11
May
10

Dead in the Family – A Tome

DISCLAIMER: I’ve only read DITF through once, and I’m in the middle of a slower paced reread at the moment. The following started out as a review, and ended up being infiltrated with random bits of analysis and god knows what else. I conclude from this that I am too opinionated to write wanky book reviews, and also completely incapable of shutting myself up. So for better or worse, here’s what I’m thinking after my first read.

* * * * * * * * * *

The very first thing I need to say about Dead in the Family is that I liked it – alot. It was certainly a change of pace from the last few books, as we were told it would be. It was also a “transitional” book, but in saying that I don’t mean to call it series filler. Harris has finally decided to start addressing some long lingering issues that have become distracting. And she has also started to lay – very subtly – some groundwork for the ending of Sookie’s story. I cannot tell you how relieved I am about that.

Dead in the Family is very much a character driven book. Not since Dead to the World has this series seen an instalment focused so heavily on character development, and at this point in the story a closer examination of the characters was certainly due. By her own admission, Harris is much better at drawing characters than she is at keeping track of her numerous plot lines and after the upheaval of the last two books, I really didn’t mind that this one meandered plot wise a little more than usual.

SPOILERS AHEAD AND YOU MIGHT WANT TO GO PEE FIRST.

SOOKIE

For the last three books, Sookie and I have been at odds. Her refusal to learn from her experiences and her total emotional stasis was frustrating in the extreme. One of my dearest hopes for book ten was that we might see a Sookie who is more realistic about her circumstances; a Sookie who is a little harder and a little smarter after the traumas of Dead and Gone. While there were a few classic Sookie moments that had me screeching and reaching for the nearest blunt object (“I’m not going to call him, he can call me!” and her disinterest in Eric’s politics lesson come to mind), I was really glad to see the beginnings of a definite and pronounced change in her outlook. Sookie’s transformation was never going to happen in one book – but I feel like she moved a few paces forward this time around. The naivete that always made her so endearing is still there, but her trust is no longer blind and she is more careful about where she places it now. She’s also thinking about her life on a deeper level, and that bodes well. Although she’s still making mistakes, at least they are considered ones. After her mind-numbing stupidity and emotional paralysis in Dead and Gone, I will take what I can get. Sookie still has a long way to go, but she made a lot of progress in book ten. That’s all we can expect of her, right?

I was pleased to see numerous small clues that Sookie is not only hardening, but maturing as well. Her relationship with Eric seems by far the most adult relationship she has experienced, to date. Although things aren’t perfect, for the first time we see her thinking about the implications of being with a vampire long term – namely her mortality and her prospects for raising children. Sookie is still thinking about these issues on a fairly shallow level – wondering how she could wait tables at Merlotte’s as a vampire and her assumption that Eric would veto artificial insemination without discussing it with him were painful demonstrations of just how bat shit crazy Sookie’s thought processes can be. Nonetheless, we’ve never seen her seriously consider previous relationships as long term prospects. I mentioned in the opening that I felt Harris is starting to plant the tiniest of seeds for her ending, and with hindsight I think we will see Sookie’s beginning to reflect upon these big picture issues as one of those seeds.

Sookie’s definition of family really seemed to broaden in this book; she now has more family than she can poke a stick at. They’re certainly not of the variety she thought they’d be, but she is finding comfort and connection with them all the same. Eric, Claude, Hunter, Pam, Dermot…and finally Jason were all brought into her fold. For the first time, I felt a tangible sense that she may be outgrowing her white picket fence ideal and understanding that family is what you make it. Sookie is finally shedding some of her idealism, and starting to view the world through the eyes of an adult. It’s about time.

Sookie and me are friends again, and I have to say that I’m pretty damn happy about that.

I have a lot to say about Sookie and Eric together but I’ll leave the majority of that for another post, except to mention a few things briefly in relation to Eric’s character development below. Eric and Sookie in this book are an essay all on their own.

ERIC

My beautiful Viking, where do I begin? In the last week I’ve come to one firm conclusion about this book – we are going to spend a lot of time over the next year looking at this character through the completely new lens Harris has given us. And most likely, we will be arguing until we’re blue in the face about whether or not Harris has turned Eric into a soft-cock.

We seem to be in two camps at the moment – some of us elated that we finally have irrefutable, on the page proof that we were correct in our assertion that Eric is not an emotional cripple with no ability to change. Others are mourning what they see as the death of their cheeky, horny, take-charge vampire – and his replacement with an emasculated, pussy whipped stranger.

This backlash has really caught me off guard, to be honest.

A deeper side to Eric has been in the post for at least two books now, and of course it was foreshadowed all the way back in Book 4. I wouldn’t even call DTTW foreshadowing – I’d call it the equivalent of Harris putting her intentions for this character on a 50ft banner and hanging it in Times Square. Amnesia Eric was not a fluke or a “pretend” personality, a “damaged” Eric or a fraud. He was simply a glimpse of the real man buried beneath a millennia of defence mechanisms and survival strategy. Dead to the World and the curse it contained really was that simple. I can’t get my head around why some readers are so shocked by the Eric we saw in this book. This is not some whimped-out version of the Viking. This is a multi-dimensional and fleshed out Eric, and one that was perfectly timed. We were always going to see him like this, and it felt to me like a completely logical progression in his character arc. Flirty, sexy Eric remains – “I think you know very well what I will give you. I think you love me to give it to you.” – that line alone is quintessential Viking, and could have come straight from book two or three. Only now he resides within a much more rounded character, one who has finally surrendered after books of conflict and struggle (“I think you know how I feel… Do you love me?”, ”I love you”, “Wife of mine”.) The demonstrative and open way in which he has finally given in to his feelings was completely unsurprising. This is the Eric that Harris has been carefully revealing since the early books, and it felt like a gift.

Eric’s reaction to Appius was quite confronting but again, making Eric vulnerable in this way was a necessary step for his character and one that I’m glad Harris has taken. For Sookie and Eric to have a real relationship, she needed to let go of “Eric the Vampire Sheriff” and see him for real. She needed to understand on more than an intellectual level that even the big bad sheriff can be weakened and controlled. She needed to actually see that happen. Harris made a start on this process in DAG, when for the first time Eric couldn’t help her when her life was threatened. Sookie makes an interesting observation about this incident at the beginning of DITF – thinking to herself that Eric is not a superhero. This was both a nod from Harris that Sookie’s view of him has previously been quite myopic, and also a hint that they were both about to get a major attitude adjustment. Sookie’s perception of Eric continued to be transformed and made more realistic in this book, with the presence of his sire and his brother rendering him vulnerable, indecisive, and passive. This was a major slap in the face for Sookie, and one that was utterly necessary if they are to move forward successfully from here.

If Eric really is going to be the HEA, he needed to be brought to a place where the majority of readers in every camp could plainly see that his love for Sookie is real, and that he is capable of a sustained emotional connection. Huge inroads were made in that direction with this book. While cheeky, twisty, flirty Eric is fun – without any emotional depth, readers would never really believe that he could be capable of the kind of intimacy Harris obviously feels Sookie needs and deserves. The author’s decision to lay it all out there with Eric – for the second time – is just one more positive sign that these two are the end game.


THE BLOOD BOND

This aspect of DITF was very satisfying. The blood bond between Sookie and Eric has been the source of much confusion and angst since it was forged in All Together Dead, and Harris seemed extremely keen to provide some long overdue clarification. We now know for certain that the bond is simply an emotional conduit; not something that generates feelings that don’t exist. It’s now clear that Eric can’t control Sookie’s mind, that he can’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do, or basically use it for any of the nefarious purposes he has been accused of in the past. We saw numerous clear examples of Sookie’s ability to identify her own feelings apart from Eric’s, and also of her learning to use the bond to read him – and finding that what was coming out his mouth and the feelings flowing from him were one and the same. I cannot tell you how gratifying it was to see Sookie learning how this thing works, and also recognising that it gives her an insight into Eric’s feelings that actually deepens their connection. While she is still struggling with it, her resentment seems to be lessening as her understanding grows.

The bond is definitely having an unexpected effect on Sookie and Eric’s individual temperaments – Eric seems to be feeling more like a human, and Sookie seems to be thinking more like a vampire. Pam is worried about Eric’s (and by extension, her own) political position being compromised, and probably rightly so. Eric’s judgement has been off since FDTW, and that has never been more evident than in this book. Will this be the catalyst for breaking the bond or an eventual relationship break up? Who knows. Sookie stalking around wanting to kill everyone who pissed her off, and Eric crying and baring his soul certainly gave each of them the opportunity to walk a mile in the other’s shoes. And I don’t think that’s necessarily all bad.

SAM

My conspiracy theories about Sam’s involvement in the supe world continue to thrive – he is “one shrewd guesser” now, according to Sookie. Oh really Sookie? This was another Smack Sookie in the Head Moment, though it does seem she might be feeling that something’s off with the dog these days. It did not escape my attention that Sam’s “halo” hair – which a quick search of my ebooks reveals has been mentioned no less than six times in the last three books – has now been hacked off.

Just sayin’.

Sam certainly got an increase in his page time this time around, but if the intention was push him to the forefront as a love interest – it failed. I still don’t consider him a viable partner for Sookie because he is just NOT being written that way. Eric love or not, I want to see a damn lot more from Sam than the ability to impregnate and go out in the sun. Sam is still the friend, the confidante, and the guy Sookie occasionally tries hard to light a fire for but can barely manage a spark. And he can’t even pay for her freaking meal at the Crawdad Diner! I’m sorry Mr Merlotte, but if you want to be taken seriously here you would at least buy a girl a meal. And while I’m at it, you need to stop dating psycho bitches. What the hell is going on with that??!! Your list of bitchy weirdo conquests grows ever-longer.

All of the page time for Sam felt like he was being shoved forward as a place marker in the love triangle, while the original place marker explored a HEA of his own. Which brings us to…

BILL

I say this all the time, and I’m saying it again. Bill has never been, is not now, and will never be Sookie’s HEA. Bill’s scenes in this book gave me an overwhelming feeling that his story will be soon be drawing to a close. When Sookie visits a convalescing Bill at home, their conversation confirmed what was evident to anyone paying attention at the end of DAG – namely that Sookie has finally worked out where Bill belongs in her life. She will always love him for what he was to her, but there’s too much history to go back now even if she wanted to. And she made it quite clear that she wants nothing of the sort.

It wouldn’t be a Sookie book without at least one “Bill acts like a manipulative douche” moment, and Harris didn’t disappoint. Bill completely outdoes his previous douche-baggery by trying for one last pity fuck with all the subtlety of a brick to the head, and then wishing Eric dead. To her face. EPIC FAIL, BILL. Oh, he also offered to kill for her. This was right after Sookie had an “oh shit moment” in which she finally understood that running the other way would have been an appropriate response when Bill killed her fiddly uncle all those years ago. Bill, once again you’ve proven conclusively that you just don’t “get” her. And you never have.

Bill’s story with the Bellefleur’s moved me in a way I really didn’t expect after all this time. Dead in the Family left me with the very strong sense that Harris was tying up Bill’s loose ends and bringing him full circle – casting all the way back to Dead Until Dark for the family bible, and Sookie’s long overdue realisation about Bill’s unsuitability for her based on events in that book. Bill finally found a measure of acceptance from his living relatives, and a potential love interest who understands him in a way Sookie can’t because of their shared connection through Lorena. I would not be surprised at all to see Bill leave Bon Temps with Judith in the next instalment, and that would feel like an authentic ending for his character.

If you can’t kill them off literally…writing them off is almost as gratifying.

APPIUS AND ALEXEI

This was a bit of a let-down, Appius felt so very anti-climatic. For a year we’ve been speculating about this guy; dying of curiosity about his motives and scared to death of what he might be capable of.

As it turned out, Appius was a fairly neutral character – and a plot device used to weaken Eric, and show us how much Sookie has learned from her experience with Bill and Lorena. What Sookie has learned is that makers are trouble and they need to die, no matter what. Eric having a maker running around who could return at any time to upset her apple cart was always going to be a problem for Sookie, given her history with Lorena. Eric’s political options would also be limited, since it’s starting to look as though the maker must be kaput to become a king or queen. In a way, it felt like Appius showed up just so he could die and be out of the way. One less bomb under Sookie and Eric’s HEA, and that’s just fine with me.

There are hints that Appius came to Shreveport for reasons other than hoping Eric could control his crazy child, but there really wasn’t enough here to do much more than speculate. Most likely this involves Victor in some way.

Alexei had potential to be so much more. A haemophiliac vampire? I thought this was fucking genius when I read the spoiler, and then she really didn’t do much with it. I’m kind of bummed about that. Maybe I’m missing something.

ALCIDE

I am royally sick of the were’s and I am absolutely sick to death of Alcide. I used to be neutral towards the were’s. My neutrality progressed to complete creep out over the last few books, but this book kicked me clean over the line. Their pack mentality, their creepy rituals, their brutality and their brawling… I am just completely disinterested in their drama at this point. Alcide has gone from rugged, sexy and only slightly flawed when we met him in book 3, to devious, power grubbing and manipulative over the course of this series. His rise to pack leader has done nothing for his character except magnify his worst traits. I am not even going to discuss the scene with him involving the drug except to say it was classic Alcide, magnified by about a million. He makes my skin crawl.

Moving on.

THE FAE

While Claude certainly raised himself in my estimation with his amazing personality transplant, I’m not entirely sure he’s on the up and up yet. The stark – and it was stark, no matter how likeable – change in his demeanour, his eagerness to get close to Sookie and his interest in the attic all make me a bit fidgety.

We finally met Dermot, Sookie’s nutty half fae great-uncle and were surprised to discover that rather than being a homicidal maniac as Sookie has been led to believe, he is actually just slightly fruity thanks to a spell cast many years ago, by persons unknown.

Shout out to Niall Brigant – I’m keeping my eye on you. As well as being a master manipulator, you now appear to be a liar as well.

PAM AND JASON

These two played the role of Sookie and Eric’s “seconds” to the hilt…right down to Jason giving Pam a blood donation at the end. Pam had all the best lines, hands down – “Fuck a zombie!” and her snarky exchange with Sookie whilst crawling injured along the floor was comedy gold. Pam and Jason both had their chance to shine this time; Pam showing a nouse and ruthlessness that was just brutal even for her, and Jason finally stepping up as Sookie’s brother and bending over backwards to show her just how genuine he is in his efforts to accept the people she deems important in her life. Pam and Sookie have finally cemented a close friendship (“You’re my favourite breather”) and Sookie and Jason have reached an understanding that feels deep and permanent. Yet another seed is sewn for the ending.

VICTOR AND FELIPE

This is my favourite sub plot and there is lots to pick over here, even though Victor and Felipe didn’t appear in person in this book. I’ll save the autopsy for another post, but I will say that I was literally screeching at getting substantial, straightforward information on the vampire hierarchy that didn’t require piecing together hints, seemingly random bits of dialogue and liberal amounts of guess work. THANK YOU ERIC.

Charlaine practically stuck a neon sign atop this passage, with Sookie fantasising about jumping the Gracious Plenty while Eric becomes increasingly annoyed at her disinterest in a politics lesson he repeatedly tells her is extremely important. Listen up peeps – the Viking says this is important and I’m taking his word for it. This information is groundwork for the downfall of Victor, and Eric becoming King of Louisiana. Oh yes, I’m on the King theory again. This is not conspiracy theory anymore so ya’ll can stop scoffing at me now. The hints were everywhere – from the politics speech, to Pam saying Victor wanted to oust Eric outright, to Bruno saying Eric was accumulating too much power, and Appius’ expedient demise. This theory has some weight behind it now and you can bet I’m gonna grab it with it both hands and run.

THE BAD BITS

So you’re probably wondering by now if there was anything I didn’t like about Dead in the Family. Well actually there was, but it’s mostly inconsequential.

I didn’t like the numerous True Blood references. There is nodding to the show, and there is causing your readers to wonder if you’re nodding or just becoming confused. Some were so obvious as to be definite nods (or digs!) – Lorena Ball, and the Bad Things song for example. Others were so subtle they left me wondering whether she realised they were in there at all – the offhand mention of the pod coffins at Eric’s house, and Appius’ comments about Jesus, so eerily reminiscent of Godric – are firmly in this category. There was at least one episode title, and a TB Eric line thrown into the mix as well.

There are so many True Blood-isms in this book that I got halfway through and started a list for future reference. One or two? I would be down with that. But there are so many that it just looks blatant. True Blood contains nods to the books as well, but certainly not this many in one episode. It just wasn’t necessary.

My other complaint was the sex. What there was, I liked. By definition, it was the Eric/Sookie nookie we have come to expect – playful, intimate, and mutually satisfying. But rather than pages long scenes in which we are privy to every detail and long and revealing conversations, the sex scenes were short and left us standing at the bedroom door. It’s a fact that Harris seems to think a vast proportion of Eric’s fanbase are obsessed with his sex abilities and little else, and I suspect that the deliberate toning down in this book was to get us focusing on the emotional shift between them. I’m cool with that, really I am. But I wanted dirty Viking too. Just a little bit. So shoot me.

I was also slightly irritated by the ending. It felt like coming to a dead stop against a brick wall, it was so abrupt and out of nowhere. However, I tend to view these books as instalments in one big story so I don’t get too hung up on the endings of individual books. As the series progresses each part seems to find its place in the big picture and as long as the final ending makes sense, I will be happy.

THE VERDICT

Aside from some minor gripes, I was really happy with Dead in the Family. It feels like the decks have been cleared, and the characters are now poised to ease into the final few books and the conclusion of their journey.

To this end, I am pleased to see what could well be some preliminary steps towards an ending to Sookie’s story. Though Harris claims to have not yet decided if she will write more than the thirteen books she is currently contracted for, DITF felt like she has already made a decision to end things soon. I hope so.

To the readers who are disappointed that not much was resolved plot wise, I would say two things. Firstly, this is a series and that means that some story arcs will start and end in a single instalment, others will develop over multiple books. Eric and Sookie are in this category. Victor and Felipe are also in this category. Something BIG is clearly brewing on both fronts, so don’t sweat it – the wait will be worth it. Progress was made, even if resolution wasn’t forthcoming. Most of us are used to that by now. Secondly, another action book with multiple intertwined plots, Sookie getting bashed every three chapters, and Eric flirting, scheming and sexing just would not fly any more. The characters are changing through their experiences – that is real life, and that is life in Sookieverse, too. I hope those readers disappointed in this book will be able to make better sense of it when the series is complete. Dead in the Family was the logical next step after Dead and Gone, and I don’t think Harris could have taken her characters anywhere else.

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196 Responses to “Dead in the Family – A Tome”


  1. May 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    ok, I haven’t read what you’ve written but I would just like to say that I’ve been waiting for this post since DITF was released. And now it’s here, WIPEEE! *off to read*

  2. 2 Nancy
    May 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    wow..i think ill have to stop half way for a coffee break!

  3. 3 Lise
    May 11, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Comprehensive and definately striking a chord with me the whole way through!
    I do feel that Appius was a lost opportunity and there was perhaps too much Godric from TV in him. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I did DAG and even managed to tear up when old Caroline B breathed her last. It still left me wanting more.

  4. May 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    I admit I was one of those who didn’t like Eric in this book. I get the helplessness he felt when Appius and Alexei showed up but that thing near the end, when he had no plan, seems to be out of character for me. Anyway, after reading the comments here, and your tome, I kinda see why it has to be done.

  5. 5 isilyastar
    May 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    wow that was lengthy! thanks for writing that review. you have put into words the things that have been fluttering around in my mind after reading DITF. i soo agree with you on the bad bits! this book is now my second favorite.

  6. 6 Patty
    May 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I have to say…you really are awesome at saying everything that i’m thinking about this book.

  7. 7 pie
    May 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    even though i understand that this book needed to be the way it was..im still disappointed at the lack of happy times and the massive feeling of foreboding i got from reading it..something big is coming and im not sure im going to like it..and im definitely sure im not going to like the wait!

    eric HAS to be the HEA, he has invested more time and energy into maintaining the relationship than any of her other suitors..i did miss flirty horny eric but there was still bits of him there and i love how he looks out for her and protects her more than bill ever did (“i feel like buying you a present”) and i understand that sookie HAD to see his ‘darker’ (for lack of a better word??) side in order for her them to have any chance at a future…

    i loved the JUMP, jason giving pam blood and the bit about there being no basements in louisianna (take that alan ball!)

    my first read was from an ebook since im in australia and still waiting for a copy from america (ETA 7 days!) so ill be starting my re-read when i get it!

  8. 8 Vikingvampgirl
    May 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Wow I was just telling my girlfriend yesterday How much DITF Eric reminded of Amnesia Eric. Great minds think alike.lol. Wonderful Review!

  9. May 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    As usual , well said! I look forward to future tomes about different characters. Very much agree about the ending.It felt like “Oh geez, I’m up to page 300 and I have to end it now”. There definitely was a brick wall at the end.

  10. 10 Lkc
    May 11, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Amen sista! I agree with everything you said. And you say it so well. But now I have to go pee!

  11. 11 Vikingvampgirl
    May 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I also think Appius would have been a very different Maker if this was written Pre-TB. The show swayed her into writing a more Godric like maker.

    • 12 Charlotte
      May 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      I agree. I think that Appius would have been closer to the ruthless and self-motivated character we all expected if he was written pre-Godric. I enjoyed the fact that he was there to show Eric in a weakened, and I think somewhat confused, state. However I would have liked to see more from him.

      It felt like CH tried to use Alexei to fill that personality ‘void’ and made him the more bloodthirsty and bat shit crazy vampire we were looking for, but I still think that was lacking a little bit. And I agree SVB she could have done a lot more with his hemophilia.

    • 14 Robin
      May 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts SVB. I absolutely agree with so much of what you said, especially the need for us to see Eric in a vulnerable condition. I am glad that we got to see more intimacy between Eric and Sookie, and felt that CH did this on purpose to show that there is more to their relationship than just sexual attraction.

      I was very pleased with how Sookie has matured, become more ruthless, wise and is really thinking things through before speaking and making decisions. She is not perfect, but has come a long way. I was extremely happy with how how protective she has become of Eric, their relationship and Pam. I was disappointed in Sookie’s attitude with Eric on occasions, and she seemed to really disrespect Appius, both of which really bothered me.

      I cannot help but feel that there was so much more to the visit of Appius, regarding his unwelcome business. I have a bad feeling it has something to do with Victor Madden. And, of course, Eric has been left in a very vulnerable position with all of the deaths that occurred under his watch. I look forward to more of your thoughts in the future!

      • 15 Ashley
        May 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

        I think she disrespected Appius because she saw the effect he had on Eric and remember the Lorena/Bill disaster and wanted to protect Eric more than anything. So i think it came from the right place.

        • 16 Robin
          May 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

          Yes, and it would be interesting to see if Eric and Sookie have a discussion concerning her feelings in regards to Appius and how that discussion plays out. Several times, Appius points out to Eric that Sookie would like to send him to his final death. She even admits to Eric at the end of the book that she wanted to kill Appius, but she did not.

  12. 17 KPMRSE
    May 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    SVB, brilliant as always!

    I completely agree that Appius was anti-climatic, I expected a major plot arc to develop, and whose to say it won’t. I liked that – though he made my skin completely crawl – showing him as a concerned “father” looking for help with a wayward “son”, provided an interesting facet of the maker dymanic, and further drove home her point that families are made, not necessarily born.

  13. May 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I totally agree with you Sookieverse! The book was great and it definatly showed character development in every aspect. I do kinda of disagree about the Bill part. Y because even tho im a Viking lover and have been from day one i find it kind of charming that he still wants a peice of that Sookie action! Lol but im also very please and find it kind of funny that he would think that she would leave Eric to hook up with him….maybe it was the poison that swayed his thinking…idk! But the book overall was great and im really hoping CH will complete the series at 13 books! But time will tell that story better than we can:( I do think book 11 will involve the over throw of Victor and his death. Im not sure how the power struggle will involve Eric and Sookie but i do believe they will be at the forefront of the controversy! It would be really nice if CH would speed things up and come out wit book 11 in Oct 10, book 12 in May 11 and complete the series with book 13 in Oct 11…because all this waiting is driving me fucking crazy!!!!

    • 22 RubySun
      May 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      VBM- I agree. Can’t she stop touring and start writing? No wonder she takes so long to write that short of a book, she’s traveling all of the globe promoting the books. Personally, you wouldn’t think they need that much promotion anymore. I am being a bit cheeky here, I love CH, and I’m sure she’d rather be at home and not globetrotting.

      • 23 Kathy
        May 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm

        Problem is, I don’t think she has control over that and her publisher wants to capitalize on True Blood. I’m sure she’s contracturally obligated to do some touring. Andd she’s now a rock star! I was surprised at the New York signing to hear it was the first time she had done a signing here. EVER!

        I read on her boards that the next book has to be done by July.

        • 24 VikingLover
          May 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

          This July 2010 or July 2011?

          • 25 Kathy
            May 12, 2010 at 5:27 pm

            July 2010.

            • 26 Kathy
              May 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm

              Guess they need the time to edit and re-edit,etc…for publication next May.

              • 27 VikingLover
                May 13, 2010 at 2:34 am

                Wow! That’s only a couple of months away. So it won’t be released until May even though she has to submit it in July? That’s crazy. I wonder if that’s normal. I also wonder if it has anything to do with TB’s timeline for S4 and 5.

                • May 13, 2010 at 2:57 am

                  I don’t think this is book 11. It would be the companion book that is coming out in February with the novella.

                  As an aside, I’m told the companion contains an “out take” of a conversation between Eric and Bill, with no Sookie present.

                  I am fucking DYING to read that.

                  • 29 VikingLover
                    May 13, 2010 at 3:06 am

                    “As an aside, I’m told the companion contains an “out take” of a conversation between Eric and Bill, with no Sookie present.”

                    OOOOOOOOH! I would like to read that too!!! Is it conversation that she originally decided to take out of one of the original stories or is it like an “addition to”?

                    • May 13, 2010 at 3:38 am

                      I have no idea what it’s about – but I have a million and one possible scenarios from the books that I’d LIKE to see!

                      All I know is that it’s third person and Sookie is not present. I would guess that since Sookie is not there, it would be like an “off the page” conversation that fits into the novels somehow.

                      Here’s a bit of my wishlist in preferential order 🙂

                      1. A conversation in NO after Eric finds out about Bill’s mission from the Queen
                      2. The “discussion” (read VERBAL ARSE RIPPING) that would have gone down after Sookie was knocked unconscious by Bill and Quinn in DAG.
                      3. The “agreement” conversation they mention at the end of LDID (I assume this was B and E agreeing that if Sookie went to Eric of her own free will, Bill wouldn’t try to stop her….but I’d like to know for sure).
                      4. A convo after the Lorena incident and Eric pulling Sookie out of the trunk half dead.

                      That’s probably my top 4.

                    • 31 Kathy
                      May 13, 2010 at 3:41 am

                      She told us that in New York. (I recorded the q&a, I’m listening to it and transcribing what she said.) She said “It will have a complete map of Bon Temp, that she drew w/Paula, recipes, character synopses and secret conversations between Bill and Eric.” Along with the novella. She said it’s taken longer than they thought, but they’re hoping to keep with the February 2011 date.

                    • 32 MASpencer
                      May 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm

                      My money’s on the “agreement” conversation. That’s the only time in the books (that I can recall) where there was a presupposed discussion between the two of them that happened off the page– and that was not recounted to Sookie by either party.

                      But I would also be elated with ANY of the options you listed. Fun!

                    • 33 Robin
                      May 25, 2010 at 11:40 pm

                      You can bet good money that when I get ahold of this companion book, the first thing I am going to do is to read these “off the page” conversations that took place between Eric and Bill. That is going to be some great reading material! SVB, you have picked four excellent choices. I hope you are correct.

                    • 34 Robin
                      May 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

                      I would also like to know if there was a conversation between Bill and Eric in the hospital in DAG, either before Eric went to see Sookie or when he briefly left the room to get the True Blood. That might be an interesting conversation for her to share with us!

  14. 35 beckyt2
    May 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I know I’m slow, but what is HEA. You reference Eric being Sookie’s HEA.
    BTW, I love your blog/review. It is totally insightful !
    Thanks.

  15. 36 Vikingvampgirl
    May 11, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Happily Ever After!

    • 37 Serena
      May 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

      The first time I read that on this site, mind you I was overtired, I thought it stood for “Human Eric Alternative”.. I nearly shit a brick. lol.

    • 38 Beckyt2
      May 11, 2010 at 6:10 pm

      Hey, thanks for the abbreviation update ! I would have asked my own little text queen, but she’s in school. LOL

  16. 39 Mony
    May 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    AMEN!!!
    i loved every single words you said!!!!!!

  17. 40 Gigi
    May 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for this great review. I agree with you in most of it, especially in the fact that I found too much references to TB and in my opinion, they will confuse more those who find difficult to separate the tv show from the book series. It is indeed a trasitional book that changes a lot of old plot lines and opens for the future books some new ones, too. And yes, Appius and Alexei story arch was anti-climating. Both were great characters to develop and explore their layers, but their presentation was only “a debut and a farewell”. Sookie’s bored reaction to Eric’s lesson on vampires politics, and when she said to him: ““Oh, duh. I’m not telling anyone any of this. For one thing, the fact that you-all named your little slices of America after gods is just . . .” I shook my head. Really something. I wasn’t sure what. Proud? Stupid? Bizarre?” , was quite funny for me because I was thinking exactly the same LOL (I’m kind of bored with so much vampire’s politics, too). Well see how things will develop and how they, despite their changes, will recover their emotional stability in the next book.

  18. 41 ladylaurin
    May 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you, SVB for all the time you put into this post. I look forward to future individual essays/posts, as well. *cheers!

  19. 42 KittyKat
    May 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    My take on the lack of a lot of details of Sookie and Eric’s romps is that with them in a relationship, that becomes a part of their routine, and really, how many times can you describe it? Granted, I like to read it, BUT … part of being in a relationship is having frequent enough sex, but the biggest part is all that happens while you’re not between the sheets, and I think this was the goal, to make it a real relationship and not merely a sexual one. It will also shut up all but the most die hard anti-Eric fans who question his motives. He wants her in his life, not just his bed.

    It’s also sweet and sad that he gives us a glimpse of how he is viewing their relationship and how he perceives she sees it. him telling Sookie that the term “dating” is a misleading term, bitter about them being married and she belittleling the relationship, that she is his wife in the only way that matters to him.This part isn’t explained but I read it that he sees her as his mate, counterpart. Definitely not a political alliance to him. It’s also nice (although frustrating) to see him trying to get her to tell him how she feels about him by at a very fragile time of hers. It was also a relief to see her actually care about him by asking him back about his feelings for her, and an end to that attitude of “I’m not sure I want to find out how you feel because I’m sure I won’t like it, and it’s not relevant enough for the relationship we have and the role you play in it”. About time she cared about something about him besides his physical attributes, in a definite manner.

    Also, in a not-so-obvious way, I liked seeing them argue at his house, even if it was her actually arguing with him, when she was trying to get him to act. Sure I’d love everything to be seen through rose-tinted glasses, but it’s necessary to see conflict resolution if they’re to be a real couple. In this case, especially, since she’s so much weaker than he is, a glimpse at his reaction when at odds with her, so we have a clue of whether he’d try to hurt her (and to shut ut the “he’s bad and dangerous for her” people). Was glad to see that she isn’t afraid of him. We obviously know he’s not afraid of her, and was nice to see it from her as well. Would be a disturbing sight if she was. Seeing this was actually a relief.

    When it comes to the big question: “where is this all leading to?”, Eric can definitely be the HEA. I think the next step is Sookie formally accepting their relationship. Human marriage or she actually remarrying him while knowing what she’s doing. Something that will bind them in a way she accepts. And I completely agree about the real Eric being what we saw in DTTW. Except that now Sookie gets to see it, the good and the bad. We always knew that Eric wasn’t 2-dimensional, and we got to see a huge side of that other side this time. I honestly think that both Sam and Bill are out of the running, especially Bill. CH has given him a place in the world, connection to his human family, connections to his vampire family in Judith, and hopefully he’ll resume his area 5 work for him to have a place in their society. As far as Sam, it seems strictly platonic, especially on her part.

    • 43 Ashley
      May 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

      I agree even if Sam still has feelings for Sookie, which he didnt indicae in this book, I agree that Sookie doesnt reciprocate. She has a slight physical attraction and thats it.

    • 44 VikingLover
      May 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

      KittyKat, I agree with everything you wrote and I feel the same way! I also loved the “argument” between Eric and Sookie.

  20. 45 Jo
    May 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    This book and its characters really surprised me, I quite liked the book, who surprised me most was Sookie, I really thought she’d spend the whole book crying and whining about the torture and blood bond, I loved the development of the relationship Sookie and Eric, being almost a normal couple. Though i was shocked by the change of Eric after the arrival of its maker can not say that I found bad. I have heard some complaints about this book, I really do not know what they expected, but for me it was so much better than I expected.
    I really enjoyed the participation of Jason, I think he took over from Sam had other books, following Sookie to me was infinitely better.
    I loved the part of political intrigue, Victor / Felipe, and lessons that Viking tried teach to Sookie (can not say in her place would not be too distracted).
    Pam and Sookie eliminating the minions of Victor was awesome! They make an incredible duo, loved his complicity in this book.
    Apius really disappointed me a little and Alexei, scared me a lot, I actually had nightmares about it. I really have a problem with creepy kids, I always wanted to see that movie Swedish, one of the little girl vampire, but I can not.
    As the various mentions of True Blood does not bother me much, even more after this book that I’m more relaxed about the possibility of CH being influenced too much by the show.
    What can I say about Bill? Actually what happened in the book was infinitely better than simply kill him, he is definitely out of the race for Sookie’s heart, I really liked the part where he meets Caroline, Andy and Portia, at that moment I realized that who I really hate is the Bill of TB. Bill’s book, just gives me a little sorry.
    For me Alcide can go to hell. Using Sookie again and still with that silly talk about the two could be a couple.
    My biggest complaint really is the abrupt final and run of the book, could have another 10 chapters and an epilogue perhaps with Eric and Sookie.

  21. 46 Serena
    May 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I hate to sound like an utter suck-up, but a very good review SVB. Its scary how much I think we think alike sometimes. lol.

    -About the E/S nookie, I feel like CH has become bored with it or maybe she thinks her readers have. It seems at times she is trying to put them in circumstances.. er.. positions we haven’t seen before; shower scene check, graveyard sex check, BJ check,… I also feel the same way about her physical treatment of Sookie, as she has put Sookie through just about everything, rape check, torture check, gunshot wound check,… it makes me wonder if she will ever get hurt again or if they will ever have sex again (that we’re witness to). At times I feel CH is writing away from things she has already done so there is no repetition, and while I appreciate DITF’s diversion and character development, I want more intimacy bits between E/S, there is no such thing as repetition there. I could read that all day long.

    -About Bill, it felt in the beginning that Bill realized Sookie was in love with Eric (despite what he proposed) and he had realized he had no chance with her. so he didn’t bother to try to heal himself because of it. Then we find out he woouldn’t contact his ‘sister’ because they have a complicated history.. I wish there just had been a tad bit more resolution on Bill’s part but I guess that will happen next book. And afterall, Less Bill is More.

    -On the HEA and Eric’s weak side, this book showed how much Eric needs Sookie, his indecisiveness at the end proved to Sookie her worth to him and that they are a partnership.

    -About Sookie’s new ‘tude, I really like this Sookie. I loved how she stood up and grew a backbone in general and when it came to the love she had for Eric, and how even that evolved, beginning with Amelia goading it out of her and then progressing to her resolute defense of it. I feel like by the end of the book she is reaching a state of self-actualization. I think the same can be said for Eric after Appius dies, for he has been liberated in a major way. It makes me think the next book is going to be much more action orientated.

    -About VM/FDC, since the moment Sookie said ‘Lets go kill Victor.’ I was like ‘go get em! and then nothin.. such disappointment. Well it wasn’t absolutely nothing, but it wasn’t what I thought we were going to get. I thought we’d at least get a solid clarification of FDC/VM relationship, is VM insubordinate or are they good cop bad cop? At least it gives us another year to hash this out, and figure out how it will go down and I can’t wait to discuss all the variables like alliances.. woot! Vampire Geography 101 was def. important.

    -This might be really minor, but why is Fangtasia practically empty? Did Eric scare away his customers on purpose to save them from Alexei’s rages? Did Appius and Alexei shoo them away by their general creepiness factor? Is this the work of magic, like Pam suggested Hallow and company could do? Is Victor behind it? Eric is described as being constantly busy with work, but how much real Fangtasia work can he be doing if the place is dead.

    • 47 M.
      May 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

      To answer your last point, I think it was their over-all creepy-factor.
      Maybe Victor invited them to go ‘visit’ Eric knowing that they’d skeeve out Fangtasia’s clientele, eliminating Eric primary source of income. . . As we learned with QSA, a vampire without money is at a severe political disadvantage. . .

  22. 48 KC
    May 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I always love reading your posts, thanks for taking the time and making the effort! It’s easy for me to agree with *almost* everything you’ve written. I see this book as having taken both Bill and Alcide out of the running but I think Sookie may *still* need to try on Sam to prove to herself that life would not be enough for her now that she’s seen what a relationship can be even with all of its complications and dangers. So, bring on the novella Charlaine!

  23. 49 nskars
    May 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Well I pretty much agree on every point you bring up. Sam being a cheap shifty shifter with a haircut, Bill being his normal inappropriate douchey self, Alcide pissing me off even more (if that’s possible), complete maker anti-climax – I was expecting Appius to commence all sorts of degrading torture on our Viking, and Sookie growing up just a little. I also find it odd that peeps are going nuts over “softcock Eric” who didn’t have a plan when 1)the drugged up bond could have addled him momentarily, 2)he was most likely in shock at his staff having been taken out by his brother (including the possibility of Pam) and 3)he had half of his insides on the outside. Plus the showing depth to his character thing is a very good point. Sticks it to the BLs too.

    I enjoyed the book. I dunno, I just kind of felt refreshed once I finished it. I admit I was on the edge of my seat whenever Appius was on the page (again: anti-climactic), but at least Sook got to take a breather… re-build her relationship with Jason and start new foundations with Claude, Hunter and Dermot. The whole Dermot thing was slightly irritating though… all that drama over a wackjob great uncle who was really harmless all along? I have to re-read DAG and DITF cos the whole thing baffles me. And it’s official: Niall certainly can’t be trusted at all.

    Great post.

    • 50 RubySun
      May 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      I agree on this Nskars, I think we need to look at what the drug might have done to Eric and/or Alexei and Appius. If she could feel them, and Appius was sensing her, it makes sense that the drug effected them as well. Maybe that is what set Alexei off? Or I wonder how and why could one young (physically and chronologically) , albeit nutjob vampire take on two ancient vamps and also kickass Pam and whoever else? All I can think is surprise attack, or drug induced ineffectiveness?

      • May 13, 2010 at 1:45 am

        I think we won’t be seeing the last of the drug and shaman thingy from Alcide. I just have a feeling…

        • May 13, 2010 at 1:47 am

          Someone (she knows who she is because she got me the most amazing gift and I LUFF HER 😉 went to a book signing the other day and Charlaine confirmed we are not done with Alcide. Unfortunately.

  24. 53 Dwimordene
    May 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Hum hum… I enjoied it too. I was glad that there was just that sex scene… Because I’m really fed up with all this crazyness that the media feed us constantly.
    The TB tip that I really like is Jason, we got TB Jason in the books, hurra!!
    I loved that we are going to expect sooo much action next book at least, it has caused a nice turning in the way the plot flows.
    And CH is getting better at her writting :D, lol. I can’t stand the first books… The first one specifically makes me want to burn it, lol.
    And don’t lie yourselves girls… Who did really really trust Nial? Sookie did, but we know better.
    And Eric was born to be a king, and I think Hunter will become a prince, noway Remy can protect him from the vamps and maybe even fairies, I don’t think that matter is settled.

  25. 54 Barbara E
    May 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I’m approximately half way through DITF, just about to start Ch 10 (Sookie just took one of Bill’s databases and hid it beneath some towels).

    But, thus far, before I read your post, SVB, I caught on to:

    1) The TrueBlood show references that have popped up thus far.

    2) Appius is not as sadistic, ruthless, controlling as we were led to believe – though I’m sure, based on comments, that I haven’t truly gotten to the more juicy bits. However, the meeting in the living room and digging up that Were on Sookie’s property – there really wasn’t much to Appius. It seemed Eric was having a PTSD type moment in the living room … reacting out of habit and memories, rather than to how Appius is now. Like others have mentioned, thus far, Appius seems awfully Godric-like in demeanor. Which makes Eric’s reaction to him all the curiousier.

    3. Eric acknowledging that Felicia was a spy. But is she THE spy we all have been discussing these past few weeks … or is that still Sam?

    There are other things to, but they would veer away from the core topic of this post.

    I would have been finished with the book in one night, but have had a troubling headache since Thursday. Grrr *grins*

  26. 55 Willowbella
    May 11, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Great review. I love in depth reviews so when I saw this post I was pretty happy. 🙂 I’m just reiterating what everyone else has said here but I agree about Appius. I expected some big bad after the build up in DaG but he was forgettable and didn’t really contribute to the story. Alexei was more intriguing, I thought he had the potential to be a great ‘bad guy’ (for want of a better word). I loved the idea of a ‘young’ hemophiliac vamp too but he was underused, too much of what he got up to was off page and the show down at the end felt rushed.

    Sookie has toughened up and matured in this book. She seems more understanding and accepting of a lot of things including the blood bond and her view of family has broadened and she’s becoming more accepting of alternatives to the traditional, conservative idea of a HEA she’s had in the past.

