Dead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
Welllllll…..I dunno. It’s got Eric in it. So that’s good. I love Eric. Any book in the series I will read – and overall, enjoy by default – as long as it’s got Eric in it. Other than that, I was left a little bewildered. The magic…where did it go? I kept wondering, were all the books in the series like this? Did I just not realize it when I first read the series, because I was so new to the genre?
Sookie appears to have lost some emotion. Well not exactly, but when Sookie appeared to have emotion, I never “felt” it. She’s nonchalant about Eric, Bill, and anyone for that matter. She’s quick to muse about her sexual attraction, and how important her friends are to her, but not about truly loving any of them. While it makes sense that Sookie’s emotional distance might be attributed to the trauma she has recently escaped from, I’ve found Sookie, as of the last few books, to be annoyingly unaffected despite some very earnest moments.
Sookie’s thoughts, as usual, are airy and fleeting. Every little detail is described in her daily life, from where somebody went to eat to the history of the restaurant they ate at. While this helps “set” the atmosphere of where she lives, I found there was too much extraneous detail.
In this book, she is supposedly in a “committed” relationship with Eric. Great right? What I’ve always wanted? So what’s my problem? Unfortunately I don’t know how that came to be. We really didn’t get to see much of how they finally got there. Oh – don’t get me wrong – she’s been on and off with Eric since book 3? 4? (and that’s been a wild ride – I loved the tension). Of course, this is what I’ve been waiting for. However, right up to the second last book, her emotional flip-flopping seemed unresolved. Yet in this one, it’s a given. They’re together and not just because of their “impromptu/political” marriage. They are together.
Eric eventually explains why he was missing in action during the attack on her life (at the time, he too was was being physically restrained).
My initial reaction to Eric’s explanation was bitter disappointment. I’d heard this story before. A vampire more powerful than me made me do it.
A sigh worthy moment:
“While you were with Neave and Lochlan, I suffered with you,” he said, meeting my eyes directly. “I hurt with you. I bled with you – not only because we’re bonded, but because of the love I have for you.”
Another beautiful part from this scene (however the last sentence, while quite “deep”, left me somewhat exasperated. I just can’t seem to relate yet, to Sookie’s relentless emotionally-guarded self):
Finally, something inside me relaxed at the logic of his story. I believed him in my heart, not just in my head.
A red tear fell on my bare shoulder and coursed down. I swept it up with my finger, putting my finger to his lips – offering his pain back to him. I had plenty of my own.
Eric is not his usual self in this one. He was wonderful, but I was confused. In this one, his heart was always right out there for her to see. He was loving, funny, and even somewhat silly (at one point he has her run and jump into his arms for a wonderfully romantic embrace – sweet…but… Eric did this? Really?).
Again, I kept thinking that the series was missing a book, or a seriously *big* part out of this one. We went from a sexy, demanding, emotionally-guarded Eric to a tender and loving Eric in this book. Emotional, reaching out to Sookie, and always concerned about her well being, (holding her and even crying with her when she had nightmares). He repeatedly asked if she loved him, telling her when he missed her, freaking out when she was in danger…It was the Eric of “Dead to the World”. Loved him, but I almost felt sorry for him, and one must NEVER feel sorry for Eric. That’s just too weird. He’s too strong and powerful for that. And yet, I did. Sookie never really gave him that emotional intensity back.
“I think you know how I feel,” he said in a whisper. “We are bonded. Can you believe I’m not thinking of you while I work? When my eyes open, I think of you, of every part of you.” His fingers got busy, and I gasped. This was direct, even for Eric. “Do you love me?” he asked, his eyes fixing mine.
“I love your body. I love what we do together. You make me laugh, and I love that. I like to watch you do anything.”
Huh? He’s fishing for you to finally tell him you love him, after his own recent tear-fest, holding you and easing you from your nightmares, and telling you how he felt about you, and THIS is your answer when he asks for it?
And then they “do it”. Ok. Whatever…*hrmph*
Ok one more favorite Eric moment:
“I love you,” Eric said in a drained voice. “And you are my wife, in the only way that matters to me.”
“Love you, too,” I said, passing on the last half of his closing statement because I didn’t know what it meant.
Oh come onnnnn Sookie!!! Give the guy a break! See!? See why I’m exasperated?? I think I need to step away from the book… lol!! Maybe to some, this is not considered a romance series, but the romantic aspect is undeniable, and I guess I’m still waiting…and hoping for that intensity.
So pretty much, this series starts off with Sookie mostly recovered from the physical damage the fairies did to her in the last book (emotionally, however, is another story). The fae war is over, but has left much damage in it’s wake.
After all the bloodshed, Niall concluded that peace among the fae and safety for humans could be reached only if the fae blocked themselves into their world. Brendan had achieved his ends by his own death. In my worst moment’s, I thought that Niall’s final decision had made the whole war unnecessary.
She misses Claudine but I began feeling uncomfortable when Sookie’s thoughts were mostly on the money Claudine left for her. Amelia moves out of Sookie’s house to deal with her punishment by the witches, and Claude (her gorgeous yet pretentious cousin) moves in with her. He was lonely, and felt the need to be near family. I liked that. It was an unexpected side of Claude, and getting to know him in this book was nice. Sookie also takes in her nephew for a sleep-over, and the three cousins appear to really bond. Sweet moment!
The “Weres” (and essentially all the two-natured) have issues with the government, and protestors. Stuff happens. Protestors protest, and laws are changing…As a result, there is some discord within their pacts.
Sookie is warned that there are fae that have been meeting on her property (and the smell indicates they are not Claude). Considering the fae were supposedly sealed back in their world, their are a few unknown “deserters” that are apparently still interested in Sookie.
Bill, well he’s still sad, and now ill too. Poisoned by fae in the last book, he is struggling to heal, and struggling even more with his will to live. And he still loves Sookie. A sweet moment there, but barely (as Sookie, again, shrugs him off). Which is fine with me, since Eric’s her man, but at some point, any passion from her would have been, I dunno..*something*. But we do get a little air time with Bill, and the results are nice, and something happens that left me slightly distracted, but I guess we’ll see in the next book.
Eric’s story is the best of all. While he is still struggling with the political power struggle of his position, he is suddenly faced with a more pressing issue to deal with. His maker has come back to see him (with a visitor in tow). That whole section is where I finally FELT something. Fear. It was…creepy.
I had a moment to look up at Eric, and I knew my face was asking, “What the hell is going on here?” But he looked stunned, and helpless. Eric. Helpless. My head was whirling.
I had no clue where it was going, but I was tense the entire time. Eric’s world turns upside down, and while I may have felt sorry for him in regards to Sookie, I was scared for him once his family showed up.
So there’s the summary. There’s more to the story, and the wrap-up is interesting enough, but it felt somewhat “choppy”. In my opinion, too much going on and not enough intensity in any of it. Sometimes, conversations would start (mostly between Sookie and Eric), and it would take me a few seconds to catch up with the flow (or lack of flow) of it. Perhaps a longer book would have helped “better” this glossed-over installment. I LOVE it because of what it is…another installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series…but I want more!
Some new characters, a few scenes with the ever-sarcastic Pam (“You’re my favorite breather“), sweet Sam and even sexy Alcide, but Sookie? Grrrrrr!
As Claude puts it:
It’s an elusive sent. Most vamps would think, ‘She smells good,’ and they’d enjoy being close to you. That would be the extent of it. Once they know you have fairy blood, they can attribute that enjoyment to it.
It’s a good thing she’s got fairy blood in her…I’m just sayin’
Check out the entire series reading order guide right here ——> Charlaine Harris – Southern Vampire Mysteries Reading Order: