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REVIEW: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dear Ms. Harris:

Now that I read so much in digital, I don’t pay as much attention to book covers as I used to. But the cover for Dead Ever After says so much about the book itself, that I’m tempted to tell people who wonder how the series ends to take their cues from the cover. Why? Because Sookie is the prominent, central, and only fully represented character, which is how I’ve always viewed, read, and enjoyed the series. And despite all the controversy about the ending, I feel that with this book the series ultimately stayed true to its initial vision and focus, namely Sookie’s journey toward self-acceptance and a sense of belonging. And while not a perfect read, Dead Ever After satisfied me intellectually and emotionally, to a surprisingly high degree.

 Dead Ever After by Charlaine HarrisLet me preface this review by saying first that I was never a fan of all of the suitor options for Sookie, except in so far as they allowed her to grow more fully into herself. At some point, though (by the time Quinn came into the picture), they started to feel like a distraction to me. Also, the past few books in the series have felt somewhat rushed to me, with everything ramping up for the finale. The last book, in particular, felt jam-packed with preparatory chaos, with Eric and Sookie facing the reality of Eric’s arranged marriage to the (incredibly beautiful) Queen of Oklahoma; the new vampire king of Louisiana, whose second in command is even more ambitious than Eric; Sookie’s fae cousins, who are ultimately removed back to Faery with her great-grandfather, who has (mostly) sealed up the borders between Faery and the human world; political struggles among the shifters that affect both Sam and Alcide; and the terrible promise of the cluviel dor, a one-of-a-kind magical item that will grant Sookie a single wish.

The burden of possessing the cluviel dor (which many would gladly kill Sookie to possess) is exceeded only by the magnitude of the choice she ultimately makes for its use: saving Sam when he is accidentally killed by his ferocious lover, Jannalynn, who, unbeknownst to Sam, planned to usurp (and assassinate) Alcide and take over the Bon Temps Were pack. Sookie’s choice, the result of a split-second reaction, is one that has enormous consequences for Sookie and her future. Dead Ever After is all about playing out those consequences.

What has always kept Sookie going is her innate pragmatism and the desire to be a good person in a world that often challenges her best intentions. During the course of the series she has had to kill, she has been tortured and almost raped, she has been betrayed and manipulated by the people who claim to care about her, and forced into a vampire marriage with a man who loves her (as much as he is able) but who is bound to follow the orders of his maker and marry another vampire who insists that Sookie never set foot in Oklahoma. And yet, as Dead Ever After begins, Sookie is looking forward to her brother Jason’s wedding to Michelle, enjoying the recent birth of Tara’s twins, appreciating the lush beauty of the yard, because Niall enchanted the land around her house, and anticipating the comfort of a financial windfall from her fae cousin Claudine’s unfortunate and untimely death. In other words, Sookie is still trying to balance her extraordinary experiences with the relatively ordinary life she imagines for herself, and to appreciate the sweet that comes with all the bitter in her world.

But this negotiation requires facing the consequences of her decision to save Sam, the most unexpected of which is that Sam seems to be remote, uncommunicative, self-isolating, and not nearly as vocally grateful as Sookie would have expected. Her limited ability to read shifters leaves her uncertain about whether something is physically wrong with him, because one of the problems with using the cluviel dor is that the wisher will pay a price for the wish. And there are many potential prices to pay in Dead Ever After, because a number of enemies from Sookie’s past finally get the chance to get closer to her, in part because Eric’s impending marriage to the beautiful Freyda means that he has basically shunned Sookie (possibly also some punishment for not using the cluviel dor on him), and for a time she is left somewhat vulnerable. Vulnerable enough, at least, that she is framed for the murder of her former friend, Arlene, who is found strangled with Sookie’s own scarf and left in the dumpster behind Merlotte’s, the night after she approached Sookie in the bar looking to get her job back. Arlene has been freed from prison on bail pending appeal of her case, represented by a lawyer she does not know (but anyone who has read the series in full does), setting in motion a series of events that force Sookie to prove her innocence in the midst of trying to figure out her confused relationship issues.

Sookie’s peril brings a number of old friends (and enemies) to Bon Temps, which is both a strength and a weakness of the book. It’s a strength in the way we (and Sookie) get to see how extensive Sookie’s support network really is, but a weakness in that it sometimes makes the stage ridiculously crowded, drawing even more attention to the final-act nature of the book. Because so many characters from past books made a cameo in Dead Ever After, some of the (too many) plot strands did not come fully together for me (the devil sub-plot felt particularly clunky), and there was an abruptness to some of the relationships that was clearly a function of trying to wrap so much up in the course of one book.

At the same time, though, the focus is on Sookie the Survivor. From the first book, where Sookie’s beloved grandmother is murdered in her kitchen, through all of the other bodies, betrayals, and awful decisions Sookie has had to make, she has endured and she has gotten stronger and wiser. I still remember the first scene from the first book, Dead Until Dark, where Bill Compton walks into Merlotte’s and changes Sookie’s life forever. In some ways, Sookie hasn’t changed much; she’s still trying to be the best person she can, to live up to the example she thinks her grandmother would have expected. In other ways, though, she has grown so much, her naiveté winnowed both by sorrow and elation. And for me, this process has always stood as the heart and soul of the books, even while Sookie’s voice was telling a bigger story about what it means to be part of a community, and the ways in which petty, ignorant prejudice unnecessarily divides and discriminates.

In some ways, Sookie always stood in the middle ground between being part of Bon Temps and being an outcast, and she ultimately served as a kind of ambassador between the full-humans and the supes (and the hybrids, like her and her brother). I like that Harris always imbued the micro communities with complexity – the vamps, shifters, and fae, for example, were not unified nor all good or bad – and that she showed progress during the series in terms of acceptance, but still acknowledged that the problems were larger and deeper than 13 books could solve.

Which is another reason I was satisfied with the way the series closed out in Dead Ever After. Without revealing major spoilers (although I am happy to discuss them in the comments), will say that I think the book struck a nice balance between larger social issues and the individual focus on Sookie’s happiness and emotional growth that bore and carried the weight of the series. In the end, the focus is on Sookie, and on her alone – whatever the fate of her romantic life, which is quite ambiguously represented – no longer an outsider, but never merely ordinary, either. B

~ Janet

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isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!

70 Comments

  1. Susan
    May 09, 2013 @ 12:51:05

    I read the Sookie book Tuesday and was satisfied with it. Not the best, but a solid final book. She ended up with the person I expected she would–she wanted kids and a normal, small-town life and this was the most likely person she’d get that with. That said, I loved the last paragraph where she said she’d be ok even if it didn’t work out. Sookie changed a lot throughout this series but, in many ways, she didn’t change the core Sookie at all.

    I’ve said elsewhere that what I’ve always liked most about the books was Sookie’s voice and her views on human (and not-so-human) nature. She never lost her joy in the small things in life, or a sense of wonder about the extraordinary things she experienced. I’ll miss her observations and unique turns of phrase (“I knew that completely without intending to, I’d hit the perk button on their ethical coffeemaker.”).

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  2. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 14:43:18

    NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD

    @Susan:

    I loved the last paragraph where she said she’d be ok even if it didn’t work out. Sookie changed a lot throughout this series but, in many ways, she didn’t change the core Sookie at all.
    Oh, I wanted to quote the last lines of the book in my review so much! Sookie has always been the draw for me with this series, and I think, in the end, she gave Sookie enough of a foundation to build as much of a good, happy life for herself, while still acknowledging that things will never be perfect. And I think with Sookie’s final escape (the cornfields), we saw that she didn’t need vampire strength to rescue herself, which was how I think things sometimes seemed. Obviously she is still engaged with the vamps, but I think there was a strong message that Sookie didn’t need to belong to *any* group to be part of the community.

    She ended up with the person I expected she would–she wanted kids and a normal, small-town life and this was the most likely person she’d get that with.

    Although he has gotten more political as the series matured, and especially after his community followed the vampires into self-revelation of their true nature. For me the final *potential* pick of a partner is good, not just because Sookie won’t have to give up her beloved sun (she was a sun worshipper from Book 1, after all), can have children, and will be loved fully for who she is, but also because the individual in question has a lot of the same discrimination issues that the vamps faced, which IMO stays true to the larger social commentary of the series. The further hybridization of human and supe is suggested there, as well.

    I’ll miss her observations and unique turns of phrase (“I knew that completely without intending to, I’d hit the perk button on their ethical coffeemaker.”).

    Me, too! I went back and re-read some of the first book not too long ago, and it’s interesting to compare Sookie of that novel to the Sookie of the series as a whole. I don’t think her voice really started to solidify until a few books in, but from there it always felt pretty consistent to me. I’ll miss it, but I also think it’s better to end a series than carry it on to the point where I can barely stand to read the books.

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  3. Bitchie
    May 09, 2013 @ 14:46:12

    Oh thank god! I was feeling like the only person who felt this was a satisfying end to this series, and who wasn’t shocked at who she ended up with, and appalled at Eric’s behavior. It makes me feel like I read a different series all these years.

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  4. SophieGurl
    May 09, 2013 @ 17:49:55

    This book is a good ending to all the what? And who? I like Sam but I can’t say I love him. What I love though is the idea of her being okay if it doesn’t wok out between Sam and her. In my own Sookieverse, there is someone deserving of her somewhere. Of course since this is the last of Ms. Harris book of this series, no one can stop me from going further with my own imagination. After all writers start their ideas from their own imagination.
    Good luck fellow readers…

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  5. Christine
    May 09, 2013 @ 17:52:43

    I haven’t read this series consistently after the first few books but I have followed the plot line and the discussions of the books. I have been predicting this endgame for a while now as it roughly follows what Charlaine Harris did in the Aurora Teagarden books which I read long before Sookie came to be. I think the author did drop a lot of hints in interviews about how she felt about Sookie ending up with a vamp but I can also see how a lot of people are disappointed. A lot of readers were drawn to the series because the focus seemed to be on exploring the world of vampires as much as it was about Sookie. Even the titles all refer to vampires rather than Sookie herself (Dead Until Dark etc.) I can understand how people could see the ending as a repudiation of all that especially if they invested a lot of time and energy into Eric as the hero. It is nice to hear some pro-Sam opinions as most of what I have read has been outrage. I always liked Sam (and prefer to picture him now as the Sam from the show rather than the Sam I saw when I first read Dead Until Dark all those years ago) so it doesn’t bother me to have Sookie choose him although I was very disappointed in how Bill turned out when I was first reading the books.

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  6. Camilla
    May 09, 2013 @ 18:20:19

    I am one of those who was disappointed in the book. It felt half hearted, as if CH had lost in her interest in the series. In my opinion she didn’t do Bill, Eric or Sookie justice to their characters and story lines. Even Sam. In the end, to have her and Sam together with no build up and simply because the cluvial dore changed them, was such a slap in the face. It has been evident that CH wanted to undo Eric and Sookie for a few books, but its my opinion that she could have done so in a more endearing way, and not force Eric into slavery and have Sookie accept that without caring about his fate. There was no passion in this book. Eric, who was such an important character, was treated so badly by CH that he didn’t even get a last goodbye, he was just cast off. I do like that Sookie’s last thought was that she would be okay even if her and Sam didn’t work out, but she could have come to that conclusion without Sam. I think if she didn’t end up with Eric she should have ended up alone and that would have been more satisfying then her sleeping with Sam and experiencing strong emotions for him from seemingly nowhere. You don’t just turn around and fall in love with your friend like that. It also grated me that everything worked out for Sookie so perfectly. She looses Eric but gets his protection for the rest of her life, she will get a monthly check, plus 150k, so there go her money problems, Pam is the sherif so she’ll still have friends with power and all the people who want her dead are gone and she gets a boyfriend who is “perfect” for her. Yeah for Sookie, so much for reality. I think Sookie’s life was nevery easy to begin with and that her struggles made her a fascinating character. She fought so hard for her relationships, she struggled with her powers and her livelihood and accepting a bigger purpose, to have her vanish into her small life with her small romance is a disservice to her and the fans.

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  7. Maria
    May 09, 2013 @ 18:39:53

    I couldn’t agree more with your review. As stated, Ms. Harris dropped enough clues without saying Sam’s name that it wasn’t a surprise that Sookie seemingly will build a life with him. To remain true to herself and her hopes, no vampire would have been a good candidate without being turned. Sam was there from book 1 and remained the only constant throughout. She could have met someone else, but that would have made the series longer. The possibility of ending up with yet someone else is open, of course. I think that’s why Sookie is not expecting a happily ever after with Sam. It’s the best outcome at that time in her life. I will miss Sookie and all the characters. You never know. Someone may expand on the series just like Fifty Shades. I just hope it’s a much better literary work.

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  8. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 18:56:37

    SPOILERS AHEAD

    @Bitchie: I definitely think the Eric of True Blood is a more human-ish and romantic character. But the Eric of the book series never struck me as being willing to make a personal sacrifice for Sookie, and that always bothered me, especially since she made so very many for him. That one time he got pissed at her he drank from her without dulling the pain, then he “marries” her without asking her, etc. And thinking that Sookie would be his sidepiece seems exactly the kind of thing Eric would (and did) do. For all of the anger at Bill, I never understood why Eric got a pass, when he always kept his own interests at the fore.

    @SophieGurl: What I love though is the idea of her being okay if it doesn’t wok out between Sam and her. In my own Sookieverse, there is someone deserving of her somewhere. Of course since this is the last of Ms. Harris book of this series, no one can stop me from going further with my own imagination.
    One of my favorite things about the ending is that it provides for this option. Sookie and Sam are not yet together, and there are no guarantees. Had the series ended with an HEA for Sookie and Sam, I think I would have felt frustrated, not because I dislike Sam, but because I wanted the series end to be all about her. And for me, at least, it was.

    @Christine: I can understand how people could see the ending as a repudiation of all that especially if they invested a lot of time and energy into Eric as the hero.

    I love your point about the books being as much about the vampires as Sookie. I think the reason I was not disappointed in the ending is that throughout the series the vamps have made big strides in becoming integrated with mainstream society. Bill is acknowledged as a Bellefleur and is even reconciled with his great great granddaughter (?) before she dies. Human blood donors were becoming standard. Vampires have more positions of authority and influence, and it’s more the shifters who have become the object of the backlash vamps initially faced. I didn’t know what would be served by having Sookie stay with Eric, because to do so, she would have to change who she was, but Eric would not. That, for me, does not feel consistent with the message of social justice the series was promoting, which was one of equity and acceptance.

    I can understand how people could see the ending as a repudiation of all that especially if they invested a lot of time and energy into Eric as the hero. I never saw him as a hero. What characterizes him as that for you?

    @Camilla:
    In the end, to have her and Sam together with no build up and simply because the cluvial dore changed them, was such a slap in the face.
    I totally agree with you that the final few books felt rushed. But I disagree that the (not yet realized) relationship between Sookie and Sam is unexpected. For the past few books, especially, Sam has been really critical of Eric, and Sookie I think has known for a while that Sam would change their relationship if he could. And once Sam started going out with Jannalynn, Sookie showed signs of dissatisfaction with her as Sam’s partner, too, and I interpreted those feelings as partial jealousy. Tension between Sam and Sookie over who they were dating got more intense, and each of them disapproved of each other’s partner, which IMO amped up the mutual draw between them. Also, didn’t they flirt with the possibility of a relationship early on in the series? I remember something between them from a number of books ago. Still, I always felt that it was made clear that Sam cared deeply about Sookie and was profoundly attracted to her, as well. My own issue with Sam is that I saw him as too settled for Sookie, and I figured he would be good for her when she grew up a little. That exchange she has with Bill, where they talk about the way she and Eric both failed a test has Bill telling Sookie that she doesn’t always know herself well, and I think that’s been true for her, and something she’s really struggled with, both in terms of what she wanted and in terms of what she should want.

    Eric, who was such an important character, was treated so badly by CH that he didn’t even get a last goodbye, he was just cast off. How did you think his character should have been handled in DEA.

    to have her vanish into her small life with her small romance is a disservice to her and the fans What do you mean by “small life” and “small romance”?

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  9. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 19:00:49

    @Maria: I have to admit that I hoped for many books that Sookie would get back together with Bill, but looking back, I’m glad she didn’t, not only because she would have had to change too much to be with him, but also because it would have been that “return to her first love” thing. Although, I also think Harris leaves the ending open enough that one could imagine that happening. Still, I agree with you that Sam has been the only one who really never betrayed her, and given the wildness of his own partners throughout the series, I think the perception of him as boring or safe kind of sells him short.

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  10. may
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:05:30

    great review Janet!

    I stopped reading this series about 1/2 way through, and I don’t think I’ll pick it back up or finish it.

    I wanted to comment that from what I see, and what I imagine, is that some characters like Eric are much more appealing in the TV version, and I think that has messed with many fans who read and watch the show. In the books Alcide was quickly eliminated from contention in my mind, but in the show version he is so much more appealing that I can forget why he’s not going to be THE ONE for her.

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  11. Susan
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:23:33

    I don’t think Eric was treated shabbily by the ending. It was a quintessential case Eric being Eric. As his vampire children acknowledged, he was a pretty pragmatic guy and, first and foremost, always had his own best interests at heart. He may have had genuine feelings for Sookie, but she didn’t really fit comfortably into his long-range plans, TBH. Don’t get me wrong: I really liked Eric’s character and he featured in some of the best books/scenes in the series, but I always felt he was wild fling material rather than HEA material. As Sookie pointed out, anything long-term with Eric would also have involved turning Sookie, and she’d have hated that. Sookie’s feet were firmly rooted in her grandmother’s house/yard and in her community–losing that would have meant losing her own sense of self.

    I’d be more inclined to say Bill got shorted but, except for “losing out” with Sookie, I don’t even think that’s true. As Janet pointed out, Bill gained a lot during the series, including acceptance by the community, an extended family, human and vampire friends, a relatively safe place to live, an occupation (the vampire guide thing–which he needed more as a hobby and the “fame” than for the money), a daytime guy (!), etc. Bill will be ok.

    For me, Sam’s been “the one” since the first book. It wasn’t a straight path getting there, but the relationship grew slowly thru the books. Sookie can have kids with him if she wants, which she couldn’t have had with a vamp or a were. (Well, she could have had a were kid, but she wasn’t all that keen on the violence of the pack culture.) Because he’s a shifter, she has the comfort and bliss of not being able to “read” him–she can relax with him. I don’t feel at all as if she’d be settling if she ended up with Sam. I think it’s what Sookie wanted to eventually come home to after her adventures.

    But, I do agree with Camilla that this book lacked passion. It was a good wrap-up, but didn’t have the emotional resonance of some of the other books. It accomplished what it needed to so, overall, I was satisfied.

    With that, I’m somewhat leery now about that “what next” book coming out later this year. What’s left to say at this point? Unless CH is using this as a spinoff platform–maybe for Hunter? I dunno. . .

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  12. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:39:50

    @may: I wanted to comment that from what I see, and what I imagine, is that some characters like Eric are much more appealing in the TV version, and I think that has messed with many fans who read and watch the show.

    I definitely think the tv show added depth and humanity to the male characters (primarily), while short-changing or otherwise negatively portraying the female characters. I don’t know how much of that has bled into the book series, but I have wondered about it, especially with Eric, who is a much more appealing character as a romantic lead in the tv series, IMO.

    @Susan: I read somewhere that one of the characters from this series is going to be part of a new series. Not sure which one (I was wondering about Barry or Quinn), but I think I remember something about a crossroads.

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  13. kimono
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:47:34

    Little correction in your review…Sookie wasn’t almost raped, she WAS raped, by Bill in the car trunk. Go back and read the scene…that IS rape.

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  14. SNG
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:47:34

    If I could, I would give this “book” -10 stars. I was an avid fan of the Sookie series for years. Like everyone else reviewing this book, I waited with baited breath for each new installment. The writing wasn’t phenomenal, but the storyline and characters were fantastic. Then the HBO series started… Initially (until the disastrous 5th season), I really enjoyed that as well, but the book series really started going downhill after the television series was released. It seemed like Harris just got lazy and tired of the story and the characters she had created. She spent almost an entire series growing and watering a relationship between Eric and Sookie, only to give it a cheap, quick death and to give our once beloved heroine a blase and completely predictable ending (I saw it coming two or three books ago). Not only was I annoyed that every single character lost their identity and seemed to merge into one single, ridiculously ignorant and irritating entity, but I was simply bored to tears by the end of Dead Ever After. Indeed, the title was true to form, as my love for this series is completely Dead Ever After. Harris is a weak writer at best and I honestly don’t think I will ever forgive her for selling out the way she did. She cheated her once avid fans out of a decent wrap up to a once good series (which hasn’t deserved the word good since book 10, to be honest). I think an illiterate third grader could have done a better job.

    Harris: like so many other one-time fans, you have lost my respect and admiration. I will never purchase another book with your name on it. You’re a sell-out. You should have respected your fans enough to end the series three books ago instead of lining your own pockets by writing books about characters that you tired of long ago. Enjoy those ridiculously large diamond earrings your’re wearing in that chintzy photo on the back of your book. You certainly won’t be receiving my patronage ever again.

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  15. kimono
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:50:18

    @SNG I couldn’t agree more!!!

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  16. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 20:57:34

    @kimono: I actually had that scene in mind when I wrote my review (and also the one where she is almost stranger raped).

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  17. Susan
    May 09, 2013 @ 21:02:27

    @Janet/Robin: Ugh. I don’t like either Quinn or Barry (or Amelia/Bob) so I hope they’re not the basis of a series. Truthfully, the only characters I’d like to see more of are Pam and Karin, but I don’t really see that happening.

    I’ve never seen any of the tv series. I didn’t intentionally avoid it, but I’m kinda glad now that I didn’t watch it while I was reading the books. Maybe now I’ll start downloading some of the old episodes.

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  18. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 21:06:21

    @Susan: I don’t know about you, but Karin’s presence made me notice things about Pam I had previously taken for granted — or just not really connected to a bigger picture re Eric.

