I have managed to finish this novel in a day (it is a fairly easy read), however I found my attention span waning many times throughout.
The story involves a potential “fairy” war, with Sookie a possible target, a separate murder mystery that Bon Temps faces yet again, some FoS discrimination against the newly outed Weres, and of course the usual “who does Sookie sorta love” drama.
A scene featuring a (typical – yet fun) argument with Eric:
“Can you doubt that I want what’s best for you?”
“I don’t doubt that you want what you think is best for me,” I said. “And I don’t doubt that that marches right along with what you think is good for you.”
Victor laughed. “She knows you well, Eric,” he said and we both glared at him. “Ooops,” he said, and pretended to zip his mouth shut.
Perhaps I am jaded due to all the deeply passionate romance novels I have been reading lately, but this one simply left me discouraged. While there was a touch of romance, I found Sookie to be simply too fickle. While I understand the underlying reasoning (her apprehension towards what her true feelings are vs. what might be influenced by her blood bond with Eric), the whole situation left me annoyed. I do commend the “independence” of the character (not giving herself completely over to love), and insisting on complete honesty (without any underlying ploy). Her wariness cannot be completely avoided considering the past circumstances. However, there doesn’t seem to be enough emotional connection with Sookie. Instead, she mostly just toys with him. Considering how she felt in book 3, and how Eric now remembers their time together, why must it continue to be so challenging? She apparently still feels deeply for him, and Eric seems to be grasping at any possible way to forge a commitment, yet her continued resistance to him seems unjustified (as if the author might be creating the delay for the sake of stretching out the drama in the series).
“You’re mine,” he said. Then he noticed my frown and amended his words hastily. “You’re only my lover. not Quinn’s, not Sam’s, not Bill’s.” There was a long pause. “Aren’t you?” he said.
A relationship discussion initiated by a guy. This was different, if I went by stories I’d heard from the other barmaids.
The first half of the book bored me somewhat. It felt like a day to day list of Sookie’s activities (with the occasional bump in the road to shake things up a bit). Perhaps Ms. Harris had not exactly resolved where she wanted the book to go, but the feeling I got from the first part was that it was a writing warm-up session, by the way of a wordy day to day account of Sookie’s life.
She wakes up, she has coffee, she contemplates her roommates, she goes to work, someone gets in a fist fight, someone is drunk, she goes to bed (I was frequently disappointed here…as night time is the right time for surprise sexy vampire visitors, but alas, there was mostly no “nookie” for Sookie – tee hee!). Next day starts, she wakes up, tans, there’s a murder or two, some investigations, she goes to work, and on and on. Every once in awhile, Sookie has potentially meaningful conversations with other characters, but we are frequently left indifferent, as her erratic ruminations always seem to interrupt the flow between her and others.
By the middle of the book, I was somewhat satiated. I was not convinced, however, that Sookie’s apparent nonchalance towards Eric, suited the atmosphere of some of the scenes.
“This is best,” he whispered, and his voice had that accent I caught occasionally, that hint of a time and place that were so far distant I could not imagine them. “This is the best,” he said again. “This is right.”
I will admit that I am partial to Eric. I suppose that Ms. Harris may have steered us towards rooting for him as Sookie’s true love. I do suspect that the author may be changing her stance on this, which given my affection towards these characters, and Eric himself, leaves me feeling frustrated.
Don’t get me wrong, I will always anxiously await, and eagerly read, any book continuing the Sookie Stackhouse series, however, after the anticipation of the release of this book, I have been left nonplussed (just as I was in the last book – more of the same). My favorite books in the series are 2 and 3, but as a whole, other than the last two installments, the series has been great! The flirtation was fun, the romance and even the love triangle was exhilarating. There was love, along with action and danger, and these books were THE guilty pleasure that I could not resist. I feel that the series is ebbing. While the danger is still intense, and the enemies still abound, Sookie’s casualness is starting to irritate me…
Check out the entire series reading order guide right here ——> Charlaine Harris – Southern Vampire Mysteries Reading Order: