Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

 So, according to Charlaine Harris' website, this is supposed to be the last of the Southern Vampire novels about Sookie Stackhouse. I expected that she'd be left truly dead in a gutter at the end of the book, somehow, especially as her old enemies all begin to gather and head back to town, with vengeance in mind. But Harris seems to me to have left the door open at the end for Sookie to have a figurative, if not literal, resurrection, and have more profitable (for the author) adventures some day. Of course, you can't trust a popular character to remain safely dead (or undead) these days, just look at Harry Dresden, for example.

Sookie once again gets the opportunity, living in interesting times in Bon Temps, to find out who's really got her back, versus who's just waiting to plant a blade in it. She and Sam Merlotte, her former boss and now partner in the bar, struggle to figure out what their new roles are going to be, especially since Sam is trying to get used to being alive after his untimely demise in the last Sookie misadventure. Eric is hoping somehow to keep his love affair with Sookie alive, even if he has to divorce her and wed a vampire queen in a prearranged marriage, ordained by his master, Felipe. But Sookie isn't thrilled with the prospect of being his sub rosa mistress for what's left of her life, before Eric decides to "turn" her for her own good - and preserve her youthful beauty, of course.

In the midst of this, her old friend, Arlene, who betrayed Sookie and would have seen her literally crucified, gets out on bail and comes for a visit. Someone decides she's more useful to them dead, and frames Sookie for the murder, so she gets to model an orange jumpsuit for a while. But she gets more support from the community than she expected, and her supernatural allies rally to help her beat the rap, while they also must hunt down the true killers and figure out why our heroine is being targeted.

Unlike what you'd expect from the title, it doesn't wrap up tidily and happily ever after for Miss Stackhouse, but at least the current crop of criminals is disposed of for a time. I'd put the odds of a new novel in the series appearing within three to five years at better than even.

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