    You know, though, Karin might be the character, because that whole bit about what she had been doing before she came to Sookie’s house was mysteriously rolled out, and what need for a mysterious past in the last book of a series?

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  19. Susan
    May 09, 2013 @ 21:41:18

    @Janet/Robin: Totally agree. Pam and Karin seem to have had an interesting relationship beyond both being Eric’s children. And Karin had been away from Eric for a long time doing secret vamp things, things that made standing in the woods guarding Sookie for a year a welcome respite. Plus she was getting cozy with Bill. Way more complex a character than an end-of-series walk-on.

    And, of course, there’s always Mr. C and Diantha.

    Ooh, now you’ve got my hopes up!

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  20. Loonigrrl
    May 09, 2013 @ 21:42:01

    I stopped reading the series a few books ago- the series/CH just seemed to run out of steam awhile back, but I can’t say I’m surprised that she ended up with Sam. I had hoped that Sookie would end up with Eric. Since the first book, though, I suspected that it would be Sam.

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  21. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 21:58:55

    @Susan: I also hadn’t thought about Eric having a type, but when Karin showed up, I thought about Pam physically and about her own story with Eric and it was like DUH!

    As sorry as I was to see Claudine die, I do have a soft spot for Mr. C and I love love love Diantha. Agree re. Amelia and Bob, but it’s always interesting to see Sookie carry her grudges — I love those petty imperfections in her character.

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  22. Susan
    May 09, 2013 @ 22:19:35

    I had never previously connected Pam and Sookie together as a type. Other than being blondes, they had such dissimilar styles and personalities. But with the 3 women together… and, until you reminded me, I had totally forgotten the scene where they all discussed just that. O_o I think I may need to do a more leisurely reread at some point.

    Claudine’s death (and the loss of her child) was one of the major horrors in the series for me. I really didn’t see it coming (even tho CH never hesitated to whack people), and I’ve never gotten past it. That was a tough book.

    I didn’t warm up to Mr. C and Diantha (and the other girl that I’m totally blanking on now) right away, but they grew on me with each appearance.

    OK. I’m psyched for a spin-off with Mr. C, Diantha, Hunter, and maybe Karin and Pam. :-)

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  23. Janet/Robin
    May 09, 2013 @ 23:13:46

    @Susan: Do you mean Diantha’s sister Gladiola?

    I agree re. Claudine’s death. It was so brutal. Tray’s death was awful, too, but Claudine’s death, coming so soon after she seemed have found some happiness, was particularly traumatic.

    Re. Pam, wasn’t she young and naive when Eric found her and turned her? A young woman looking for adventure and getting in over her head? Reminded me a little bit of Sookie. Also, given Pam’s personality and Karin’s nickname (Karin the Slaughterer), it was difficult for me to imagine Sookie, a hundred years from now, more and more devoid of the tender qualities (like her empathy and her desire for connection) that have made her so appealing as a character to me. Bill, I think, could have nurtured that part of her, but Eric? I think he’d want to get rid of it as quickly as he could.

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  24. Evangeline
    May 10, 2013 @ 01:07:18

    Interesting review!

    I fell off the Sookie Stackhouse wagon after book 9 when the “shipping” and Fae nonsense dominated what used to be quirky, Southern-tinged mysteries and an ongoing saga of how Sookie navigated being a slightly supernatural being after vamps came out (I find book 7 is the pinnacle of the series because she had to make tough choices about her place in the world). I probably won’t read this since I want to leave my fond memories of this series intact, but it’s nice to know that Harris did her best to move the focus back to Sookie, the mythology, and what Sookie desired.

    That said, I understand why so many are angered by how DEA ended. I was never a Sookie/Eric fan because I never trusted him (am probably one of few people who liked her with Bill), but even I saw the deep connection Harris built between the two. The storylines in all of the books I did read basically chucked all other love interests aside (Bill and his bond/infidelity with Lorena and then raping Sookie in the trunk; Alcide and his manipulations to keep control of the werewolves; Quinn and his putting his family before her; Sam and his serious relationships) to clear the path for Sookie and Eric’s difficult yet interesting relationship. Things changed, yes, with faes and new kings and queens, and whatnot, but I would have preferred Sookie remained alone–strong and assured–with the promise of a new and equally strong love interest, rather than pairing her with Sam because he could give her a stable life and babies. She might as well have taken up with JB du Rone back in book 4 or 5. He was dumb enough not to bother her telepathy, lol.

    But anyways, I’ve grown leery of any UF series that doesn’t begin with the protagonist in a committed relationship (e.g. Maxine Kiss and Graham, Mercy and Adam, Allie Beckstrom and Zayvion, Kit and Griff, etc) because I now hate how the “ships” take over the direction of the protagonist and the books.

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  25. MikiS
    May 10, 2013 @ 01:33:13

    @Susan: That book (with Claudine’s – and so many others’ – deaths) was the end for me of the series. I was done with it. I have friends still reading it, and I’ve warned them not to look for reviews online if they want to read the book “un-spoiled”, but I had to laugh because this was the one I was rooting for all along (although I did like Quin for a little bit).

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  26. Maria
    May 10, 2013 @ 03:34:41

    Re Eric and Sookie, I always thought that CH was going to let out a big reveal about a past relationship of Eric’s that had to do with another telepath. I forget which book it was, but there were intriguing references made to having tasted, I believe, the blood of a telepath. It would have been interesting if that other telepath had been an ancestor of Sookie’s or if Eric saw Sookie as a substitute for what may have been a past love.

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  27. Iola
    May 10, 2013 @ 05:41:22

    @SophieGurl:

    So she ends up with Sam? I’ve been wanting that since book 1, so maybe this will give me the incentive to finish the series (I stopped about three books ago).

