Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2011
This story has a different tone from the previous books in the series, mainly because the tone of Sookies personality is quiet different. Of course, we have her in the first book, innocent, childish, boisterous, and so very pure. In the second book, we see the development of two main characters - one that has signaled her progression from a girl to a woman and the other obviously enigmatic because of the deeper complexity of the character itself.
Personally, I think that of all the male choices presented to Sookie, Eric, as is, is the only one worth contemplating. In fact, Sookie herself, while developing as a character, eventually seems a bit of a let-down. She has complained in the past that she is often called dumb because she is a barmaid at a bar in a local town with barely a High School education, yet in this book it is evident that she has no aspirations for any type of future. Its not as if she is saving up the money to open her own bar, or for taking a trip to NY to begin her career as an opera singer - she is HAPPY to be a barmaid in a small town in Louisiana. I have no problem with her profession or her life, but she makes no attempt, nor does she even consider, that maybe she could have a different life. It almost makes you want to scream: "...and you complain that people judge you as barmaid???"
Bill... I have personally known men like Bill. He is one of those men who create a longing in their warmer partners by their natural aloofness and coldness. Also... Its pretty sad that an over 170 year old man is still emotionally conflicted, emotionally immature, still doesn't know what or who he wants, and still doesn't know or understand how to treat women (in reference to his actions in the previous book.) His attitude in this book makes me want to slap him across his face, except instead all you can say "I knew it." This may be a rough statement from a woman, but his job of introducing her to womanhood, has been accomplished. As he is simply unable to be a true mate, its time for him to give better men a chance. Every decision he makes is seeded with inconsideration and well... idiocy. In addition, he gives a distinct slimy feeling, with his actions. This is just a feeling, but my slime meter is usually correct.
All other potential suitors, while portrayed as "nice guys" seem to be lacking - perhaps in depth, perhaps in that "spice" that would make them men worthy of a second look.
Eric... I know that many Eric fans were overjoyed with seeing Eric and Sookie develop their relationship, but I found it so disappointing that it was not, in reality, Eric who was present for it. It was a blank slate with Eric's body. This man is more then he appears at first glance. Unlike the slimy ex, who obviously thinks he is within rights to lie and hide himself from his mate, Eric has no problem telling her what he thinks, sometimes a bit roughly. It is also interesting to see that he is apparently the only male in this book who is actually emotionally mature enough to regard her as more then his possession. Bill treated her as his puppy, Eric considers her. Unlike Bill, Eric reads her well. Unlike Bill, he is not spending a 170 years wrestling with being a vampire. Really Bill, time to get over it. He is not dense, like Alcide and Sam are at times, when it comes to her. He is complex, intelligent, and powerful man and frankly, I'm hoping to see more character development in Sookie to see why she warrants his attentions.
Now to the depression. I suppose in an attempt to show the personal growth of the main character, the author has succeeded in taking an innocent young girl and turning her into a bitter, tired, disappointed, depressed woman, who has obviously stopped caring about her outer appearance and lost all self-respect. I mean, maybe a girl in her early 20's is a little too young to play the personality of a 45 year old divorcee just yet? I'm glad to know that a woman who attracts some of the most powerful beings in the world is satisfied with her career in the service industry, but really? Its been wonderful to see her develop a backbone, but I'm almost wishing to read the remaining novels from the first tense of another character. ANY other character.