    I think we needed to see this side of Eric otherwise he’d just be static, only taking part in the action and not the emotion of the story and therefore not growing as a character in any way. I don’t think he was emasculated, I think given everything going on with him it was understandable. I think in the next book we’ll see him morph in to something between the old Eric and this Eric. Hopefully he’ll get his swagger back but still be capable of emotionally relating to Sookie.

    I also liked that Sookie got to take charge and also take care of him for a change. It felt more like a genuine partnership and a grown up relationship they had in this book.

    Loved Jason and Claude. They were both redeemed in my view.

    Bill and Alicide do seem to have been written off as prospects but my one point where I kinda disagree is Sam. I do think he’s necessarily a viable option just because he can provide the picket fence life but I think he will get his shot at some point. CH hasn’t kept him there on the back burner all this time for nothing.

    Thanks again for the review and for giving me something interesting to read and discuss so I don’t have to concentrate on boring rewrites at work.

  27. 56 Kathy
    May 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Fantastic post. I basically said everything you said to my friends. I never understood the criticism of the characters in DAG. I kept telling people these characters are growing and changing as they should. I think Eric and Sookie acted completely in character, as I do in this book.

    One friend complained that this was another “filler book.” But I think that what has happened is the last three books have stopped being proper mystery books and more “slice of life” books. She has gotten so involved with who will be Sookie’s HEA, that the mysteries are unsolvable because the “crime” is done by characters we don’t find out about until the crime is about to be solved.

    We didn’t even know there were two evil fairies, until they kidnapped Sookie (or I don’t remember if we did, I have to go back and read that one), so there was no way we OR Sookie could solve who killed Crystal. She kept throwing us red herrings, but none involved the real perps. The same with this book. How could we have known that Claudine’s baby daddy was behind it? We didn’t even know who he was! In “From Dead to Worse,” had we been introduced to that Were and her brother early on (that’s another one I have to read again? ANYWAY

    The books have stopped being whole unto themselves, one definitely has to read what went before to understand them. Instead of there really being an ending to each book, it’s “to be continued…” which is just not as satisfying. Each book is now a mega chapter in the whole series of books. And I can deal with that, don’t get me wrong, but we’ll only really feel totally satisfied when we get to the last page of the last book. I would like her to put us all out of our miseries and give Sookie her happily ever after in the next book, so she can be free to create some new stories w/out the pressure of stringing that particular issue out.

    That’s my biggest gripe about the book. I always enjoyed trying to figure out “who done it” along with Sookie. I admit the True Blood references bothered me a bit as well. I SO hated last season. The thought that AB is influencing her, even a little bit, makes me ill.

    In New York, the crowd let her know in no uncertain terms they liked the books over the show. And though she was very diplomatic about it, she giggled at the end that she was pleased that people like the books better! LOL!

    Anyway, love your review and agree with all of it really! Really loving your blog!

  28. May 11, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    You write so well. I enjoy all your artistic creative ways you write. Thankyou.

    Love and Peace,
    B

  29. 58 M.
    May 11, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Sooo glad you brought up the whole hemophiliac thing. When I was reading about how strange Alexi was, I kept thinking, ‘well duh, that’s what you get when you turn someone with problems with their blood’ (see: Bubba), and the CH never even addresses it! I don’t really see the point of picking that historical figure to use if that past of his background doesn’t come up, it was why the family employed Rasputin in the fist place (I think, my Russian history is a bit shaky).
    I think that as fertile ground to explore, and she didn’t touch it- I guess you’ve got to throw some things out to make a more concise story, but come on CH, another 50 pages wouldn’t have ruined it!
    Really liked the book, but I think I’m a little too deep in to the world when I start fixating on little details like this. . .

  30. 59 Dee
    May 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Great review!!! and glad to see others enjoyed the book too.

    -I also think it was very important that we saw another side of, Eric, considering so many say that it’s all about sex with them and he cares to much about power. As Eric fans we know this is not true but others need to see that he can love her and not put politics before her. Infact, we see how Sookie is effecting his decisions and according to Pam, not doing what he should do regarding the whole Victor situation. Of course Eric haters finally see that Eric loves her and has a different side and they find other things to complain about such as where was all the great sex scenes, meanwhile they complained this was all their relationship was about. Yes, a 1000 viking is going to care for a human by pledging himself to her in the vamp world, which doesn’t help him at all because the sex is so good lol. I loved their relationship and yes I missed the sex scenes but I liked the realness of their relationship. He is letting her into his life the way no other man has. Bill kept secrets and never even told her about how he was made which she finds out from Judith, Alcide had a tendency of keeping Sookie in the dark until the wrong moment and Quinn didn’t even talk about his life and family, she didn’t even know his first name for a while lol. I know it was hard to see Eric not have a plan, one thing we love about him is how he handles situations. He always is level-headed, intelligent, and knows just how to handle any situation. He knew what had to be done but unfortunately this was the first time where the right thing to do put him in a vulnerable situation. Alexei had to be killed and that meant probably going up against his maker. However, I’m convinced there are some things we don’t know yet about what happened that last night so i’ll wait until the next book to really judge.

    It’s true that this book had to be a bit slower paced and not as much action as the last books. Sookie just went through ALOT and i don’t think anybody wanted to see her getting hurt so soon after, the girl needed a break. Even when she was Pam and they were fighting off Victor’s people, I worried about her. I also love the new Sookie, it’s about time. It would be very unrealistic if she was still innocent and as naive as first few books. After everything she has gone through, it only makes sense. Nobody can go through all that and not be changed by their experiences. Also, wouldn’t be smart if there wasn’t character development for the main character in the book, she needs to change and realize she lives in a different world and her attitude and actions have to change.

  31. 60 EricObsessed
    May 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I hardly have much to add since everyone is always writing my very same thoughts out before I can type them!

    I wouldn’t say DitF was my favorite of the series but I certainly loved it! The abrupt ending ruined it a bit for me, I’m sorry to say (and going to sleep snuggling with your cousin and uncle is just freakin weird, I don’t care what they are). I loved Eric and his character development in this but found it very strange there was no biting (on his part) during the sex scenes. And as much as I love Eric, until this book I was very uncertain that he’d be Sookie’s HEA but now my hopes are up, CH better not disappoint!!

    I also made a TB reference list while I was reading it because I thought it was getting a bit strange there were so many, although I missed the TB Eric line. Which one was that? Guess I’ll have to keep my eyes open during my next re-read.

    And where was Bubba? Could he be Eric’s New Orleans spy? He just seems to be CH’s favorite secondary character, I was surprised not to see him.

    • 61 VikingLover
      May 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      [although I missed the TB Eric line. Which one was that?}

      Oh, it was when Sookie tells the church lady “I don’t like threats”. 🙂

      • May 12, 2010 at 12:03 am

        Oh man, that’s another one! I actually missed that.

        The one I was thinking of when I wrote this was Bill saying to Andy “I know you’re not a fan of the fang”.

        I nearly fucking died.

      • 63 MASpencer
        May 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

        At least that one (to me) seemed to be an ironic nod to the show– as if to say SEE, ERIC AND SOOKIE ARE VERY SIMILAR, DON’T YOU KNOW?

        And then there was the Claude water heater business. Which was cute, because I could see Claude getting all bitchy about his showers like Maryann and all. But at the same time, it made CH seem a little unoriginal.

        I completely agree with your assessment of it, SVB. The more ironic references were funny (although there may have been a few too many, which made the novelty wear off)… but some of them (like “fan of the fang”) seemed almost like she soaked them up from the show, and spit them back out having forgotten where they came from.

        That put me off a little, if only because it made very clear that the show most certainly IS influencing her. I prefer the TB references to be subtle– and to be intended to either tacitly or overtly set the VIEWERS straight, NOT the other way around. (Like the basement comment… oh, I was SO happy to read that.)

        • 64 VikingLover
          May 12, 2010 at 12:35 am

          {At least that one (to me) seemed to be an ironic nod to the show– as if to say SEE, ERIC AND SOOKIE ARE VERY SIMILAR, DON’T YOU KNOW?}

          Yes, the “threats” one I didn’t mind because I thought it was funny and gave me the impression as you described it.

          {Which was cute, because I could see Claude getting all bitchy about his showers like Maryann and all. But at the same time, it made CH seem a little unoriginal.}

          This one I completely missed. I even wonder if CH meant this to be a reference to the show. I think she was just trying to be funny. However, if it is a reference to the show, then we’re in deep doo doo with Claude if she’s drawing some kind of parallel between Claude and MA ie deception/false pretenses/ulterior motives.

          • 65 MASpencer
            May 12, 2010 at 12:41 am

            I don’t think she would have meant it that way– I don’t see her mixing mythologies like that. It was probably more because she could see Claude reacting in the same way the Maryann did– i.e. being a guest in someone’s house, and yet ordering the water heater to be fixed as if he owned the place. (I’m having flashbacks of Karl rubbing her feet while she bitched about not being able to tolerate sarcasm without a hot shower. Oh, Maryann, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ll miss you.)

            Anyway, if that WASN’T intentional, then I sincerely fear for the future of the series. It would mean that CH has stopped writing the Sookie Stackhouse novels and started writing TB fan fiction. Yikes. No like.

        • May 13, 2010 at 1:42 am

          I got a kick out of all the cross pollination that seems to be going on. I think CH & AB are both consciously creating myth, and that is one of the characteristics.

          Has anyone mentioned the apricots?

          • May 13, 2010 at 1:50 am

            Oh the bodywash! OMG.

            TB Lorena – “she smells like apricots”
            DITF Sookie – Eric came out …smelling very much like my apricot bodywash”.

            I’m reading your blog post now Renee…you blow my mind lady.

            • May 13, 2010 at 2:16 am

              I blew my mind with that one. It wasn’t where I thought the series was going at all.

              • May 13, 2010 at 2:29 am

                I’m on board with Remy dying…I posted last year about Hunter getting on the supe radar and Remy dying somehow in the process of trying to keep them off him. Entirely plausible that Hunter could be wounded in that scenario, as well.

                I don’t have trouble with the idea of Sookie dying – CH says ad nauseum that it won’t happen but I don’t necessarily trust her on this. It’s the dying for Eric that I can’t get my head around. I can see how this fits with the alchemical structure you’re exploring, but I’m wondering how that could actually play out on the page in a way that doesn’t turn the whole thing into just being about Eric.

                ETA I should have posted this over on your blog. I’ll copy it over.

                • 70 Robin
                  May 13, 2010 at 2:41 am

                  Consider the scenario of Sookie dying for Eric, and then Eric or Pam turning her to save her life. Would that be plausible with your alchemic structure?

                  • May 13, 2010 at 3:22 am

                    It would definitely work alchemically, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that scenario at all. The only thing I worry about is that Sookie would be an @ss about it.

    • May 12, 2010 at 1:15 am

      I wanted to know where Bubba is too. And like you, I’m thinking maybe he’s Eric’s spy in NO. But I’m not sure if he’s a good candidate for a spy though…at least he follows his orders to the letter.

  32. 73 lala
    May 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for your review, i enjoyed it very much. I wish I could say the same about the book, though. I think CH has been heavily influenced (subconsciousy or not) by True Blood, Ball, fans, etc. And I’m not blaming. It was probably inevitable.
    I think Eric and Sookie made progress, but they are not there yet. He’s still calling her “my lover” and she still can’t get the words out of her mouth to mean what she wants them to “I LOVE YOU” SAY IT WITH FEELING. They are not even as emotionally intimate as they were in DTTW.

    I’m afraid I will tire of them faster than CH can end this…

  33. 74 Suzanna
    May 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    This is a case where I’m glad I’m not that into the tv series, because I didn’t pick up on any of the blatant nods to the show in the book, so I wasn’t distracted.

    My biggest problem with the book is the Weres. I just feel like Harris put the whole scenario in the book just so there’d be some action. I don’t see how they contributed to anything other than reminding us that Alcide is pond scum. The same with the fairy. I just thought it was a little out there and unnecessary.

    My favorite parts were Ocella and Alexie showing up and all the character development. I wish she had done a little more with Eric’s maker but, overall, I’m happy with that storyline.

    I am absolutely stumped as to why Harris wrote down the weeks of the months at the beginning of segments and then stopped doing that all of a sudden. Or, if she kept doing it, I missed it because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with the plot. Or plots.

    I wish there had been a little more interaction between Eric and Hunter. I also like to point out that Hunter knew Heidi was dead when he saw her but didn’t refer to Eric as “dead” or as a “vampire.” He just said “a man with blonde hair.” Now either that’s a slip up on Harris’s part or there is something significant to that. It could have been that Hunter thought he was dreaming and so didn’t try to read Eric.

    I kind of wish there had been a little bit more of a movement of plot but I am happy with this book. Thank you for the wonderful review, SVB!

    • 75 nskars
      May 12, 2010 at 2:15 am

      I agree with the Were fiasco, Suzanna. It lacked any sort of originality and I’m just over the whole lot of them, really.

      • 76 Suzanna
        May 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm

        What scared me about this book is that a lot of the action just seemed unnecessary and was just there for the sake of needing some action. The book felt really focused on character development, and I understand that’s the kind of author Harris is (I’m the same way when I write), but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice plot to develop character. In fact, ideally, you develop character through action and plot. The fact that the action seemed unnecessary suggests that Harris may not have enough plot left to make thirteen books. I just get the feeling that this could have been the book that ended the whole series but didn’t because her contract calls for thirteen. Does that make sense?

        • 77 nskars
          May 12, 2010 at 1:53 pm

          It makes perfect sense and I had the exact same thoughts. Let’s hope she’s got enough to pull together a few more books that can be plot driven as well as show depth of character. As much as I did love DITF it seemed a little flighty at times.

        • 78 Kathy
          May 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

          Makes perfect sense to me too. I thought the same thing. That’s why I wish she would settle the HEA in the next book, so she can write a couple of good solid mysteries w/a Sookie and HEA team investigating. It would just defuse all the angst of the fans and make the books even more enjoyable. IMHO.

          I love the world she created. I’d like a few stories, not wrought with “who will Sookie end up with?” I liked at the end of CD how Bill, Eric and Sookie kind of became a team, albeit, an uncomfortable one. I liked the 3 personalities working together.

          You know in several of her other series her protagonists settle with their HEA’s two or three books from the end. IDK, I just like that better.

  34. 80 Willowbella
    May 11, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I just reread the end, it did seem cut short (not complete in itself). Now I’ve started to worry about what’s coming next. First time round I loved it but now I’m thinking uh-oh. I totally understand Eric not giving Sookie a goodbye kiss. With all the fae blood in his system he’d be a danger to her and she understands that (she describes his eyes as “manic blue” and says “…Our bond…wasn’t as strong as it had been because we hadn’t renewed it. But I wasn’t about to suggest that to Eric, not tonight”). But his going off to take care of business made me worry he was going to take care of some other business, what with the pure aphrodisiac coursing through him and all. I hope not, I really hope he was planning on just flying it off.

    When he says “you are my dearest” I though awww, he’s basically saying she’s his beloved and he cherishes her (which I hope is the case). But he could also be clarifying her place in his life and in his heart and if so then why is he doing that? That choice of word makes me anxious now. “Free” also concerned me. He’s not entirely free, he still has his bond with Sookie which I hope he doesn’t forget in his ‘elation’. Then there’s Appius planting doubt in Sookie’s mind with the ambiguous, “you won’t keep Eric, either’ (loved that she was determined he was wrong though). And CH making a comment about the bond not insuring fidelity or something (hope she just meant that it’s their love for each other that insures fidelity not the blood bond). Arghhh…my head is about to explode!

    I accept there may be a break up with 3 books still to go but I hope it’s over something that Sookie won’t see as irreparable. If they break up I want Sookie to realize how much Eric means to her and that she loves him as much as he does her, I don’t want her to have an excuse to hate him/blame him. I want my E/S HEA dammit!

    This turned into a bit of a rant. I dunno. Maybe CH just wants us to THINK this (misleading us with these hints). I haven’t read lots of CH interviews but from what I have she seems to have developed a real affection for E/S and seemed reluctant to break their bond at least. I hope so. I need reassurance, hopefully I’m just worrying too much.

    • 81 Kathy
      May 12, 2010 at 2:11 am

      I’m worried that Pam foreshadowed the break up when she suggested to Sookie that Eric’s love for her is putting them all in danger. I was thinking if there is a break up it will be because Sookie loves him so much she will misguidedly break up with him for his own good (which would leave the door open for getting back together again, as long as Eric doesn’t go off the deep end).

      SOOOO don’t want that to happen.

      • 82 Willowbella
        May 12, 2010 at 2:55 am

        Good point, I never thought of that but it makes sense. Sookie did jump straight to, “are you saying you don’t think Eric and I should see each other anymore?” so the idea is obviously there. Of course it could go the other way round. We could have Eric letting her go to keep her safe after what just happened (he may be free of Appius and Alexei but he still has Victor and Felipe to deal with and they still control him politically at least). Oddly enough I don’t mind those kind of misguided, self-sacrificing break ups so much because they can recover from it. If a break up is necessary then I support the door left open option. too.

        • 83 RubySun
          May 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm

          IDK, I don’t think E would “break up” with Sookie to protect her, because it would leave her vulnerable to the other vamps (VM and FDC). He would know this, that’s why he married her in the first place.

          • 84 Kathy
            May 12, 2010 at 4:21 pm

            I would prefer Sookie do it, though, if a break up HAS to happen. It would show a real growth and maturity on her part, to love someone so much that she would sacrifice her happiness for the safety of Eric and the people he’s responsible for.

            • 85 Willowbella
              May 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm

              That’s true. I use the term “break up” in the widest possible sense, in that some kind of split may happen to force them apart fro story purposes.

              I don’t think Eric ever would “break up” with Sookie (that’s why I said “let her go” although perhaps that wasn’t the best turn of phrase either). Breaking up with her wouldn’t be consistent with his character and all the effort he’s put in or risks he’s taken. I think he could distance himself though (he has done before). Although if Eric did distance himself (for whatever reason) he’d still protect her, even if it was without her knowing. He always has.

              Anything Eric does he will see as temporary whereas Sookie would see it as a “break up” (more permanent). Does seem more likely that if a spilt happens it will be Sookie doing it. She’s way more impetuous than Eric and has more to gain in terms of character development. Hopefully, if that does happen, she’ll learn exactly how much he means to her when they’re apart. She can grow more from it.

              Dramatic writing needs obstacles but there are plenty other ways to create obstacles for the couple without a break up. That would be great (and maybe less predictable). Given how much more mature and settled Sookie seemed in their relationship in this book, I hope they stay together, I’d like to see the relationship grow the way it did here. I still feel like I should prepare myself for the worst though *sigh* 🙂

              • 86 RubySun
                May 13, 2010 at 1:49 am

                WillowBella, I know what you mean, I figure if I prepare for the worst, then I won’t be so disappointed and things can only look up. In my wildest dreams/hopes Eric and Sookie will be working their way to a HEA in the next book or so, and CH will have them together working there way through supe life together, solving mysteries and the like.

  35. 87 Millarca
    May 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Thank you for your detailed review, SVB. I enjoy reading everybody’s reviews and comments. I have skimmed an online version, only reading the Eric/Sookie scenes in detail, because I am in Australia and am waiting to have my own hard copy of the book in my hot little hands before I read all the story thoroughly. It should arrive by early next week and then I will be in a position to say something more.

    I am encouraged by your review and the other comments I have read here and am generally very satisfied with what has happened in this book. I, too, feel, as Kathy said, that we’ll only feel totally satisfied when we get to the last page of the last book. The suspense is being drawn out like when reading a WIP fanfic. I like to read completed stories, and not being able to know the end for 3 years is very frustrating.

  36. 88 VikingLover
    May 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Absolutely fantastic, SVB!! You never disappoint! 🙂 I agree with every thing you said!!

    By the way, I have to say that Appius scared the sh***t out of me and I am so happy that he’s dead. CH did such a great job with this character in the sense that he really came across as being unpredictable and volatile. I loved her description of how Eric was looking at him while they were all together in Sookie’s living room: “Eric was fixed on Appius Livius Ocella like a 7-Eleven clerk watches a customer who may have a gun”. That’s exactly how I felt! Poor Eric! Can you imagine being with someone that made you feel like that all of the time?? Even I felt jittery and that was just him on the page.

    I too did not like all of the TB references. For me one or two would have been fine but there were too many to suit me. The reason it bothered me though was because I have completely separated the books and TB in my mind – they have become two separate entities. Reading all of those references muddied the waters for me and blurred the line that I had created in my mind. It took me a little while to adjust. I really hated the use of the word “breather” in the books. It works on TB but not in the books. For some reason I just feel as though it’s not a word that book Pam and book Eric would use. BUT they are CH’s characters and she knows best so I have to respect it.

  37. 89 Robin
    May 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    [The bond is definitely having an unexpected effect on Sookie and Eric’s individual temperaments – Eric seems to be feeling more like a human, and Sookie seems to be thinking more like a vampire]

    I wanted to say that I am not so certain the blood bond is responsible for these changes in Sookie’s temperament. More likely, I see the changes in Sookie’s temperament almost as a defense mechanism, a direct result of her being taken advantage of for years by Supes and individuals she thought she could trust, sexual abuse, dealing with pain and death of loved ones, and killing out of self-defense. I cannot imagine anyone not becoming more hardened, ruthless and self-preserving after the life she has lived. She has changed.

    Eric, on the other hand, has probably been affected more by the blood bond. Eric is not only experiencing his own emotions and feelings, but he is experiencing those that belong to Sookie. I can imagine that experiencing all of these emotions must make him feel more human, and more than a little distracted.

  38. 90 VikingLover
    May 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    By the way, I just want to say that I didn’t think Appius was “Godric-like” at all. For me Appius was absolutely awful! I hated him and I’m glad he’s dead. I didn’t see one good quality in him – the only redeeming thing about him was the fact that he sacrificed himself for Sookie because he felt how much Eric loved her and he did not want Eric to suffer. Other than that, he was a douche. I hated the power he had over Eric – to see Eric so effected by him because of all he had put him through was painful. To me he was the epitome of the abusive Father – down to the raping of his own “child”. This part really moved me: “Eric, how had given a pretty good impression of indifference about his many years as Ocella’s sexual companion, had had a moment of crazed unwillingness when he actually saw his maker again. Eric was reassembling and rearming himself. He was returning to being Eric, the sheriff, from his abrupt reversion to Eric, the new vampire and love slave…what I was getting from Eric was that it wasn’t so much the physical aspect as the mental; above all else. Eric did not want to be under the control of his maker”.

    Poor Eric. By the way, the fact that he sacrificed himself also leads me to believe that his “you won’t keep Eric either” was complete and utter bullshit. He wouldn’t have sacrificed himself if he really believed that Sookie was going to leave Eric and cause him pain anyway.

    • May 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      Yeah VL. I was afraid I was alone with the same feelings. Godric at least said he wanted to be forgiven for what he had done. There was none of that from Ocella. He was a twisted evil douche.

      • May 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm

        Not alone. Appius was NOTHING like Godric.

        I mentioned those lines he had about Jesus only because Eric has two different makers between show and books, and we saw similar lines coming from both of them.

        But yeah, that was were the similarities end and I don’t think CH was influenced by True Blood with the actual character at ALL.

        • May 12, 2010 at 12:02 am

          Just reading about him made me want to take a shower afterwards.

          • May 12, 2010 at 12:04 am

            Not the Eric kind of shower. Should have been more careful how I said that.

          • 96 VikingLover
            May 12, 2010 at 12:10 am

            {I don’t think CH was influenced by True Blood with the actual character at ALL.}

            I agree 100%. Bobsgran, Appius scared me to death.

            • 97 sue
              May 12, 2010 at 1:19 am

              Disagree He really was not written scary and evil to me. Eric didn’t want to have sex with him but other than that didn’t really seem scared of him either. I don’t know I was ready for Erics maker to be Evil incarnate but what we got was Blah! Just saying. Not Godric like at all. But not what I was expecting for CH’s mention of him in past books.

              • 98 VikingLover
                May 12, 2010 at 2:12 am

                {Eric didn’t want to have sex with him but other than that didn’t really seem scared of him either. }

                WHAT?!?! He kept pouring caution through the bond to Sookie in essence telling her to shut the f**ck up because Appius could literally order him to kill her. This tells me that Appius would not have thought twice about doing so or Eric would not have been so afraid. There was a moment where Eric was twitching so badly it was like a “dog running in his sleep”. He was watching Appius like a “clerk in a 7-Eleven store watches a customer who may have a gun”. Eric was rendered almost mute by the man. Sorry, I’m not arguing with you I’m just surprised. lol Well, I guess two people can definitely read the same passages and come away with completely different interpretations. For me, Eric both respected Appius in some ways and feared/hated him in others. I think he feared his unpredictability most of all – the fact that Appius had no boundaries or limits. An idea would pop into his mind and he would just act on it without any thoughts to consequences because he didn’t really give a sh***t about consequences. When you are that old and powerful, there is really nothing to fear. And Eric would have no choice in any of it. That was my interpretation anyway. And like I said, personally Appius scared the sh***t out of me for that very reason.

                • 99 Vikingvampgirl
                  May 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

                  Maybe I was wrong when I said I think TB influenced Ch as far as Appius was concerned. I agree he is nothing like Godric, He is really at the other end of the universe. But I Felt he might have been toned down from what I had pictured in my mind. Since I’m pretty sure CH is in fact not a telepath she would not have know I expected him to be more bad ass, So just maybe this is the maker she pictured all along. Being narcissistic is so hard sometimes.

                  • 100 RubySun
                    May 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm

                    I just thought after reading this I would look at how E describes Appius in DAG. He tells Sookie that it “wasn’t so bad” and also that he “taught me everything he knew” or something like that. Book is not with me now while writing this. I think Appius was like most characters, not totally bad not totally good. I think he had to be somewhat likeable, or else Eric wouldn’t be the way he is today. Does that make sense? I mean look at Lorena, she was a dark, sneaky nasty maker, and look what she produced, Bill.

                    • 101 LLE
                      May 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm

                      Bill is sneaky and I don’t trust him. Sookie find out he was turn by someone else.

                    • 102 Suzanna
                      May 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

                      I agree. Eric did say that and, to me, Appius seemed like a neutral character who was at his wits end. I want to think, though, that he was there for reasons other than trying to control Alexei.

                    • May 13, 2010 at 1:48 am

                      I agree too. I kinda like Appius. Well, not very much but I thought there is something more that can be done with his character. I kinda see him as like Sophie Ann. Ruthless but you get where they are coming from.

                    • 104 RubySun
                      May 13, 2010 at 1:50 am

                      Oh that’s a perfect description!

                    • May 13, 2010 at 2:02 am

                      That’s the sense I got of Appius, too. In coming to Eric and in his death he was motivated by love, however twisted. He was as horrified by what Alexei had turned into as anyone. I read Eric’s caution as somewhat of an over reaction, but I could be wrong.

    • 106 LoveEric
      May 25, 2010 at 7:16 pm

      I think Appius saying, “You won’t keep him” was him telling Sookie that if she staked him (which he saw she was thinking about doing), Eric would not forgive Sookie for that. I don’t know if Eric would forgive that or not, but Appius believed that he wouldn’t.

  39. 107 Asapp
    May 11, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    This was very well said. Great observations, and I couldn’t agree with you more. In my eyes Eric is pretty much going to be the HEA if not I think she has wasted years and books of her own personal time.

