ARG! Cop-out!), and initially she seems so aggressive that it feels like she's channeling Anita Blake. Fortunately she gets steadier and sunnier after the first few chapters, and it's intriguing to see her various family members interacting with her -- fae, were and telepathic human.
And there's some much-needed development given to the sexy, devil-may-care Claude (it's very cute when he's goofing around on the playground with Hunter), as well as new insights into Bill and Eric's lives and families (both living and undead).
"Dead in the Family" is all about the family ties, but it feels like Charlaine Harris just whipped together a bunch of short story ideas rather than writing a cohesive plot. Better luck next time.
on 17 July 2012
Unfortunately, Charlaine Harris's excellent premise, that other-than-humans interact with ordinary folk, appears to have led her to plot tangles that disallow that oh-so-important suspension of disbelief in the reader. Here, even her customary good wit and humour appear to have deserted her in favour of tedious explanation, which she now finds necessary to keep her audience up to date with events including ludicrous plotlines involving faerie warfare, vampire lovers, werewolves and other two-natured beings. Those of us who have grown to admire her sassy and gutsy female characters, and deftly articulated imaginary realities will be shaking their heads with disappointment over this rather diluted version of her talent. It reads rather as a filler for a series contract; one that has run too long and is in itself evidence that the writer needs to be doing something different in order to let her skills shine once more.
The latest book in the Southern Vampires series finds Sookie struggling to get over the events of the previous novel, in particular the Fae War and her own kidnap and torture.
I've been looking forward to this book for some time, but having read some of the other reviews here my anticipation had waned. But I've just finished reading it, and I really enjoyed it, I thought it was an excellent follow up to Dead and Gone, which itself revived a series that had flagged a little in the middle. Although this doesn't feature non-stop action, plenty happens to develop several existing story lines: Sookie again is drawn into the internal disputes of the Shreveport weres, FBI Agent Lattesta returns and shows his true colours, Sookie bonds with her young telepathic cousin Hunter, the consequences of the two-natured 'coming out' to the world begin to intensify, plus Sookie's relationships with both Eric and Bill shift yet again.
Throughout this series Sookie has experienced a lot of heartache and trauma, and it's interesting to see how her character has developed. I actually found this book to be a really good take on how Sookie deals with the fall out from the Fae War, and how she struggles to align the things she's done with her own nature. A good Christian girl at heart, her own rage at the torture she suffered in the last book makes her want revenge on certain other characters, and she laments that perhaps she is no longer a good person. This little moral, and very human, battle contrasts starkly against all the supernatural action.
Sookie's relationship with Eric is now all go, although Harris' usual love scenes don't feature so much in this book, as the relationship has become less about lust and changed to something deeper. This also reflects the struggles that both Sookie and Eric are having, particularly after Eric's Roman maker turns up with another child in tow - one of the children of the executed Romanov family! Harris is certainly creative in the way she inserts vampirism into the real world, using real historical figures (Bubba/Elvis) as a point of interest. This storyline also shows a different side to Eric, as he is much more vulnerable with his maker around, and not always the strong and dominant figure we've come to know.
I also loved the part of the story involving Hadley's son Hunter, who is a sweet and very bright boy. Sookie bonds with him instantly, enjoying a little bit of telepathic fun, and I hope he features again soon in the series. Spending time with Hunter, plus her friend Tara's pregnancy, makes Sookie think briefly about the possibility of having children, and I'd be interested to see if this is something that could ever be in Sookie's future.
There's so much more I could talk about here, but I don't want to spoil the story. Don't be put off by the less than positive reviews here, this is another great story, and a more grown-up and sometimes introspective inclusion into the series, which is also reflected in Harris' writing style. If you're a fan you should definitely give this a chance. If you're new to the world of Sookie Stackhouse, start at the beginning with Dead Until Dark, you'll be hooked!
on 29 June 2010
I don't think there are many who read this latest in the Sookie saga without having read all the others because you really would be foolish to do so.
As I have read the other books I was eagerly anticipating this installment given the exciting finale of 'Dead & Gone'. But I can't help thinking this booked seemed so lazy in it's story.
Once you have got to this point in the series the writing ability of Charlaine Harris becomes secondary and you can overlook the tedious writing style simply because the world she has created and the characters we see are so engaging and to put it simply - its a interesting story.
But 'Dead In The Family' lacks an interesting story. Sure, it's great to see Sookie again and its always a pleasure being thrust back into the world of Bon Temps, but after looking forward to the book we get the characters simply bobbing along with no real development.
The Weres have a problem with regards to a murder but only for the fact that the body is left outside the house of Sookie it really serves little purpose to the story.
The Fairies have always been given the ability to be very tough, mean and overall evil at times. One of the main culprits has been Demot who we now find out did not cross back into the Fae world. So I am thinking at this point that we are in for a suspense filled tale as Demot comes for Sookie but nothing of the sort happens and we end up with Demot having been under some spell.
We have a little bit of Bill in the story and then he just disappears after Sookie has done him a good deed.
The main story seems to be that Eric's maker has turned up with another Vampire who effectively is Erics brother. But we miss most of the action as Eric does not contact Sookie.
So overall we have Sookie musing over her life, worrying about this and that without anything really happening. Then before you know the book is over. Short, simple, with little substance.
And whilst this is not likely to be the fault of the author, the front cover is all wrong. It has the characters from the TV series - some who are not even in the books. It is not a representation of the Sookie books.
This will not stop me from reading the next book and I am not rubbishing this entire series, but I just felt a little flat having finished this one as there was simply not enough going on.
After all that wait...
on 17 January 2012
I really like these books, and have read the 10 in the series in about 3 months. I agree with what people have written in some other reviews - yes, it does get a bit annoying that Harris has to refer back and give a summary of the characters every time, and remind you of obvious things like her telepathy. I do wonder why you would choose to read this book as a one off, though? Surely you would read the first book in order to get the full effect? Anyway...
As the tenth book, I wasn't blown away. I (probably wrongly) assumed that there would be more finality to the characters, and when there was about 20 pages left I was getting a bit tetchy, wondering how she was going to tie up all of these loose ends in such a short space! The subsequent ending was adequate, but I don't feel like it gave any more closure than any of the previous books had. Perhaps that's the idea and there will be a further five books? I'd quite like to see more focus on Eric and Sookie's relationship, and an endgame, as opposed to this will they / won't they thing.
There's a good chance I'm comparing the format to the Twilight books, but I suppose you can't do that, really. All in all I would say that whereas the Twilight books FAR surpassed the films (although they're still worth watching and I did like them), I think that the True Blood series is doing a fantastic job of translating what Charlaine Harris has written and may even be better. Shame they can't make them fast enough!! Read the books, though, because if nothing else the plots differ from the TV show, and they are a bit addictive (guilty).