Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Review: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Book Information
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: May 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0441017157
MSRP: $25.95
Format: Hardcover
Available from

Sookie Stackhouse is a human (maybe?) with the ability to hear people's thoughts. While that sounds like a nifty trick, in reality picking up stray thoughts from people's heads isn't all that fun and exciting. For Sookie, it is turning out to be hazardous to her health as her abilities take her deeper into the supernatural world around her.

Book #9 of the Southern Vampire sereis opens with the shifters coming out of the closet. Soon after the announcement, Crystal, Jason's wife, is found dead in the parking lot of Merlots. Is this a hate crime since Crystal was a werepanther? Or is Sookie in the middle of yet another war among the supernatural?

The Southern Vampire Series is/was one of my favorite series and I have been reading it since book 1 came out in 2001. So after almost 8 years of following Sookie, I am willing to give the series a little slack. We are old friends and can forgive each other an off day or two. But, the problem with long running series is that eventually the author gets a critical point. She can choose to end the series with a logical and fulfilling conclusion. Or, she can try to squeeze a few more books (and a few more royalty checks) out of it. Option 2 forces the reader to give up on a series completely or fool themselves into thinking that "maybe the next book will be better." Well, when volume #8 came out, I was hoping that volume 9 would be "just a little bit better." But I can see the writing on the wall and I think it is time for me, Sookie and friends to part.

The problem with the book is that nothing happens yet everything happens at the same time. For example, a fairy assassian is gunning for Sookie. Harris spends almost an entire chapter describing how Sookie is going to relieve some stress by gardening. And when the fairy shows up to kill Sookie while she is weeding the plants, Harris is able to kill off the fairy in about 2 paragraphs. I understand the element of surprise was important in Sookie coming out on top. But seriously? All that buildup for a nonexistent scene? No last dying words from the fairy? No "oh shit, I am going to die" inner monologue from Sookie?

The entire book follows the same format. All filler and no resolution or climax. The book ends with a cliffhanger, leaving many dead, countless injured and no real idea if some of the main characters will be around in book 10. But honestly, I closed the book not even caring who makes it and who doesn't. The only thing I could think was that the series used to be soooo good!

For Sookie fans willing to stick it out, at least wait until the paperback comes out. If you are dying to know what happens, check out the hardcover from the library. For readers who were a little skeptical after reading volume 8, I would quit while you are ahead. Stop now while you still have good feelings about the series and the characters. Better yet, just start watching the TV adaptation on HBO, True Blood.


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