  40. 108 Willowbella
    May 11, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    There was a lovely little aside when Sookie is at Eric’s door and says, “I always knocked at Eric’s door if he didn’t expect me, because I never knew who would be there or…” When I read it I expected her to say, “what they were doing,” seemed like a typical Sookie kind of comment, but instead she surprised me with, “or what they’d be talking about.” She’s worried about disrupting his business dealings not a romantic liaison. I thought this was revealing, it showed she’s more secure in their relationship now. She’s come to trust him and believes he’s committed to her. I want more of that. I don’t want Sookie’s trust in the Viking to be broken because of the ‘chemical’ aphrodisiac at the end, that would be such a cheap shot and if CH decides to break them up like that it would be taking the easy option in my opinion. You’re right, what would be the whole point if she doesn’t end up with Eric when he’s been the strongest and only real prospect throughout. However it comes about I want him to be the HEA, I think that’s the most popular and most logical opinion.

    ** So I managed to change my nickname back to Willowbella (not Willabella). *heads desk* Sorry to confuse…I have no idea what I’m doing with this blogging malarky.

    • May 12, 2010 at 2:03 am

      I agree with Sookie trusting Eric a little bit more. But I’m still a little frustrated that she still can’t believe that Eric wants to be with her (her musing when she did Eric’s hair, something like, So what on earth are you doing with me?). Argh.

      • 110 Willowbella
        May 12, 2010 at 2:30 am

        She’s definitely still susceptible to the occasional self-confidence crisis but she does show more trust and hopefully that grows. He shares far more with her than she does with him though. He’s completely open about his ‘vampire shit’ but she’s still keeping secrets. Infuriating but she’s taking steps in the right direction at least. Let’s just hope it’s not one step forward and two back.

        • May 12, 2010 at 2:35 am

          Lol, vampire shit. I agree that Eric shares far more about his stuff than Sookie. And I hope too that Sookie’s progress will continue in the right direction. I’m just a bit afraid that she’ll get tired of all the ‘vampire shit’ and just give it all up. (Not sure how she can do that though)

  41. 112 Kristen
    May 12, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Love your review, and, again, feel like we’re on the same page about this book. It was extremely pivotal, but a lot more subtle than other books. There were some earth-shattering revelations, but they were a bit more quiet than normal. And I think that’s good. I feel like Eric and Sookie have reached a place where they could realistically build a life together. No deus ex machina or ridiculous last minute plot devices here – just some good, old fashioned hard work to make a less than ideal situation a great relationship… And honestly isn’t that real life? Charlaine’s ability to take a really unnatural (supernatural?) situation and have it mirror how tough real relationships are really resonates with me. I’ve never been a romance reader and don’t believe in endings where everything falls into perfect, happily ever after endings. I just don’t buy it, but I buy Eric and Sookie and that means a lot to me.

    Thanks for your thoughts… They are well-considered and add to my experience for sure.

  42. 113 MASpencer
    May 12, 2010 at 12:14 am

    So, my husband just started reading this book in the living room while I’ve been working in my office. And a moment ago, he specifically came in to interrupt me with: “Dude, Bill is such a CREEP.” Exact words.

    I love him. ❤

  43. 117 Dina
    May 12, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Thanks for the review! Not long enough for me, LOL, please post more.
    Appius and Alexei. I think CH could have come up with something more interesting for Alexei, but I was happy with Appius, or, rather, with what his presence as a character unveiled.
    While definitely creepy because of his predilection for sexual dominance over underaged and unwilling, he was mostly neutral- this overwhelming, unpredictable but passive entity. I found Eric’s depression and paralysis quite believable. I think Appius, just by his presence, threw light on many things.
    – Eric must be one Awesome Maker. Just compare how Pam relates to him vs Lorena/ Bill or Appius/ Eric. Even Andre was more subservient to Sophie- Anne, though they actually loved each other. If ever Eric is going to be made a darker character, I will not believe it simply because Pam is completely undamaged and thriving. ( and the best secondary character, Yum)
    – Sookie states in the beginning of this book that for her- emotionally- killing a vampire is different from killing a human. That might become a problem, or at least it is something I hope she overcomes in the future. I think that had she killed Appius that would have ended any possibility of HEA with Eric. To me it goes back to CD, when Sookie demands Eric kill Lorena as a payment for her rescuing Bill. Eric’s reaction: ( not verbatum, do not have a book with me)- “You would not have asked if she were human” Sookie” “If she were human, I’d do it myself”. Or, such bullshit, Sookie. She ends up killing Lorena in self- defence, and Lorena is a psychobitch, so it’s all dandy. But I do not want to see Sookie killing vampires in cold blood- for HEA there needs to be equality. ( Eric has to consider humans more, as well)
    – Eric- NOT wanting Sookie to kill Appius, even though that ensures his freedom. Big plus for him- being loyal and tormented rather than expedient. Sookie keeps saying Eric admires Appius. I do not see admiration there- but I do see respect and irrational attachment, which characterizes Eric well- despite the fact that Appius made him an unhappy mess.
    – Appius- he could crush Sookie like a bug, by variety of cruel and unusual means. He did not. Big kudos to Appius, big minus for Sookie for not realizing that coming close to killing a creature who showed you mercy – though passively- is not going to be the best thing to do. It seems that Appius sacrificed himself for her- or, more probably, for Eric’s happiness- at the end, so Yay Appius. Though something about his “unwelcome business” in Eric’s area has to become clearer in the future books, if CH is keeping track.
    – Agree that it did a great deal of good for Sookie to be the powerful one over Eric- both sexually ( BJ power) and emotionally ( her goading Eric into action).
    I sign off as my ramblings became disastrously long.

  44. 118 Natalie
    May 12, 2010 at 6:01 am

    I loved the review!

    Ok maybe someone can break down the Vampire “boundery” lines/politics. There are times I’m reading and I get bored with those topics that I find myself missing stuff. Or lead me to a post where I might be better able to understand…as I was bored as Sookies was and wanting Eric happy time!

  45. 119 asifuentes
    May 12, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Great review, I think you nailed pretty much everything down. I am really happy that you posted this review because you have a way of breaking it down for people…I love it. Can’t wait to read your future posts.

  46. 120 Belle
    May 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

    As per usual….Great post as always! And as your bestie So proud of you!!! x

  47. 121 Pat
    May 12, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Fantastic review! Enjoyed reading every bit of it and could have read much more! 🙂

    Looking forward to your post about Eric and Sookie together and also what you think about Hunter’s role in the series, as he wasn’t mentioned in this post.

  48. 122 RubySun
    May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Wow, SVB, Bravo! My thoughts exactly. I think you took the words right out of my mouth. Haven’t read the other comments yet, but will do that now. Can’t wait for your analysis of Eric and Sooks from this book and also of the “king” theory.

  49. 123 lagata181
    May 12, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Ok, so I loved the book and, as usual, I LOVE the SVB take on it. Brava! And I look forward to contributing to the discussion in a meaningful way very soon, but first, there is something gnawing at me, and I just have to vent.

    The proper pronunciation of Eric’s maker’s name is AP-pee-oos LEE-vee-oos Oh-CHELL-ah. (In other words, the “c” in Ocella is supposed to be pronounced like the “c” in “cello.”) Just to be thorough, I checked with my mom, who is from Italy and happens to be a Latin scholar, and she confirmed that, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is how ancient Romans would have pronounced that name. So why doesn’t Eric know how to pronounce it? (Or why doesn’t APPIUS?!) This error really cast a pallor for me over Harris’s credibility as an author, and over what was an otherwise delightful reading experience.

    • 124 Suzanna
      May 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm

      There is Church Latin and then there is Classical Latin. It could be that Harris consulted a source on Church Latin, which has a different pronunciation.

    • May 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      I (ex-Ancient-Latin-advanced-course-student) just had to listen to the audio book until my copy arrives, and the wrong pronunciation seriously bugged me out, too. (In DAG already.)

  50. 126 Goose
    May 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Love the review, still not long enough.
    I have a little worry though, when Eric stays at Sookies house without letting her know he leaves a note and says that he found her house full of males…he then goes on to say that as long as no one is in my ladys chamber he could deal with it (sweet)
    What happens if he gets through with business the same night and decides to make it up to Sookie as promised and finds her in bed with 2 fairies????

    • 127 lagata181
      May 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      I had the exact same thought! I think we might have a clue here as to how Book 11 begins. It has been speculated here and elsewhere that there may come a time when Sookie must do the chasing after Eric as a device for making her realize how much she has to lose if she lets him go. Finding his woman in bed with two gorgeous male fairies would definitely be a “dealbreaker” (shout out to 30 Rock!) for a far more temperate man than our Viking, so this could definitely be the event that sets the wheels in motion.

      • 128 Robin
        May 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm

        Somehow I do not see this situation happening. I think Pam, Eric and Sookie are going to have to trust each other and strategize to stay a step ahead of Victor Madden (and/or FDC) in the next couple of books, so I do not see them parting ways.

        • 129 Suzanna
          May 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

          Well, Eric knows that Claude is gay, right? And that she’s related to them both, so I doubt he’ll jump to any conclusions.

          • 130 Willowbella
            May 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm

            Yeah, I think CH was just trying to show Sookie coming together with her extended family, I don’t know that it has any more relevance than this. I also think, given that the end seemed abrupt, that she was grappling to find a neat (and maybe sweet) note to finish on.

      • May 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

        I don’t get why everyone is freaking out about Eric finding out about this.

        One fairy is her cousin and the other is her great uncle. CH is SO not going there. And for Eric to get all fired up about it would just be dumb. They are related! There is nothing more to this and I don’t think it will be an issue at all.

        JMHO….

        • 132 Kathy
          May 12, 2010 at 9:48 pm

          ITA. I actually thought it was sweet. I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on the next book at all.

          • 133 KittyKat
            May 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm

            Yes, it was sweet (sort of), and innocent, but I think she’s stupid in placing herself in these situations over and over, TBH, like giving Bill a kiss (or allowing him to kiss her, whatever). If we go far back, for all purposes, even if we do hate Bill (I do, at least), it was mighty odd to ask Eric, of all people, to go to the orgy with her, since she knew he lusted after her, and more likely than not, he’d try to put moves on her.

            Obviously Eric won’t be happy if he finds out but I don’t think he’ll leave her over that or go psycho on her. He’d know if she did anything, in the nighttime at least. My theory on it being soothing is the fae magic at work, they are definitely touchy feely.

            And 2 guys on the bed with her? I think Eric knows she’s more traditional than that. Her little fantasy in book 5 was our of utter embarrasment at being in the room with 2 guys she had slept with, with all of them knowing it for certain, not out of actual desire of having a threesome.

            • May 12, 2010 at 11:26 pm

              … it was mighty odd to ask Eric, of all people, to go to the orgy with her, since she knew he lusted after her, and more likely than not, he’d try to put moves on her.

              She knew damn well what she was doing when she asked Eric to go.

              I mean really, no one – not even Sookie way back then – is that thick LOL. Sookie was giving Eric the green light from the beginning, but I don’t think half the time she was even consciously aware of what she was doing.

          • May 12, 2010 at 11:10 pm

            It was sweet – and I think the point of it was to show that Sookie is connecting with her kin. She even says something about being “with blood” in the last couple of lines. I just don’t see that it was constructed to send Eric into a jealous fit.

            That’s what Quinn is for 😛

            But I could be wrong…wouldn’t be the first time! 🙂

          • 140 lagata181
            May 13, 2010 at 5:11 am

            I thought it was very sweet, too. One of the most satisfying endings in the SVM series, even. The only reason I was thinking that it might cause trouble is because of that line that Goose referred to, about how it was ok with Eric if there were men in the house as long as they were not in her bedroom. It seemed to be a bit of foreshadowing, but it wouldn’t be the first time that I read too much into something insignificant, lol! 🙂

        • 141 LLE
          May 12, 2010 at 10:02 pm

          I agree with you.

      • May 13, 2010 at 1:52 am

        I kinda like the idea of Sookie going after Eric. IMO, Eric has been doing all the chasing and has been laying it all out in terms of his feelings, and still Sookie is not 100% into the relationship. Just me though.

  51. 143 VampirePamsGirl
    May 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    SVB, as usual you made me smile, laugh, and nod vigourously in agreement! Here are a few of my thoughts on the gracious plenty that you’ve provided us with. 😉

    “It was also a “transitional” book, but in saying that I don’t mean to call it series filler.”- I love that you said that because I’ve heard a lot of criticism about this book being “transitional”. It was a bit transitional because that’s what the story needed at this point. There have been so many things that have been vague or unclear that needed to be clarified before the story can progress. If you plan on reading the entire series, but think that you’d be okay with skipping this book, you’d definitely be missing a whole lot of important stuff. Furthermore, there were a lot of loose ends tied up in this book (a.k.a. Bill) and I absolutely agree that groundwork was laid for the HEA (a.k.a. Eric).

    And I have a lot more to say but I’ll have to do a second post later. Gotta get to work, ugh. I really think though that blog addiction should be an acceptable excuse for tardiness, lol.

  52. 144 Mia
    May 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Excellent review. I thought Appius was a bit of a letdown too, but I thought he was expending all of his energy on keeping Alexi under control so he didn’t have time to amuse himself with other diversions.

    I also thought that Eric’s weakness at the end of the book could be attributed to Alexi draining his energy through the bond. At the end, Alexi comments that Eric’s love for Sookie is pouring through the bond but he can’t stop since it’s the best he’s felt in decades. The “pouring through” reference made me think of an open conduit where all of Eric’s strength is flowing into Alexi. It would certainly account for how Alexi was able to take out several vampires so much older than him and do battle with fairies. I think Sookie even says she felt drained by her connection to him. Of course, Alexi may have been feeding on Eric’s blood, which may also contribute to his weakness and Alexi’s strength.

  53. 145 A Northern Soul
    May 13, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Hi, I’ve been lurking around for quite some time and I ove your blog! Especially the latest post about DITF.

    I really liked this book, and had no problem with the shortened sex scenes. For me it was all about the intimacy and Sookie and Eric’s relationship going to the next level.

