Top critical review
And this is what happens when you draaaaaag out your vision past your original intent. Oh Lord. Ho hum.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 7, 2012
Alright peeps, this is kinda a long purge but then I'm done. Bare with me.
For the most part, I was bored. Yes bored. There were moments that resonated & were bittersweet but really, I was bored.
Previously, much like many other fans I was a voracious & enthusiastic reader of this series but now I'm just as tired as the main heroine & author herself. What once had devilish mystery, gothic sex appeal, guileless charm & snarky, dry humor is now a flat, beat, tried pancake left on the stovetop to fry. I am really sad about this & I think many others are or will be too. We are mourning a once great series that seemed to but a cut above the rest in the genre for so many reasons.
Not that I hadn't seen this happening after the lobotomized 9th book, DAG (literally, if I had known the title of her 8th book, From Dead to Worse, was foreshadowing of what was to become of the series, I would've spared myself & lived in blissful ignorance).
However, I foolishly had hope in Harris. There were huge, big moments in DIF & DR. Moments that required, IMO, the reader to finally gain some insight which required the author to actually contextualize the emotional depth & growth of our once plucky heroine.
Did we get any of that? Nope. Nada. Zilch & yet we're supposed to go along with this ride & just eat it up like good, faithful little fans b'c she can do what she wants? How dare we express an opinion other than what we actually know is true? What we know has been the overarching storyline this entire time?
I don't think so.
1st let me summarize the basics of which none of us should be surprised:
- Oh that Harris sure is a wild card. Loves the big semi-cliffy ending but then never gets to a real resolution in the next book.
- B'c Debbie Pelt has been beat to death we have Jannalyn as a replacement.
- Claude who never liked Sookie = Betrayal
- Bill still likes to dress Sookie as a slut while 'on the job'.
- Pam = cryptic messages to her "friend"
- Everyone still gets attracted to Sookie & Bill still loves her.
- De Castro was letting the scooby gang deal with his Victor issue.
- A baddie who is a rapist tries to get handsy with Sookie
- Eric has been rejected plus neutered & spayed & ruins her birthday yet does in fact love Sookie & practically begs for her to use the way out.
- The Cluviel deus ex machina gets used on Sam (& I'm not blaming her, any true friend would do the same in that situation).
- Sookie still avoids the big emotional (i.e. required) confrontations & still doesn't get it when she has the brief ones.
Now I'll get into the fundamentals.
Like usual (roll the eyes) you have Sooks fleeing from the necessary conversation & then turning around, pointing contradictory fingers & making hypocritical statements.
For example; the same night after she walks in on Eric feeding another woman b'c of a Felipe De Castro welcoming house party gone tricky & said woman winds up dead in Eric's yard, Sookie decided to forgo any real attempt at conversation & just has sex with him b'c it's easy. Yes....Charlaine, we get it. Trying to show us that the sex is clouding the judgement as it did with Bill but this is beyond that come on. We have all followed the story arc. One that has been building up the relationship for the past 12 books. Books dedicated to just Sookie & Eric primarily or had a large sub-story that indirectly about them, but I digress.
Then you have Sookie, the very next night when Eric calls on his way over (I'm guessing to discuss what the F happened) impulsively & childishly tells him "No", hangs up & runs away from the situation again.
We have the usual (& now inane) inner chatter, you know the ones right? The variation of the same theme where she says something like; "I know I should pay attention to that but will store it away to think about at a later date." Which is just Harris throwing it out there trying to pacify the audience into thinking they'll actually get a frickin' answer at some point.
And then as a result of all of the above, we then have her being a total hot mess. Panicking, accusing, feeling maudlin & sorry for herself, lashing out, acting rashly & just simply...not....thinking as in; getting in the car with Van & 2 other strange were's & Bill letting her go? Hello? Ridiculous.
Not only has she lived through some serious trauma & is in imminent danger but she's a telepath! Regardless of not totally hearing were brains, she gets something when she tries hard enough. This was just lazy reason to move plot along however, at the expense of Sookie. It's a prime example of her not actually questioning immediately the very things she should.
Or how about when she doesn't immediately call the people she should & relaying exactly what has just happened in order to protect herself & her supposed loved ones?
You know what's funny, I'm just gonna say it, Twilight was popular b'c it had this factor. Didn't matter that it didn't have sex, it had the heart to hearts that were required & that's the truth. Just sayin'.
Instead, Sooks has to feel sorry for herself while moisturizing or shaving etc.
Bloody Sookie already....haven't we learned to confront the bull, be just generally smarter given your experiences & nip this BS in the bud?
