Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: “Dead In the Family” by Charlaine Harris

WARNING!  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!!  Dead In the Family is Harris’s latest installment in the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series.  In this novel, Sookie, the vamps, the Weres and the fairies are recovering from the Fairy War.  Just when Sookie and Eric seem to be settling into a rhythm with their relationship, Eric’s maker and “brother” vampire come to town.  This is not good news.  On top of this, the politics for the Louisiana vamps and the whole shifter community are gearing up for a clash.  Oh, then there is the fresh dead body on Sookie’s land and a strange evil fairy lurking in her woods…

Don’t get me wrong, I love this series.  I have read it more than once, and I hardly ever re-read books.  I would have to say though that Dead In the Family felt like a bridge book between two bigger books, if that makes sense.  I noticed when I  hit page 260 (in a 311 page book), that I was still waiting for the plot to get going.  I guess that’s when I realized that all of this talking really was the plot.  It was weird.  Usually, I can count on my pulse to race several times while reading Charlaine Harris (either from the action packed plot or steamy Eric scenes), but I did get those feelings until I was in the final ten pages. 

Don’t get me wrong… I still love this series, and I will be waiting in line for the next installment, but I felt this was one of the weaker books of the series.  I do have to say that I liked certain developments in the characters.  It turns out that sexy cousin Claude actually does have a personality.  In a moment of feeling her age, Sookie contemplates turning vamp for the first time.  We also see the impenetrable Eric at his most vulnerable.  These are all necessary for the continuation of the series.  I just wish the pacing would have been a little stronger.

Overall, I give Dead In the Family

Plot Development – 2 bookmarks (not bad, but not what I’m used to with Harris)
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Fight Scenes – 1 ½ bookmarks
Hot Steamy Vampire Sex – 1 bookmark 
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – I can’t help myself.  The TV series True Blood has wiped out all of the casting imagination I have and replaced it with the TV actors.  Part of the reason that happened though is because the TV casting was so brilliant.  Eric Northman is my favorite male in the series and Alexander Skarsgard has completely won me over with his Eric performance.  I’ve always thought Bill was a weenie, so the fact that I don’t find Stephen Moyer that hot does not detract from things for me.  Anna Paquin does a great job bringing camp and craziness to Sookie.  Oh, and Ryan Kwanten as Jason is so unbelievably hot.  (It’s also nice that he's agreed to save on the show’s wardrobe budget by going naked most of the time!)  

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