Oh. My. God.
I have never been so disappointed and consequently, angry, by a book as I am right now and it is actually hard for me to type. My brain is exploding right now.
This is going to be a rant. This is going to contain cusses. This is also going to call out Tru Blood. People are going to either like this or not.
First - Tru Blood has killed this series. *cue outrage from fans of the HBO show*
For the record, this is not about those that like the show. I don't but it's not about the fans. It's about Harris' complacency and riding on the success of the show (which she absolutely should, she's one of my favorite authors and is definitely entitled to it) without giving thought to the books.
Harris is no longer writing for a book medium, to me she is writing something that may look good on the screen and damn the consequences. I want to know more about what is going on Sookie's head and not the same repetitive shit has been written in the past three books nor do I want to hear a diatribe about Christian morals that has been paraphrased from an earlier chapter. SHOW ME , do not TELL ME and for the love of God do not TELL ME something you've already told 450 words earlier.
The show is the campy cousin of the series and while the Stackhouse series has always balanced light, sexy and dark the last two books have been a stagnant mess. The characters have changed since this show into what's on the screen. I don't like the show, I don't want to read a veiled script for the show. Please remember those of us who had been fans of the book since before HBO needed a new show to take over the Sex and the City demographics.
Onto the book:
This is me reading the first half of the book:
Eric was a bitch in the book. This is not a spoiler because you will realize this in about six pages. This will in turn spoil the first 300 or so pages because we are then treated to the turmoil of the Sookie and Eric relationship. Not only do us fans get treated to the mistrust that Sookie has due to the bond, we get to experience Eric face pummel Pam and Sookie not having enough balls to ask why. Seems Sookie is content to live in her own world and complain "that Eric always makes decisions without her; like he's always done because let's face it, he's a fucking vampire and Sookie is a telepathic part Fae human and doesn't need to worry about half the stuff that goes on because she'll get it into her fool head to do something about it and then Oh, I don't know, DIE!
She goes on to complain that "Eric never talks to me about anything really important." Sook, you're not a college graduate but you're not an idiot. Please see the above reason.
Then "He's been too mopey and complainy since his maker - aka His Dad + Mentor - got all killed and stuff. By me." Yes, I actually can see your point here and Harris did not do a good job balancing the Eric that we know from the past ten books to this Eric who seems like he's thirteen and has just discovered a pimple the day before picture day. However, Eric has the right to be a bitch for about three pages before he stuffs those emotions back in like the Stone Cold Vampire we know he is. Yes, Eric has his moments of Diva-ism and just completely not getting the need for communication and choice that humans have but his behavior in three quarters was just disgraceful. I wanted to punch him in his lovely face.
Sookie should have stepped up and said something. She has no problem talking to Bill (even when they were dating) and had no trouble booting the Were-Tiger because he has mommy issues and she gives Sam the "what for" all the time. Why in the world would Sookie become a complacent brat about his silence? When she does decide to talk to him, she just lets things drop because ... the doorbell rings. UGH!
We are treated to a cast of characters that come and go like homeless people in a subway tunnel; with no real way to keep track of them. While they are interesting and familiar, you begin to realize that you do not have enough grace to care about them enough.
The middle of the book:
Characters are now caricatures of themselves, plots are messy and contrived, our heroine is growing harder and tougher and then all of a sudden becomes a weepy mess. You can't have it both ways!!!!
But now we are at the emotional/relationship core of the book. Sookie has, for awhile, been a little on edge about being bonded to Eric. It definitely has its advantages, one being he can come to her rescue when she ends up involved in a mess, not necessarily of her own making. But it also was sort of forced upon her, for her own good. Like a child, she doesn't like to be forced to do anything. So she treats the bond like a four year treats broccoli on its plate; she simply removes it. Thanks Amelia! At least you had a purpose in this book! Thank Fuck! #extrasarcasm
Of course, because Eric doesn't have anything else to worry about and since he's calmed down a bit from his previous PMSing, you can sympathize with his WTF attitude when he calls Sookie to make sure she's not dead. Because that's what the absence of the bond traditionally means. Sookie, not using her brain just didn't think about what this would do to Eric. Basically it's about testing their relationship. Does he really want to be with her if they weren't bonded? Clearly Sookie has amnesia because she doesn't remember that Eric has been pursuing her forever and in the fourth book (my favorite) when he amnesia loved her. He remembers what he felt and essentially what it's like to feel a book or two ago. But you know, that doesn't count for shit.