Yes, this book is revealing her all of her major trust issues (trusting the wrong people, not trusting the ones she should IMO), she's paranoid, full of anxiety & insecurities, I assuming this is being shown in order to prep us for the big reveal in the end.
Personally, after all this, I think it would be great if she ends up with Eric so all of the fretting & building has not been all for naught.
That in someway, this storyline has been about Sookie learning to love, about relationship & commitment & watching her work it out. That would be the most adult thing that could happen here.
And there were hints along this line such as: I watched television for a while--an old black-and-white movie about a man and a woman who loved one another but had to overcome all sorts of things to be together & then the next line was her trying to answer Jeopardy! questions & not being able to answer them.
So to me....that was pretty much what was going on in a nutshell. They'll work it out but the relationship is currently in jeopardy b'c she doesn't have the answers yet.
However, as much as I'd like to be confident about that - I have no real idea b'c I've lost faith in the author due to all of this dragging out, the continuity issues (wasn't it in book 1 that Eric had to drink very little b'c of how old he is? Only a sip, according to what Bill told Sookie)? It's still a possibility we've been privy to the kinks b'c THAT'S the growth we're witnessing but even if that's the case, her lack of communication & confounding behavior as a result makes me think not.
I know most people are thinking she's gonna end up with Sam. Yes, it looks that way however, if Harris is just playing with her audience as she loves to do with this subject - there is still an out if in fact she is just scaring things up & is in fact, trying to portray a relationship about a man & a woman who love one another but had to overcome all sorts of things to be together. Get my drift?
But back to why I think the Sam thing is BS...it's illogical to the point of absurdity just down to the sheer fact that there has been barely any context to give that the emotional resonance required after all of these books, he's also had barely any page time. However, I'm not saying people are wrong. They're probably right. I just think it winds up making the series worthless which would be a real shame here.
So let me just touch on why I find it so confounding of a premise.
I mean really then.... ALL of this could've been resolved in book 1 or 2. Sam wanted Sookie in those books but CH said the whole premise of Sookie was what would it be like for a human girl to date a vampire? So what...it all comes full circle & she ends up where she began after she's had her supernatural dalliance? It would be the equivalent Bobby Ewing episode of Dallas... it was all a dream. Come on...what a cop-out & most of us know it.
Then what was the point of Book 4? Of being so cagey & leading the audience on for 5 books to then reveal the spell was "Hearts Desire", the blood bond, all the protection & saving, proposals, actually being married, killing Appius with the bond & Sooks actually leading the charge to kill Victor without the bond? For the publishing blurb for DR to refer to Sookie "losing what she value's most" which winds up being Eric after the Freyda reveal?
I'm gonna go out on a limb & say if it's not Eric, it's Sooks on her own. I've been saying this for the last couple of books but this comment caught my attention; "I'm not going to worry about who would take his place. I don't have to be anyone's girlfriend. I do okay by myself."
However there is a bottom line for me, I've figured it out, why I am fundamentally hating all of this.
Sookie still doesn't know who the hell she is or maybe CH thinks she does but b'c she isn't very effective explaining or giving depth to her growth & still sweeps the much needed relationship talks under the carpet, Sooks comes across bratty & contradictory.
I just have no patience for that. Esp. not his character who has been through SO much. I do expect more, yes I do sorry to say.
For cripes sake! We as the reader know better by now, why doesn't this character after all the beatings, manipulations abuse & betrayals she's been through? I hate that. HATE that. When I see an author give the reader the tools to understand & contextualize & then have the main character bluster on like she just feel off the turnip truck for whatever reason....
Why? B'c the author is trying to show that the character is afraid of the truth or b'c for the writer, they're emotional stunted & writing a much needed conversation is something they're not comfortable with?
Denial is not just a river in Egypt, iI think the answer is the latter if I'm being honest.
As far as Ms. Harris, I really would like to remain a fan & to be able to glowingly recommend her. I never wanted to feel so uninspired and faithless about this series or her writing. I don't think any fan wants to come to this point, in regard to their favorite authors or series, I know I don't in spite of many authors letting me & their own series down after losing the plot or stretching it out b'c of it's sudden popularity. Which is what's happened here unfortunately and I do say that with mourning.
I have previously had so much fun with friends & strangers discussing & dissecting these books but really, I am exasperated by the attitude I've detected for a long, long while now.
Underneath there seems to be a simmering bitterness or resentment of her readers which translates to the page. I highly doubt I'll pick up another one of her books no matter if I get the outcome I think the series is due after all this carrying on.