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  28. Charlotte
    May 10, 2013 @ 07:27:01

    It seemed that from a few books in, it was clear that Sookie wasn’t going to end up with a vampire. As much as I wanted her to end up with Eric (or even Bill with how sincere he was in the last book), the series had to end somewhere. If Sookie had ended up been with Eric, sure enough everyone would expect her to become one of the dead and that would open up a new set of books and stories all together.

    Alot of the last book seemed rushed, it didn’t feel like it had the passion or the patience for the story and from start to finish all I could think was, CH really wants this finished. It’s nice to read some of the first books and knowing you have a whole adventure ahead.

    At least we have fan fiction!

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  29. Christine
    May 10, 2013 @ 07:45:09

    @Janet/Robin:

    Janet/Robin said regarding Eric ” I never saw him as a hero. What characterizes him as that for you?”

    Well, as I said, I have been out of the loop on the last several books and I was a Bill fan at the beginning (that was where Charlaine Harris lost me) so I was never an Eric shipper. I do know that a huge amount of people were invested in his relationship with Sookie and had mentioned they felt he supported her, even financially, when everyone else did not. I also know he took center stage in the last few books and a consensus of people felt he and Sookie were building towards something. (A common complaint is her choosing Sam felt abrupt after spending so much time on her and Eric). I guess the greater question is “Is Eric heroic? ” Not having read all the books I don’t feel qualified to answer, but I get the feeling a lot of people thought he was.
    I guess the one thing I am taking away from this is that there seems to be an inherent repudiation of “vampires” by Harris. The idea that no matter how much they try, they are somehow inherently violent and different. That Sookie ending up with one would be “bad” for her no matter who it was. I don’t want to spoil another series for anyone but the Aurora Teagarden series had a similar theme (only no vampires).

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  30. Diane P
    May 10, 2013 @ 08:15:41

    I liked the way the series ended. I think CH kept Sookie as herself. She was a small town girl who loved living in her family’s house. I enjoyed how Sookie felt herself all alone when she was first jailed and how her family & friends rallied around her. They re-affirmed that she still belonged to the community.
    I just couldn’t imagine Sookie with Eric, she would have had to given up too much of herself. I read someone’s comments about how Eric remained true to himself & his times by making a political marriage. The only time he was really all about Sookie was when he wasn’t himself & had lost his memory.
    I only watched 2 seasons of True Blood because it went too far from the books.

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  31. L Burns
    May 10, 2013 @ 09:20:38

    I liked the way DEA ended. Way back when we first met Sookie she was a small town girl who longed to “fit in”. She viewed her telepathy as a burden and an obstacle to being happy. She falls hard for the first guy (Bill) who makes her feel special, and when he lets her down she’s devastated. She dates a bit, but she’s leery and quicker to wonder about ulterior motives. Then along comes Eric. Excitement, passion and great sex. But through it all, she’s more than aware that a future with Eric is incompatible with the future she’s always seen for herself.

    If you take away the Supe factor, you could be describing just about any woman’s experience with dating and falling in love – you learn what you’re willing to compromise on and what you’re not.

    So in the end, did Sookie come full circle? Yes and No. She’s learned to use the telepathy to her advantage and no longer views it as a curse. She’s far less gullible. She’s got a measure of financial security and is part owner of a business (something she takes great pride in). There’s the potential for a relationship with someone who wants the same things that she does, but she’s not willing to rush in – not just yet. I see it as Sookie growing, maturing and gaining some smarts along the way.

    Having said that, I didn’t love DEA – it would probably be a “C” read for me. Her “discovery” of Sam seemed abrupt (but I’m a tough sell when it comes to friends-to-lovers storylines). The Devil storyline seems like a pretty obvious lead in to CH’s next series. I don’t understand all the vitriol being hurled at Harris; I didn’t see any huge departure from the previous three or four books in the series. This series has been treading water for quite some time. It was time for it to end, and all things considered it was a fitting ending.

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  32. Dabney Grinnan
    May 10, 2013 @ 09:37:29

    I loved this review. I’ve never read any of the books, and watched just the first two seasons of the show. But I’ve followed the story through reviews and was interested to see how Sookie ended up. This review was a great encapsulation of the book and, because I wanted to be “spoiled,” the reveals in the comments were fun.

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  33. L Burns
    May 10, 2013 @ 10:25:52

    @SNG:

    It’s interesting to me that you view Harris as a “sell-out”, when she ended the series the way that she always intended (she maintains that she’s known since book one who Sookie would wind up with), even though she had to have known it would piss off a good portion of her fan base. Wouldn’t she have been more of a “sell-out” if she had simply given the fans what they wanted even if it went against her vision for the series?

    As for the “ridiculously large diamond earrings”…Heck, if she doesn’t enjoy them, I know I sure would! No such thing as a diamond that’s too big!

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  34. Catherine
    May 10, 2013 @ 10:37:37

    @Camilla: I agree. I was so disappointed by this book, it really failed to bring any closure to the story and I felt that the series that started with a bang went out with a whimper. I miss Eric and I am surprised Sookie didn’t go through the pain that she did with Bill, it made no sense whatsoever. I think I would have liked it more if Eric had of got his way and had turned Sookie.

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  35. annie
    May 10, 2013 @ 11:31:05

    I just feel like so much time was invested in building the Sookie and Eric relationship that them not being together eventually left a sour taste. OK he wasnt HEA material and was just a wild fling type of guy for sookie, but sometimes they work out too. I knew from probably the beginning she was going to end up with Sam because she would never become a vampire. but i hoped that CH would make Eric and Sookie work without turning her into vampire. Perhaps her faeness couldve been worked into the equation. and she couldve always adopted if she was desperate for children.
    i just felt a little left out, perhaps more than one book shouldve been used to explore sookies feelings for sam, maybe t woukdve been more believable then.

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  36. NJfromLA
    May 10, 2013 @ 15:08:54

    I disagree that the Eric on the TV series is more satisfying or better than the book version. I argue just the opposite.

    For me, this book series has been JUST as much about Eric’s growth and evolving as what has changed within Sookie. In the book series, Eric learns that he is capable of both love and making the personal risks and sacrifices that often comes with that emotion. He even surprises himself by how much he is willing to sacrifice for her – including his LIFE!

    I never expected Eric to be the “HEA,” so that is not rooted in my disappointment. I have been disappointed that this series has been going down hill for the last two or three years in terms of character, plot and tone. In fact, I thought and HOPED that in the end the “HEA” would be Sookie finding satisfaction within herself – not from a man.

    What upsets me with unlucky number 13 is that Eric is not the character that Harris had built for so many years. Its okay when a character turns out not to be what you expected – but in this case – not so. Because as much as this is a so-called mystery series, its just as much a romance series. Eric was the ultimate anti-HERO! In this way, Ms. Harris disappoints by ignoring the hero aspects of who he was for so many vampires AND humans – especially Sookie.

    I met Harris at a book signing several years ago and she insulted me by being rude when I complimented her on the Eric character. My background is in motion picture television production, and I have the ultimate respect for a character realized. I KNOW how hard it is to do so. When she was rude – I understood that perhaps against her own intentions, she had built a character in a way that she did not intend.

    I believe that sometimes a character can write themselves. I believe that’s what happened with the Eric character, and his author decided that she never meant him to be the beloved character that he became. So, she looked back into what she “intended from the second book,” and undid years of development, which left an awful lot of us dangling and dissatisfied. I doubt that I’ll buy the next book – a wrap-up of what comes “after.” Although, some part of me hopes that Harris somehow redeems this horrid ending.

    The truth is that the series jumped the shark after Dead In The Family. After that book, the remaining books were filled with weird-feeling sex and the fun and humor had gone. I wish Harris had stopped the series then. I wish Ms. Harris had done for Sookie what she did with the Harper Connelley series – quit when ALL of the characters were still true to themselves.

    The TV series also has been a major disappointment of late (they ruined their take on the fourth book – my favorite in the series – where Eric and Sookie truly discover love), and for me, it was unwatchable last season. Its a shame as Alan Ball built such a great cast.

    Oh, well. And this too shall pass…and I shall love again.

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  37. Christine
    May 10, 2013 @ 17:56:06

    @NJfromLA- I think you have some very interesting points that I agree with. I read an article from a major paper online today (forget which one) that had some facts that seem to support what you have said about the books kind of “getting away” from Harris. Apparently four or more books ago she had killed off Bill but her editor told her she had to change it because True Blood was coming out and she absolutely could not just kill off this major character who was at the time “the guy” on the show. She changed it so he was poisoned. It also mentioned how she had run out of ideas, seemed to be tired of writing the books, had a hard time remembering facts about the characters and – this is what I distilled from the article- seemed to not really like the series anymore. There was a sense she just wanted to be “done” with it. I don’t doubt she intended for Sam to be Sookie’s endgame but I think you are correct that somehow Eric turned out differently or she felt readers perceived him differently than she intended. I think it is very telling that she openly admitted she is not touring for the first time because she knew what the reaction from fans would be. As I said I didn’t get far enough along in the books to be team Eric but I can sympathize with long term readers dissatisfaction . I do however think its *CRAZY* that Charlaine Harris has been threatened over this by enraged fans! If you don’t like it just don’t buy it!

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  38. Susan
    May 10, 2013 @ 18:23:31

    @Janet/Robin: Yes, Gladiola. (Good memory!)

    I should probably go back and refresh my Sookieverse memory, but I thought Pam was upper class and felt constrained by her lot in life,so to speak. She has a wild streak, and embraced Eric’s offer. Her choice entirely. (Hope I’m not making all that up.) I just wasn’t connecting her backstory with Sookie. It would be interesting to know the circumstances of Karin’s turning.

    @MikiS: I think that book was the point of no return for a lot of people.

    @Christine: I can see your point about vampires=bad for CH, but I hadn’t read it that way. Sookie herself didn’t see that way. But she was just so inherently human that she couldn’t really wrap her head around such a drastic change if she were turned. Her house, daylight, kids, community–so many things had tremendous value to her, too much to easily forego. On top of that, she would have lost all autonomy, probably forever ( given the examples of Bill, Eric, Pam, etc.). I think Sookie might always have a tiny twinge of regret about Eric, but her practical side knows it was meant to last. (I just saw that @Diane P: said this so much better.) But I agree with you about the Aurora Teagarden books. They left a bad taste in my mouth. . . and I hated Aurora.

    @NJfromLA: That’s really interesting that Eric may have “gotten away” from CH; I’ve heard other authors say this does happen!

    Whew! So many interesting viewpoints here.

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  39. Charlaine Harris says good-bye to Sookie Stackhouse. | After the Last Page
    May 10, 2013 @ 21:59:10

    [...] DEAR AUTHOR reviews DEAD EVER AFTER [...]

  40. Janet/Robin
    May 11, 2013 @ 00:32:59

    @Evangeline: Things changed, yes, with faes and new kings and queens, and whatnot, but I would have preferred Sookie remained alone–strong and assured–with the promise of a new and equally strong love interest, rather than pairing her with Sam because he could give her a stable life and babies. She might as well have taken up with JB du Rone back in book 4 or 5. He was dumb enough not to bother her telepathy, lol.