And let's not forget the Alcide incident.
Did Harris just stick Alcide in because he's in the new season of Tru Blood or was there an actual reason? Did we need a naked Alcide to tell us that Janalynn thinks of Sookie as a rival? I didn't and it wasn't even all that amusing. All it led to was the removal of some secondary characters that had outlived their purpose. So, um, thanks?
The only person who was at all entertaining and true to form was Pam. I wish this whole book had been from her point of view because by the end of the book I was tired of this mirror-world circus.
The end of the book:
Oy with the poodles already.
At this point it has taken me one week to finish this book. I usually devour the Stackhouse books when they come out and finish it in one night. I'm ready to end this book and move on to something else.
The end was the only high point and not just because it was done but because this is where the meat of the story actually occurs.
with the plot to kill Victor underway and the faeries out of the house and the babyshower on the way (where the hell did that even come from)the action starts. Sookie, in a very weird unchracteristic Sookie move, removes her clothing, runs starkers into Bill's house and huddles up with him as two humans plan to kidnap her and bring her to Sandra Pelt. Oh, did I mention that Sandra Pelt is out and has no bearing on the larger part of the story, which is....well, I'm not sure but Sandra comes in fits and starts. Since the book opened with her firebombing the bar, setting Sookie and Sam together (I know a lot of people don't get it but they would be a very good couple) and causing the Eric hissy fit, it make sense that her death would be the final action in the book. Anyhoooooo, so, Sookie actually plans the death of Victor and then the night when the vamps all go into battle frenzy mode, she becomes a hypocrite and is disgusted by the actions. Good call Eric (he's the one who called her out) but probably not a smart relationship move at the time. However, I like how you bit her and made it hurt because at that point, she needed some sense to clear her head. I mean, she planned and participated in the attack. I get that she doesn't like gore and that could make anyone sick but to not at least acknowledge how important the actions were, well yeah, I can see how you're harshing everyone's buzz.
Oh, wait, did I mention that there's another plot thread? Eric has basically been sold to the Queen of Oklahoma and though he and Sookie are married, he would have to drop her like the leaden hot potato she's become to marry this Oklahoma bitch that his maker signed him up for? He's been trying to get out of it, hence the face pummeling of Pam and the moodiness. However, he only decides to bring it up after the fact. Is he going to get out of it? Does he want to? Sookie broke the bond and that hurt him. Will he stay? Stay tuned for the next edition of "What the hell is going on with these people".
So, Sam and Sookie seem like they should end up together. Sorry I said it. It is out in the open. Deal with it how you wilt.
Oh, Hunter. How could I forget. While I love Hunter and Sookie's dealings with him, why was he in this book? Was Harris afraid we would forget about him? I don't know. Was it to remind us that Sookie is human and has human dealings? Maybe. I can buy that but then I didn't need the friggin' baby shower. More time at Merlotte's would have been fine.
So all in all, this book is a crumbling husk of what it once was. It has some really good parts but they are all tied together with seemingly random and transient cords and then brought together for the final assembly. Of course since there is no QC in this factory, we are given a book that should have been given a polish without the influence of Tru Blood. It seems she was writing for the new fans and forgetting about the old ones.
In the process, she forgot about her characters and what's important to the story. There was no real story here. Just a few interesting things that happened that had characters in common.
Don't get me wrong, I'll continue reading this series and it's still one of my favorites. You don't get rid of a series because it's got a bruise or made a few bad choices.
But, in the words of Lorelei Gilmore; "Oy vey with the poodles already!"