Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2011
I've been wondering all the previous books what Eric/Sookie relationship would be like and I got more then I bargained for. I just finished the book, so I'd like to mention the strange ending - I can just see Eric's perception if he walks into Sookie's bedroom to find her sleeping on the bed with two male full blown fairies. That's a little weird, and has some interesting sexual connotations if you ask me. I don't think the whole "cousin" "grandfather" thing really means as much to fairies as it does to humans.
Reading about Eric's life from Sookies' perspective is a little like watching a UN summit in NY. Machinations, everyone claims their loyalty to one cause, everyone is only interested in their self-interest and they will lie, cheat, steal, invade and murder to get it. Eric's life is so political, and I was very curious how Sookie was going to handle the challenge of that life. Eric seems to, unlike Bill..., want her to be a part of that life, wants her as part of it, to play a role in it. He insists that to him she is his wife, with everything that it means to him. I hope that she realizes the gravity of that, and the consequences of breaking the wows of that, especially when we look at the Rhodes summit. Even a Queen can be accused.
I love how she embraces that political and treacherous life, how she becomes an asset in Eric's family of 2 (I don't count his maker and Alexei, they are more like long distance relatives) she protects, she plots with them, she rationalizes where the loyalties and gaps in loyalties lie, and she develops the ruthless streak that is necessary to survive in that environment. I find a savage gratification in watching her kill one of her two attackers with a dagger that Pam gives her, and even more when she says that she wants Victor's death, then plots to use Alexei as the impetus for that, its a transformation that is necessary if she is to join their life. Is that part of having so much vampire blood? Or a remnant of her savage fairy heritage? Perhaps she is naturally suited for it? She has truly become so much colder and scheming then the first book, and everyone notices this. She has become as cold and plotting as the men she has loved, Bill and Eric. Her connection with Pam is further evidence that the family of two, Eric and Pam, is accepting her into its ranks. It seems that Pam and Eric, Pam more so, are trying, instead of sheltering and protecting her, give her her own ammunition against the elements that surround her. Instead of protecting her, they are giving her a sword of her own, and she is getting very good at using it.
There is something very interesting in the end of the book, and I don't know if anyone else noticed this or what they think of it, but there is a strange balance between this growing "fairy family" and the "vampire family." One of the fairies notices this, when he tells her that dead things love her. But she is the opposite of dead, she loves the sun, and the sky, and warmth. The only way that she can be pulled away from her vampire family is by another call of her blood, the call of the new fairy energy that surrounds her. They pull to her, Claudine, Claude - and they create a dynamic that is very opposite of the dark and ruthless vampire politics. There is so much more savagery in her. From a woman who is saving a vampire from being drained - not even killed (she could have let them drain him and then freed him before the sun came up, but she chose to defend him instead) to a woman who willingly plots to kill a powerful vampire official, who shoots a woman point blank with a shotgun. If Sookie will not turn vamp, it will be because of the pull of her fairy family. But other then that, in all ways except the actual dying and coming back to life, she is now a vampire herself. She follows their rules, she is a part of a coven, she is married to one, she works for them, she schemes with them, she hates and murders her enemies, she fits into their world, and she carries a large amount of their blood in her.
Eric and Sookie... Just because they are not having sex as supernatural enemies are attacking their house does not mean that the heat isn't in their relationship. From what I gather, sex with Eric is amazing, not just because of some graphic descriptions, but because she is constantly craving him. But its not an affair anymore, they are in a relationship. They share parts of their lives together, they talk about their worries and concerns, and they developed a bond that is very different from her blood bond and much more powerful in my view. Concerning how vamp to vamp relationships are usually short lived and don't last - how long is exactly short lived when you are immortal? The books, say that its usually longer then a human life span. All of you married people - do you think that if you were immortal and almost omnipotent, do you think you wouldn't break up with your husbands after about 300 years, spend a few 100 years sowing your oats, then get back together again, and so forth? Add the fact that you don't have children or any other family members to tie you together, and you can see where that can lead. Human marriages are meant to last 60, 70 years the most, not a 1,000.
I agree, Bill should have died. I read someone's post that he was meant to die but the publisher talked the writer out of it, or something like that. It makes sense. I once read that if love can't show itself in satisfaction, it must show itself in self-sacrifice. Its a quote out of a fiction novel where two men loved the same woman. One ended up with her, while the other gave his life to save them both. If Bill would have died from silver poisoning, it would have been a morbid validation of the Eric/Sookie relationship.
Finally, love that the plot is not so intense and slow moving in this book. This book accomplished what I truly wanted, which is to allow the Sookie/Eric relationship to develop in comfortable conditions, without the involvement of constant extreme circumstances. Because it dealt mostly with inconveniences of family problems and politics of the supernatural world, it was about Sookie getting sucked into this world and finding her place in it, not about her fighting off attackers with some loose associations from friendly creatures. She has a position now; she is a subject of Area 5, she is part of Eric and Pam family, she is under the protection of the Nevada king and is his subject, she is the consort and wife of the sheriff of Area 5, and she has a close alliance with the Shreveport Werewolf pack. These are all specific titles, these all define her positions. She is struggling with this, for example when she calls Eric her boyfriend, but as far as the supernatural community and the vampire leadership are concerned, she is his wife - a political position, very different from girlfriend. I can't wait for the next book, as I am sure it will bring even more brutality to her personality. The pile of dead bodies in the books doesn't even phase her anymore. I know the writer said that she will not be turned and will live out her life as a human, but that would require some extreme changes, and I hope that her vampire family will survive them, although it doesn't seem likely. That is the only reason why I could see her drifting away from the "dead" world. I'm actually imagining her joining the vampire and werewolf representatives in washington and petitioning for their cause.
Thank you, Mrs. Harris, this was truly delicious and finally satisfied my Eric itch the way their steamy scenes just couldn't! Please, not Sam/Sookie. I know he dates some pretty volatile, powerful women, but when it comes to Sookie, he is like wilted lettuce.