    Our Viking just about made my heart burst in this book. He so clearly laid everything out for Sook, vulnerabilities and all. When he told her that he trusted only her and Pam, I got a little faklempt. Yet..Sookie is still holding back. While there’s absolutely no doubt that she loves him, and she’ll readily admit it to anyone else, for some reason she’s got a real problem telling Eric she loves him with the same resolve. I can think of two instances – the first where he proclaims his love for her and she tells him what she loves about him and the way he makes her feel; The second, toward the end, where he firmly tells her how much he loves her and she spouts off “Love you too” in a detached and offhanded way. Um, Sook? WTF!? ARGH! Makes me want to jump into the book a la Inkheart and smack some sense into her! She’s still holding back, though I think eventually she’ll come around. I’m thinking the whole issue with her mortality plays a major part in this (and I have my own theories about her life span, but that’s for another post), plus the complicated world of vamp politics is making her very cautious and conflicted in these matters of the heart.

    SVB, I’m totally eating up your post about Eric becoming King. I’ve heard others talk about it before but I brushed it off, figuring Eric was happy in his corner of Louisiana. I think that was very much the case before the downfall of QSA, but oh how things have changed. This is the ultimate game of survival for the Sherriff of Area 5, and I think CH is setting Sookie up to be “Queen.” I feel there was some foreshadowing of this in DTTW, where Eric told Sookie that he would bring her to his side, and every vampire who owes him fealty would honor her. At the time Sookie thought it was a sweet, albeit medieval-like fantasy, but the way things are progressing, not so much anymore. With her hardened behavior and newfound ruthlessness (which, IMO, is due (partly) to the blood exchange, her torture, and will to survive) she’s more than up to the challenge of being the royal consort. Also, the fact that Eric is filling her in on vamp politics, and the close friendship between Sookie and Pam finally being cemented speaks volumes.

    • May 13, 2010 at 12:47 am

      SVB, I’m totally eating up your post about Eric becoming King. I’ve heard others talk about it before but I brushed it off, figuring Eric was happy in his corner of Louisiana. I think that was very much the case before the downfall of QSA, but oh how things have changed.

      Spot on. Trust me, I’ve been hawking this theory for a while and I always get the response “But Eric doesn’t WANT to be King”.

      When Eric had a queen he respected, who didn’t interfere with him directly, and whom he seemed to have quite a workable relationship with….they’re right, Eric didn’t want to be king. That is NOT the case any more. NOW he has someone plotting to take his area. He’s not going to sit by and watch that happen and the only way to stop it is to have MORE power, not less. Bruno – “Eric is accumulating too much power”. Our boy has been busy.

      I have always maintained that he will become King out of necessity, not out of a desire for power because that doesn’t jibe with his character. Eric hasn’t really changed – what he wants is enough power that he is left alone. That has always been his desire, and it is still. Under Sophie Anne, “enough” was sheriff. Under Felipe (with Victor circling) it has become clear that sheriff is no longer enough. And that is the catalyst for him to move. It became very clear in this book that it’s now necessary.

      It’s just been a gut feeling I’ve had for a while that this is where things are going, other than some vague foreshadowing (the one in DTTW that you cited for example) there really hasn’t been any concrete evidence for it until now. But this book has it in spades. Hopefully I can get a post done on it soon now that I have some canon to back me up 🙂

      • 147 Robin
        May 13, 2010 at 1:24 am

        ANS, I just wanted to say that this book brought me so much joy, and for me the intimacy that Eric and Sookie shared was the best part of the book. Even though Sookie has been holding back a bit, I am sure that Eric knows exactly where her heart is, and he is patiently waiting for her to openly give her heart over to him. He knows, he just does.

        SVB, love your thoughts on how Eric will become king out of necessity, to protect his interests, and not out of want for power. Big difference between Eric and Victor Madden. You are correct, Eric just wants to be able to protect those that he loves and feels a responsibility to, and he does not want to feel threatened.

        Great posts, both of you!

        • 148 RubySun
          May 13, 2010 at 2:08 am

          SVB and Robin…My thoughts exactly. ITA that Eric knows how Sookie feels, but he is wise enough to wait for it to happen. He knows she is young, and inexperienced, and that she is not likely to put her heart out there so easily after her experience with Bill. I mean, you don’t “live” a thousand years and not know these kinds of things.

          As for being King, I wholeheartedly agree with you. There are quite a few signs this book about what is to come. I’m sure it’s the whole reason why Eric was so adamant about telling Sookie about the division of the kingdoms and how they came to be. He explains how Felipe had to get approval from those in his “division” before the takeover in case he was to fail. I think he tells Sookie about this whole thing because obviously he is having to do the same. Or he will have to do this soon. OMG, I just can’t wait til next May, and here I was so happy for May 4th to get here! LOL.

        • 149 A Northern Soul
          May 13, 2010 at 2:12 am

          Oh, I agree, Robin. They both know it, even though she has trouble verbalizing it. I’ll be a very happy woman when she finally looks him square in the eye, drops her defenses, and tells him exactly how she feels! 🙂

      • 150 VerityV
        June 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm

        I assume that Eric loves vampire politics…it’s the best, longest lasting game around for a long-lived group. He’s got the kind of mind that figures the angles and consequences long-term. I don’t think he’d shy away from grabbing power.

  54. 151 Tam77
    May 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

    I was interested in Sookie’s comment: “…Our bond…wasn’t as strong as it had been because we hadn’t renewed it. But I wasn’t about to suggest that to Eric, NOT TONIGHT”.
    At the start of the book she is lamenting the bond and it’s affect on her, and using it to avoid deciding how she feels about Eric. She also talks to Amelia about how to end it.
    By the end of the book, she is aware that it is weakening due to not being renewed but appears to want to strengthen it. I get really pissed at Sookie sometimes, but this gave me hope.

    Overall though, their relationship in this book felt like an anti-climax to me. After 9 books building up to it, they are suddenly in a relationship but we haven’t even seen them have the ‘chats’ Eric has been wanting to have with her for AGES. I was looking forward to them having the conversations she previously avoided. Suddenly being in a relationship without having these talks felt really anti-climactic.

    I totally felt Eric’s frustration when he got ticked off at the way she devalues their relationship. I SOOO AGREE WITH YOU ERIC!!!

    • 152 Tam77
      May 13, 2010 at 7:40 am

      I have started reading all the insightful posts here (I was avoiding them until my copy turned up) – and I agree that there were heaps of wonderful relationship moments between Eric and Sookie.
      There also appears to be a lot that has happened between them that is not on the page – I wanted more of that stuff to be on the page. I feel like CH could write a whole book between DAG and DITF dealing with Eric and Sookie moving from one sex scene near the end of DAG to being fully immersed in a relationship in DITF.
      I love what was in DITF…. I just wanted more…. greedy of me I know!!

  55. 153 Meta
    May 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Too many comments to read! With that said, SVB, I hope you still plan on posting that piece on Alcide that was pulled!

    On another note, so CH will have a short stories book out next spring, any word on the next full length? The Felipe/Victor plot really is what makes wating suck!

  56. 157 Goose
    May 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    If Eric does become King, he won’t have to marry a Queen from another area for 100 years will he?

    • 158 VikingLover
      May 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm

      Well I would think that it’s not necessary for a King/Queen to marry another King/Queen from another area in order to consolidate their power. In my mind, there has to be another way for them to do this. Perhaps there are some types of legal contracts that can be created?

  57. 159 Only4Eric
    May 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve been wondering — if that was a Shakespearean ending, which play was it?

  58. May 17, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Great blog! I have a deeper appreciation for the “Dead in the Family” that I already loved! Looking forward to reading DITF again more than ever now and also looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  59. 161 northmanfan
    May 17, 2010 at 1:15 am

    I’m not sure if being King will ensure more stability/security, especially the way the vampire hierarchy is set up. The vibe I got when eric and sookie were talking about the way the hierarchy is set up made me think that 1) it’s not that stable in terms of keeping power/security and 2) eric does not like the fact that he can’t trust anyone (aside from sookie and pam). Really, how stable is Felipe’s position now? We already know he has victor nipping at his heels and the likelihood that he has to be on constant lookout for other threats is pretty high. IOW, the more people eric has “under” him, the more precarious his position in some ways. If he (and sookie and pam) have to get rid of victor then I’m sure they’ll do it, but I don’t think he’ll be volunteering to be regent over Louisiana. Even if he became king it would only be a quick fix. The problem lies in the way the hierarchy is set up. They’re “out” now, and it’s time they moved towards integration, and that includes cementing their position as citizens (meaning obeying the law and demanding their rights as citizens.

    “her assumption that Eric would veto artificial insemination without discussing it with him were painful demonstrations of just how bat shit crazy Sookie’s thought processes can be.”

    I have to agree with this to a certain extent. If sookie told eric that she wanted a child, I really don’t think he’d have a problem with her undergoing in vitro fertilization or adopting. When he made the decision to really “be” with her, he didn’t make it lightly.

    • 162 northmanfan
      May 17, 2010 at 2:16 am

      Btw, Great review of DitF. I agreed with a good deal of it, and even in the parts I didn’t agree with I can see where you’re coming from. As for Bill, I don’t hate him (or any of the other suitors). I just prefer eric as a character and as a match for sookie.

  60. May 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I am anxiously awaiting your next posts! Especially your next Sookie/Eric post and a post on the True Blood references.

  61. 164 Vicky
    May 18, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Great review! Totally agree with everything 100% Great job and continue to speak the truth!

    🙂

  62. 165 Mike K
    May 24, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I truly appreciate the depth to which you analyze the books, show and characters. It is amazing! I must disagree with you on the outcome of this latest book however.

    I read this and the 6 before it within the last two weeks. To me, not only was this book far from interesting, as all the previous ones were, but this one did not advance the storyline much at all. Every page I turned, I asked myself, “maybe something will happen in the next chapter…” I do see your points on how this book may have tied up some loose ends, but to me, it took about 20 pages or more to do what she normally does in 2 pages.

    As a matter of fact, after reading all of these books back-to-back, I question if Charlaine Harris actually wrote this one! Seriously though, the writing style is just so much different than all of the previous Sookie Stackhouse books. All of the books in this series seemed to follow a similar pattern. Besides, why push the story with Eric’s maker now??? She full well knew that the HBO series introduced him in the show already (and already disposed of him). It doesn’t make any sense to me. Can anyone see this book being contained in a full HBO season as it is?

    There is obviously more to explore with Eric and the Vegas vampires. There’s a hint here of more to come with the fae. The only thing I did enjoy was more of Pam. Her smart assed comments and attempts to converse with Sookie are highly entertaining! Everything else in this book dragged on and on forever, and what few conclusions we got were rushed. This is the first book that I read of the Sookie books, where I got the distinct impression that she is tired of writing about it….

  63. 166 adriennelynn
    June 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Until I read your positive review of DITF, I’d pretty much been feeling let down by the book. Since I’m an Eric fan, I was really upset when Appius told Sookie, “You won’t keep Eric, either.”(p.306) I was thinking that he meant either Sookie will break up with Eric, or he will break up with her. Regardless of what the statement meant, I wonder if CH is foreshadowing their break-up. The only other time I felt this disappointed in the series was when Sookie was involved with Quinn (although I do like his character).
    In my first reading of the book, all of the scenes with Sam fell flat for me, and felt mostly unnecessary. I despised the Appius storyline. Although I was happy a lot of questions were answered in this book, the only scenes I truly enjoyed were those that involved Pam.
    I loved your analysis of the book, and I’m going to hang in there until CH finishes Sookie’s story.

  64. 167 Robin
    June 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    So, this could be a long post. I just finished my third reread of DITF, specifically looking for instances where I think Sookie is having moments of precognition or psychic abilities. I have not read any of the other books with this purpose in mind, but may do so later. We have heard in early spoilers for book 11 that there will be a character named Manfred introduced who is a psychic. Irony or psychic ability?

    1. pg 37 Sookie begins April thinking about and describing how much she loves spring, and that she loves “the sound of werewolves howling in the distance.” She says that “Tray Dawson had once told me that spring is the favorite season of werewolves. There’s more prey, so the hunt is over quickly, leaving more time to eat and play. Since I’d been thinking of Weres, it wasn’t such a surprise to hear from one.” In the next sentence, she goes onto say that the Shreveport packleader, Alcide, gives her a call.

    2. pg 52 After Basim has explained that they smelled that a fairy has been in her woods, Sookie thinks to herself “or I could talk to Claude, see if he could give me insight into the situation”. On page 53, Sookie receives a knock at her back door, and she says “speak of the devil”. Claude then asks if he can move in with Sookie.

    3. pg 107 Sam and Sookie are eating dinner at the Crawdad Diner. Towards the end of their dinner, Sookie is thinking of the events of the night before in which she and Pam killed Bruno and Corinna. She mentions in her thoughts that she has “worried all day about the fallout from the events.” When Sam goes to pay his half of the bill, her cell phone rings, Pam calling to explain the fallout from the events of the night before.

    4. pg 142 Tara and Sookie are discussing her relationship with Eric in the park. Tara says “So, you want to tell me what’s wrong?” Sookie says, “Truth be told, Tara, I’m not sure.” Sookie thinks to herself “I had an overwhelming feeling that something was askew, something important. But I couldn’t put my finger on what that might be.” Personally, I really did not understand why Tara felt something was wrong between Sookie and Eric because I did not pick up on it, but Tara must have picked up on something. Precognition of Appius and Alexei?

    Then, on pg 159, Sookie has sex with Eric after discussing the vampire hierarchial clans. She then thinks to herself “It was great. Even though I had a niggling anxiety gnawing at me, that gnawing was successfully stifled for a very satisfying forty-five minutes.” Again, precognition of Appius and Alexei probably an hour before they arrived?

    5. pg 190-191 Discussion takes place about moving Basim’s body. On page 191, Sookie thinks “Cause someone’s coming to find him, and coming soon.” On page 199, Sookie see that two police cars are coming down her driveway through the woods. Sookie thinks to herself “I’d been sure this was coming.”

    6. pg 224 Sookie is talking with Sam. She thinks to herself “I wanted to check my cell phone for messages and my landline, too. And my computer. I was dying for someone to reach out and touch me.” Then Sam asks Sookie “Is something the matter?” and then “he reached out to give me a tentative pat on the shoulder.” Just my opinion, I did not look at this passage as some kind of foreshadowing of a future relationship between Sam and Sookie. I see this passage indicating some of her psychic ability.

