Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead in the Family (Book 10 in the Sookie Stackhouse series of novels)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Ace, 2010 (Hardcover)
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Adult; Fantasy
Started: May 8, 2010
Finished: May 13, 2010

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place …or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives …

A warning now, this will probably not make much sense unless you've read all the previous books in the series. If you don't like to spoiled in any way, play it safe and don't read this.

Finally, my guilty pleasure read. Sadly, I'm finished it now and will probably have to wait another year for the next book, which I will be begging for based on how this one ended. I'll say right off the bat, not much happens in this book. It happens in long series where some books will be more like bridges connecting them to bigger events that happen either before or after, this would be my definition of a bridge book (Book 6, Definitely Dead, had a similar feel). Not much actually happens plot-wise except for a lot of vampire and werewolf politics, but there is some development in secondary areas: Sookie gets to spend more time with her nephew Hunter, Bill has issues recovering from silver poisoning, and Claude turns out to be not as big of an ass as we thought he was. It's not until about three quarters into the book that some actual action takes place, which really makes me want the next book because this one left quite a few things unresolved at the end, so I know Book 11 will be a doozy. I think Claude stole this book for me, I love my male characters that act like bastards, and Claude does it so well, I was laughing my head off at some parts. The book is much darker than previous ones, granted all the books have their dark moments but the overall tone is usually lighthearted, whereas this one is actually kind of depressing due to Sookie's changing attitudes during her recovery. I felt like Alexei's character was thrown together for filler's sake, but his story actually does work out in the overall plot.

Again, it's darker and not a lot going on plot-wise, but this all builds up to events in the next book (or so I hope). Skip the hardcover version this time around and get it from the library or get the paperback in a year's time (I went with the eBook version myself).

Thoughts on the cover:
The covers for recent installments have been getting better, but still very cheesy. This one is a little misleading because though it alludes to more romance between Sookie and Eric but the book wasn't very romance-heavy this time around. I love the little sparkly details on Sookie's dress, which I noticed they started adding since Book 8, From Dead to Worse.

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