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Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse Book 10) Kindle Edition
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The First Week
“I feel bad that I’m leaving you like this,” Amelia said. Her eyes were puffy and red. They’d been that way, off and on, ever since Tray Dawson’s funeral.
“You have to do what you have to do,” I said, giving her a very bright smile. I could read the guilt and shame and ever-present grief roiling around Amelia’s mind in a ball of darkness. “I’m lots better,” I reassured her. I could hear myself babbling cheerfully along, but I couldn’t seem to stop. “I’m walking okay, and the holes are all filled in. See how much better?” I pulled down my jeans waistband to show her a spot that had been bitten out. The teeth marks were hardly perceptible, though the skin wasn’t quite smooth and was visibly paler than the surrounding flesh. If I hadn’t had a huge dose of vampire blood, the scar would’ve looked like a shark had bitten me.
Amelia glanced down and hastily away, as if she couldn’t bear to see the evidence of the attack. “It’s just that Octavia keeps e-mailing me and telling me I need to come home and accept my judgment from the witches’ council, or what’s left of it,” she said in a rush. “And I need to check all the repairs to my house. And since there are a few tourists again, and people returning and rebuilding, the magic store’s reopened. I can work there part-time. Plus, as much as I love you and I love living here, since Tray died...”
“Believe me, I understand.” We’d gone over this a few times.
“It’s not that I blame you,” Amelia said, trying to catch my eyes.
She really didn’t blame me. Since I could read her mind, I knew she was telling me the truth.
Even I didn’t totally blame myself, somewhat to my surprise.
It was true that Tray Dawson, Amelia’s lover and a Were, had been killed while he’d been acting as my bodyguard. It was true that I’d requested a bodyguard from the Were pack nearest me because they owed me a favor and my life needed guarding. However, I’d been present at the death of Tray Dawson at the hands of a sword-wielding fairy, and I knew who was responsible.
So I didn’t feel guilty, exactly. But I felt heartsick about losing Tray, on top of all the other horrors. My cousin Claudine, a full-blooded fairy, had also died in the Fae War, and since she’d been my real, true fairy godmother, I missed her in a lot of ways. And she’d been pregnant.
I had a lot of pain and regret of all kinds, physical and mental. While Amelia carried an armful of clothes downstairs, I stood in her bedroom, gathering myself. Then I braced my shoulders and lifted a box of bathroom odds and ends. I descended the stairs carefully and slowly, and I made my way out to her car. She turned from depositing the clothes across the boxes already stowed in her trunk. “You shouldn’t be doing that!” she said, all anxious concern. “You’re not healed yet.”
“Not hardly. You always jump when someone comes into the room and surprises you, and I can tell your wrists hurt,” she said. She grabbed the box and slid it into the backseat. “You still favor that left leg, and you still ache when it rains. Despite all that vamp blood.”
“The jumpiness’ll get better. As time passes, it won’t be so fresh and at the front of my mind,” I told Amelia. (If telepathy had taught me anything, it was that people could bury the most serious and painful of memories, if you gave them enough time and distraction.) “The blood is not just any vampire’s. It’s Eric’s blood. It’s strong stuff. And my wrists are a lot better.” I didn’t mention that the nerves were jumping around in them like hot snakes just at this moment, a result of their having been tied together tightly for several hours. Dr. Ludwig, physician to the supernatural, had told me the nerves — and the wrists — would be back to normal, eventually.
“Yeah, speaking of the blood . . .” Amelia took a deep breath and steeled herself to say something she knew I wouldn’t like. Since I heard it before she actually voiced it, I was able to brace myself. “Had you thought about... Sookie, you didn’t ask me, but I think you better not have any more of Eric’s blood. I mean, I know he’s your man, but you got to think about the consequences. Sometimes people get flipped by accident. It’s not like it’s a math equation.”
Though I appreciated Amelia’s concern, she’d trespassed into private territory. “We don’t swap,” I said. Much. “He just has a sip from me at, you know . . . the happy moment.” These days Eric was having a lot more happy moments than I was, sadly. I kept hoping the bedroom magic would return; if any male could perform sexual healing, that male would be Eric.
Amelia smiled, which was what I’d been aiming for. “At least...”
She turned away without finishing the sentence, but she was thinking, At least you feel like having sex.
I didn’t so much feel like having sex as I felt like I ought to keep trying to enjoy it, but I definitely didn’t want to discuss that. My ability to cast aside control, which is the key to good sex, had been pinched out of existence during the torture. I’d been absolutely helpless. I could only hope that I’d recover in that area, too. I knew Eric could feel my lack of completion. He’d asked me several times if I was sure I wanted to engage in sex. Nearly every time, I said yes, operating on the bicycle theory. Yes, I’d fallen off. But I was always willing to try to ride it again.
“So, how’s the relationship doing?” she said. “Aside from the whoopee.” Every last thing was in Amelia’s car. She was stalling, dreading the moment when she actually got into her car and drove away.
It was only pride that was keeping me from bawling all over her.
“I think we’re getting along pretty well,” I said with a great effort at sounding cheerful. “I’m still not sure what I feel as opposed to what the bond is making me feel.” It was kind of nice to be able to talk about my supernatural connection to Eric, as well as my regular old man-woman attraction. Even before my injuries during the Fae War, Eric and I had established what the vampires called a blood bond, since we’d exchanged blood several times. I could sense Eric’s general location and his mood, and he could feel the same things about me. He was always faintly present in the back of my mind — sort of like turning on a fan or an air filter to provide a little buzz of noise that would help you get to sleep. (It was good for me that Eric slept all day, because I could be by myself at least part of the time. Maybe he felt the same way after I went to bed at night?) It wasn’t like I heard voices in my head or anything — at least no more than usual. But if I felt happy, I had to check to make sure it was me and not Eric who felt happy. Likewise for anger; Eric was big on anger, controlled and carefully banked anger, especially lately. Maybe he was getting that from me. I was pretty full of anger myself these days.
I’d forgotten all about Amelia. I’d stepped right into my own trough of depression.
She snapped me out of it. “That’s just a big fat excuse,” she said tartly. “Come on, Sookie. You love him, or you don’t. Don’t keep putting off thinking about it by blaming everything on your bond. Wah, wah, wah. If you hate the bond so much, why haven’t you explored how you can get free of it?” She took in the expression on my face, and the irritation faded out of her own. “Do you want me to ask Octavia?” she asked in a milder voice. “If anyone would know, she would.”
“Yes, I’d like to find out,” I said, after a moment. I took a deep breath. “You’re right, I guess. I’ve been so depressed I’ve put off making any decisions, or acting on the ones I’ve already made. Eric’s one of a kind. But I find him . . . a little overwhelming.” He was a strong personality, and he was used to being the big fish in the pond. He also
knew he had infinite time ahead of him.
I did not.
He hadn’t brought that up yet, but sooner or later, he would.
“Overwhelming or not, I love him,” I continued. I’d never said it out loud. “And I guess that’s the bottom line.”
“I guess it is.” Amelia tried to smile at me, but it was a woeful attempt. “Listen, you keep that up, the self-knowledge thing.” She stood for a moment, her expression frozen into the half smile. “Well, Sook, I better get on the road. My dad’s expecting me. He’ll be all up in my business the minute I get back to New Orleans.”
Amelia’s dad was rich, powerful, and had no belief in Amelia’s power at all. He was very wrong not to respect her witchcraft. Amelia had been born with the potential for the power in her, as every true witch is. Once Amelia had some more training and discipline, she was going to be really scary — scary on purpose, rather than because of the drastic nature of her mistakes. I hoped her mentor, Octavia, had a program in place to develop and train Amelia’s talent.
After I waved Amelia down the driveway, the broad smile dropped from my face. I sat on the porch steps and cried. It didn’t take much for me to be in tears these days, and my friend’s departure was just the trigger now. There was so much to weep about.
My sister-in-law, Crystal, had been murdered. My brother’s friend Mel had been executed. Tray and Claudine and Clancy the vampire had been killed in the line of duty. Since both Crystal and Claudine had been pregnant, that added two more deaths to the list.