    7. pg 234 Sookie reads in the newspaper about demonstrations and riots concerning the Were registration legislation. On page 235, Sookie thinks “I looked through the kitchen window at the gathering dusk, as if I expected to see a crowd of villagers with torches marching to Merlotte’s.” Then, on page 266, we see the church group protest the two-natured on a Sunday at Merlotte’s. I believe the actual protest at Merlotte’s occurs one or two days after she has that vision in her kitchen window.

    Did anyone else pick up on her psychic ability during their reads? Are there any other occurrences that I missed? I know some of it could be coincidence, but I think CH is getting ready to introduce Sookie’s psychic ability into the storyline. What are your thoughts?

    • 168 Robin
      June 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      SVB, I apologize if this was not the correct place to post this. Maybe it should have been posted under DITF #1 or #2?

      • 169 Kathy
        June 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

        Just FYI, Manfred is a very colorful character from the Harper Connelly series. His grandmother was a quasi-famous psychic who passed away in the course of the books. Charlaine loved that character and since she’s not writing anymore Harper books, I think she was trying to figure out a way of continuing Manfred’s story. I guess she decided to plop him in Bon Temps.

        • 170 Robin
          June 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

          Thank you, Kathy. Yes, I was aware that Manfred is a character in another one of her series. I really do not think Sookie is aware of any precognition or psychic tendencies at this point, but maybe Manfred will bring this ability to light?

      • 171 KC
        June 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

        I noticed this one during my re-read of FDTW. I think I missed it the first time because when you read the paragraph, you don’t know that it’s Sigebert who is attacking Eric:

        “I was worried about Eric. This was a fairly new phenomenon, one that
        made me very uneasy, and it had started the night of the coup. Worrying
        about Eric was like worrying about the well-being of a rock or a tornado.
        When had I ever had to worry about him before? He was one of the most
        powerful vampires I’d ever met. But Sophie-Anne had been even more
        powerful and protected by the huge warrior Sigebert, and look what had
        happened to her. I felt abruptly, acutely miserable. What was wrong with
        me?
        I had a terrible idea. Maybe I was worried simply because Eric was
        worried? Miserable because Eric was miserable? Could I receive his
        emotions this strongly and from this great a distance? Should I turn around
        and find out what was happening? If the king was being cruel to Eric, I
        couldn’t possibly be of any assistance. I had to pull over to the side of the
        road. I couldn’t drive anymore. “

        • 172 Robin
          June 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm

          Sigebert. Why did she think of Sigebert while she was worrying about Eric and feeling his misery through the blood bond? This is exactly the type of thing that I am noticing about Sookie. Remember when Claude told Tara that she was going to have twins, a boy and a girl? Maybe this is a fairy trait?

          • 173 Robin
            June 8, 2010 at 1:08 pm

            I found another example in DITF of Sookie having a moment of psychic abilility or precognition to add to my list:

            8. pg 164 Upon the arrival of Appius Livius Ocella and Alexei, Sookie says “Eric, you need to go to the front door and let them in. I’ll bet they don’t really need an invitation.” Further down the page, Ocella says “But my child is in this house, and if he is welcome, so am I. Am I not?” “I waited to come in out of courtesy. We could have appeared in your bedroom.” Sookie would have had no idea from past experience that Appius Livius would be able to walk in to her house uninvited, how did she know?

    • 174 adriennelynn
      June 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

      As I read DITF, I noticed several of the possible examples of psychic ability you posted, but at the time, I really didn’t think they were anything out of the ordinary-things that anyone might normally experience. For example: have you ever thought about someone your haven’t seen in awhile, and then, “poof” you run in to them around town, or they call? Just my guess, but I don’t think CH wanted us to read anything more into it. However, with the introduction of Manfred, I could really be guessing wrong.

  65. 175 VerityV
    June 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    In re: HEA…this just hit me like a bucket of ice water. CH has made a big deal about how Sophie Ann’s rare talent was making “children” that could stay with her. Pam has made it clear that sire/child relationships burn hot but end quickly. There was a throw away line about vamps not usually spending more than a night together because exchanging blood gives them too much power over each other. So, hypothetically, if Sookie became a vampire it’s likely that she & Eric wouldn’t stay together very long.

    Hmmm, unless maybe Magic would let them bond because they would be each other’s Heart’s Desire?

    • June 4, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      Oh yes THIS.

      I go completely insane about this idea that Sookie has to be turned to have a vampire HEA.

      The lore that Charlaine has set up in her world has established clearly that vampire + vampire relationships are doomed.

      The reason people keep harping on about this – fucking Twilight.

      I blame it 100 percent for all this rubbish about Sookie having to be turned to be with Eric.

      Bella Swan and her pathetic teenage angst can burn in fucking hell.

      • 177 Robin
        June 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        I agree SVB, I personally would like to see Sookie remain unchanged, to grow old at her own pace with grace. Eric loves her for her personality and soul. That would make a much more compelling HEA than a Twilight ending.

        • June 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

          Eric loves her for her personality and soul.

          Exactly.

          “Stop that now. You must be strong. I’m very proud of you, you hear me?”
          “Why?” I put my mouth on his wrist and drank again.
          “You are still together; you are still a person. Lochlan and Neave have left vampires and fairies in rags — literally, rags . . . but you survived and your personality and soul are intact.”
          ~Dead and Gone.

          • 179 Freyja
            June 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm

            Yebb that’s what I think too. I loved this conversation in DAG!!! It shows that Eric is far away from shallow and isn’t afraid of her getting older, although he is afraid of loosing her but he accepts and loves who she is, a human!

          • 180 Kathy
            June 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

            Here’s my theory. Sookie has fairy in her. They don’t age the same way as humans. So………no need to be turned!

          • 181 VerityV
            June 4, 2010 at 2:36 pm

            And who can forget in DTTW, after the insulting planning meeting:”
            You are beautiful…You are smart,and you are loyal… You have a sense of fun and adventure…You have the most beautiful breasts I’ve ever seen. You’re brave…You’re responsible and hardworking…You’re creative, too…You took me in off the road and kept me safe. You’re ready to fight for me. I can tell this about you. I can’t believe my luck. When this witch is defeated, I would bring you to my side. I will share everything I have with you. Every vampire who owes me fealty will honor you.”

            Sigh.

            • June 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

              When this witch is defeated, I would bring you to my side. I will share everything I have with you. Every vampire who owes me fealty will honor you.”
              Sigh.
              And Eric will be King.

              • 183 Robin
                June 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

                Eric recovers his memories towards the end of FDTW, and makes good on these foreshadowed promises in DAG. I have no doubt that Eric will become King. The question is, will he have his wife by his side when this happens?

            • 184 Serena
              June 4, 2010 at 3:18 pm

              One of my friends is convinced that Sam is the HEA, because the mortal human/immortal vampire thing can’t be reconciled, though I think otherwise. Sookie is quite insecure in her love for Eric, (damn u Bill Compton!) but over time I think she will start to understand aging doesn’t matter, Love is all you need.

              To me, the biggest obstacle to the E/S HEA is Sookie’s attachment to BT and her house. If Eric becomes King of LA, she might have to move to NO, and that would also mean Sookie would have to give up working at Merlottes. Sacrificing her home and her job? That is lot to ask a girl, its a big part of her identity,… I don’t know for sure if she would do it. I imagine they’ll have a fight about it, and even if Eric could run everything from Shreveport, their relationship can’t last if they are constantly commuting… one of them has to give in.

              Love is all you need until you are asked to give up almost everything important to you.

              • June 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm

                Fair point Serena.
                A couple of things I noticed in DITF – Sookie seemed willing to “open up” her house in this book. She allowed Claude, Hunter, and Eric to stay. And she also allowed Alcide to use her land for the pack run.

                She also started to think about how she could continue working at Merlotte’s as a vampire. Initially, this was hilarious because I was thinking WTF Sookie? But thinking about it some more, the significance of this wasn’t just about what would happen with her job if she were turned, although that was part of it. Sookie was trying to reconcile her “old” life, with her new life with Eric. She is trying to integrate the two, and whether or not she can do that will probably be one of the themes of the next book.

                I think this is all part of her growth – we aren’t dealing with the Sookie of the early books any more. Family and home is still important to her, but she is also realising that her world has expanded beyond that.

                • 186 Serena
                  June 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm

                  Yeah, the eternal waitress bit really has me worried in so far as thats who she sees she is, Sookie Stackhouse, Waitress. I hope she evolves beyond that and can one day can say Sookie Stackhouse, Royal Consort of King Eric. lol.

                  I hope you’re right. As of DITF, I doubt she is willing to go there, but hopefully she will realize that she’s outgrown her britches and Bon Temps in the future. (Part of me doesn’t want her to do it, sacrificing so much for a guy, but it wouldn’t be just for love, there is the safety aspect too). And its not like Eric wouldn’t be making a sacrifice either, he’d probably have to give up Fangtasia (or hand it over to Pam) and its not something he ever wanted to do as well. But it is def. more important and a bigger deal to Sookie.

                  And then, how can she leave Jason behind? Oh no, I hope CH doesn’t kill him in order for the E/S HEA. Hopefully he can survive on his own, lol. But on the plus side, no more Bill the neighbor.

                  • 187 Robin
                    June 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm

                    I agree Serena, I think it would be really neat if Sookie would use her telepathic ability and connections to promote unity between the Supe world and humans as Eric’s Royal Consort. And, she doesn’t have to give up her Bon Temps home or friends, either. Maybe Jason could move in the old home.

                    • 188 Freyja
                      June 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

                      Well the old house could be her “summer-house”, there’s nothing that says she wouldn’t be able to visit her family and friends.
                      And hopefully she will stop thinking of herself as just a waitress!! She needs to understand that she is valuable and could be the one to establish unity between the vamps/sups/humans. And later on maybe Hunter could take her place, who knows. They have a talent not to be waisted.

                    • 189 LLE
                      June 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

                      Jason has his own home. Jason is living in the house that his parent lived before they killed in the flood. Why would Jason give up his own home to move in Sookie’s home?

                    • 190 Serena
                      June 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

                      True, true, I don’t mean to make it sound like its the end of the world for choosing to be the Royal Consort, just that she has so much invested in BT. From her perspective it is going to be a hard choice for her to make if she were to move.

              • 191 Jo
                June 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm

                Mean that Sookie would rather be a waitress and live in his house in BT until his death? if she is not willing to do this “great” sacrifice for someone who loves you as much as Eric, so she does not deserve … to stay with Sam and have a lot of puppies and age waiting tables.
                I know it’s fiction and a man like Eric does not exist (unfortunately), but in RL all have to make some sacrifice or give up a position with something better, nobody has everything you want all the time.
                And Sam will never be the HEA’s Sookie, if she stays with him will be just for convenience, she will never love him or anyone like she love Eric, and I’m sure.
                I will not say do not completely understand Sookie, I love my home, my family and my country do not see myself leaving everything behind, but of course I do not have an Eric in my life, and you can always combine something.
                I think when CH says that Sookie will not all she wants, saying that she will never have an ordinary husband, children and in this life in BT the way she wants. What will your life be next to Eric where he is, and without children. That’s my hope.

                • 192 EricObsessed
                  June 4, 2010 at 4:12 pm

                  My hope is that in the next book, Sookie will find something (letters maybe) in her attic that will eventually help release her from her current life in the house, in BT, being a waitress. She’ll be able to go to Eric more completely.

                  I used to think her HEA might wind up being Sam too but since DAG, I’ve changed my mind. Yes, maybe I want a happy ending for E/S but I am prepared. If she does not wind up with Eric in the end, whatever happens will hopefully be the best for her, even if’s not the best for me. boo hoo

      • 193 A Northern Soul
        June 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm

        UGH!!! I can’t stand Bella Swan’s copendency issues! I’ve read the Twilight series
        (don’t even get me started on Stephenie Meyers’ sophomoric writing) and I
        absofreakinglutely HATED the fourth book. Everything was just sooo perfect, Bella
        turned into a perfect vampire and they lived happily aver after, yada yada yada.
        It was the “perfect” ending, and made me want to gag.

        It would seriously ruin the story for me if Sookie were turned; I have no problem
        her living a normal human life span. Yes, it saddens me to think one day she’ll
        die and Eric will live on (unless he meets an untimely end), but it is what it is.
        I’d rather have a bittersweet ending to an excellent series with characters I love,
        than some schmaltzy pap with no humor, a weak heroine, and a fairy tale ending.

      • 194 adriennelynn
        June 5, 2010 at 3:09 am

        From FAQ on CH’s blog: http://www.charlaineharris.com/faqs.html

        Q. Will Sookie ever become a vampire/ get pregnant by a vampire/be overjoyed when one of her vampire lovers turns human?

        A. No. And it’s not possible for a vampire to impregnate a human in my world.

        I’ve recently re-read DD. Sookie is extremely repulsed by Calvin having impregnated numerous women. She then re-thinks her relationship with Alcide in light of what she discovered about Calvin, and spends the evening crying. So, I can’t picture Sookie ever ending up with a shifter or were. If, like I hope, that the series ends with Eric and Sookie together, I’m sure CH will have creatively dealt with the problems caused by Sookie’s shorter life span.

  66. 195 Jo
    June 14, 2010 at 12:11 am

    Hi, Simba’s bloodbondsblog.com posted a great review of DiTF, along with a review of SVB, was one of the reviews that I was more anxious to read, I know we’re almost at the premiere of season three of TB and are all eager but I think it cool to read.
    I hope you do not mind that I have posted it here

  67. June 21, 2010 at 7:30 am

    I do not know how or why, but I missed this post and this analysis by SVB is just what I wanted to read. Better late than never. I pretty much agreed with every point you made.


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ABOUT SOOKIEVERSE

My ramblings on the Sookie Stackhouse books, and the HBO series True Blood. Everyone I know is already half crazed with my plot and character assassinations, conspiracy theories, theme explorations and general obsessing, so now I'm going to share it all with you. Spoilers and Viking worship are rampant...you have been warned!

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