Probably that should have made me long for peace above all else. But instead of turning into the Bon Temps Gandhi, in my heart I held the knowledge that there were plenty of people I wanted dead. I wasn’t directly responsible for most of the deaths that were scattered in my wake, but I was haunted by the feeling that none of them would have happened if it weren’t for me. In my darkest moments — and this was one of them — I wondered if my life was worth the price that had been paid for it. --This text refers to the mass_market edition.
- ASIN : B00329UW8Q
- Publisher : Ace; Reprint edition (May 7, 2010)
- Publication date : May 7, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 3086 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 370 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,718 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Don’t get me wrong, I love this series. I have read it more than once, and I hardly ever re-read books. I would have to say though that Dead In the Family felt like a bridge book between two bigger books, if that makes sense. I noticed when I hit page 260 (in a 311 page book), that I was still waiting for the plot to get going. I guess that’s when I realized that all of this talking really was the plot. It was weird. Usually, I can count on my pulse to race several times while reading Charlaine Harris (either from the action packed plot or steamy Eric scenes), but I did get those feelings until I was in the final ten pages.
Don’t get me wrong… I still love this series, and I will be waiting in line for the next installment, but I felt this was one of the weaker books of the series. I do have to say that I liked certain developments in the characters. It turns out that sexy cousin Claude actually does have a personality. In a moment of feeling her age, Sookie contemplates turning vamp for the first time. We also see the impenetrable Eric at his most vulnerable. These are all necessary for the continuation of the series. I just wish the pacing would have been a little stronger.
Overall, I give Dead In the Family…
Plot Development – 2 bookmarks (not bad, but not what I’m used to with Harris)
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Fight Scenes – 1 ½ bookmarks
Hot Steamy Vampire Sex – 1 bookmark
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – I can’t help myself. The TV series True Blood has wiped out all of the casting imagination I have and replaced it with the TV actors. Part of the reason that happened though is because the TV casting was so brilliant. Eric Northman is my favorite male in the series and Alexander Skarsgard has completely won me over with his Eric performance. I’ve always thought Bill was a weenie, so the fact that I don’t find Stephen Moyer that hot does not detract from things for me. Anna Paquin does a great job bringing camp and craziness to Sookie. Oh, and Ryan Kwanten as Jason is so unbelievably hot. (It’s also nice that he's agreed to save on the show’s wardrobe budget by going naked most of the time!)
Don't get me wrong, this book is by no means bad. It just could have been better. Moreover, having followed the series and now rereading it, I sense the growing lack of "depth," and "focus", for lack of a better words, and even the 2nd time around I find it very unfortunate and dismaying. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book, Love the series and am off to reread the next book.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
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.
I read this book in a day and no not because it was amazing and exciting and gripping but because nothing happened.?.
Im not sure if what i just read actually constitutes a book?
We catch up with sookie in the aftermath of the fae war - a darker version of her former sunny self. She is with Eric which of course is good cos i don't like Bill but the relationship had no depth to it and was pretty flat. We meet Alcide and his pack again as they run on sookie's land and she does them another couple of favours. Eric's maker shows up with a new "child" in tow - Alexei Romanov. (I do love how harris uses historical figures in her books). There are also a couple of corpses and some unknown fairies roaming around which pose a threat to sookie. oh and claude moves in too.
You would think that with all that to work with there would be a semi decent plot. You would be wrong. I gave this book 2 stars purely because I love this series and the characters and in all honesty the book wasn't dreadful...it just wasn't any good either. As some reviewers have put it Sookie gets a break in this book and she certainly does - it was all just fluff and any attempt at a plot just fizzled out and nothing connected.
For those new to the Sookie novels don't start with this one or you will most likely be left bored, disappointed and confused to what all the fuss is about. (Im not kidding - NOTHING happens in this book).
For fans of the sookie novels probably buy it just in case charlaine harris gets this series back on track. If she doesn't i won't be holding on to these books much longer - i only keep books i will re-read and this was nothing special. I have pre-ordered the next one - I live in hope.
Oh and just to get really picky to wrap this up - what is with the cover art? Lafayette may be live and kicking on Trueblood but he died ages ago in the books and so certainly shouldn't be on the cover of this one! Oh and Jessica was a creation of the TV show and has never been in the books at all. love the logic with that one!
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).