    I feel like Harris tried to keep Sookie’s final romantic path ambiguous. The very last paragraph of the book is focused on her and on the fact that she knows that no matter what happens to her, she will be fine. It reaffirms her feeling that she is at home where she lives, which I really liked, too.

    Also, if you want to know who JB ends up with, let me know and I will tell you. ;D

    @Maria: Hmm, I vaguely remember something like that. I wonder if anyone else remembers which book that was. Wondering if the reference was to Barry or someone else.

    @Christine:

    I do know that a huge amount of people were invested in his relationship with Sookie and had mentioned they felt he supported her, even financially, when everyone else did not.
    I definitely preferred that Eric gave her some money (and a coat), but at that point the comparable relationship was Bill. Still, I would also say that Sam financially supported her as much as he could. I think for me it was more that Eric had a lot of money and it wasn’t a hardship for him to use it to take care of her. Interestingly, though, I think he spent more on her when he was wooing her than when they were actually together.

    I also know he took center stage in the last few books and a consensus of people felt he and Sookie were building towards something. (A common complaint is her choosing Sam felt abrupt after spending so much time on her and Eric).
    My reading the last few books is somewhat different. While in some ways they were getting closer (and I really like @NJfromLA‘s insights on Eric’s character growth), there were also a lot of growing difficulties, not only between Eric and Sookie, but for Eric in general. I actually read the past few books as the slow breakdown of Sookie and Eric’s relationship.

    I guess the one thing I am taking away from this is that there seems to be an inherent repudiation of “vampires” by Harris.
    I’ve seen this complaint on some of the Goodreads reviews, and I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t get it. I mean, there is only one Sookie, and she has multiple possibilities for suitors, all of whom are supes. If she had refused Sam’s interest in her, would that have meant that Harris would be anti-shifter, and would be “repudiating” shifters? Why isn’t her unwillingness to give in to Alcide or Quinn’s romantic interests not ant-shifter or anti-Were? She had relationships with two vampires. Bill ends up in a much better position in terms of community acceptance at the end, and Eric becomes immensely more politically powerful, which was what he always wanted. Granted, it is not on his terms, but that would be part of the problem with Sookie becoming his vampire “child” — she would lose any sense of individual agency and would have to do anything Eric said, which would be an awfully big price to pay for a character whose narrative journey has been all about feeling comfortable with who she is and embracing her own personal power and choices.

    @NJfromLA: Thank you for your comment; it’s one of the best defenses of Eric’s character I have seen.

    So, she looked back into what she “intended from the second book,” and undid years of development, which left an awful lot of us dangling and dissatisfied. I doubt that I’ll buy the next book – a wrap-up of what comes “after.” Although, some part of me hopes that Harris somehow redeems this horrid ending.

    I am torn about the next book, too. Part of me just wants to think of Sookie as Harris left her — not committed to anyone else and strong in her sense of self and place. And I find the television show so incredibly misogynistic I have become unable to watch it with any regularity.

    Still, while I agree with a lot of what you say about Eric, I feel she has been building the Sookie/Sam bond for a long time and has intensified it in the past few books, while at the same time showing how difficult Sookie and Eric’s long-term relationship would be despite their growing feelings for each other. Would Eric be the kind of guy who would NOT make Sookie do things she would not want to do as human, should he turn her? What kind of vampire would Sookie be, and if she was able to stay true to not being turned, would Eric continue to love her as her body aged?

    I was thinking about what @L Burns said about the Sam thing being abrupt, but I am of two minds about that (beyond believing that Harris was building the foundation between him and Sookie for many books): on the one hand, it might have been nice to see everything play out more leisurely over the course of two books, but on the other hand, I felt like the intensity with which Sookie experiences everything in the last book leaves her in a place where the only thing she *can* know is that no matter what happens to her, she’ll survive, and I really like that place. I didn’t really want her to be more attached to any one romantic possibility, and I kind of liked that the series ended where almost every book in it did, on the heels of some crisis that Sookie has squeaked through and is just trying to get her bearings and get back to her “normal” (which is never really normal) life.

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  41. Janet/Robin
    May 11, 2013 @ 00:39:25

    One thing that occurred to me this week is that if anyone was hoping that Janet Evanovich would ever have Stephanie Plum choose between Morelli and Ranger, the Harris backlash would pretty much guarantee that will never happen.

    I think it’s incredibly difficult to make a narrative choice when so many people are invested in something you don’t see for your own characters. While I get that readers feel betrayed, I think Harris did the more difficult thing in terms of securing reader happiness, and I have to respect that, because I already feel that authors are tempted in many ways to conform their own visions to reader expectations, and I’m very ambivalent (at best) about that.

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  42. L Burns
    May 11, 2013 @ 08:48:15

    @Janet/Robin:

    After “Sookiegate”, Evanovich’s only option is a Stephanie/Morelli/Ranger ménage!

    Harris ended the series the way that she wanted to. I respect that she stayed true to her own vision for the series and didn’t cater to her fan base. Yes, Eric has been a main player in the series, but in book 12 (Deadlocked), he was conspicuously absent. The Sookie/Eric relationship was barely kept alive on life support. Fans may not have liked the ending Harris chose, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

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  43. Ingrid Moore
    May 11, 2013 @ 10:04:56

    SPOILER ALERT

    I finished this book in 6 hours. I felt emotionally satisfied with the ending, but I gotta say I don’t ever see myself rereading this series. Which is odd because I love a good story and reread books often. I knew when Sookie saved Sam she would end up with him in the end. It felt right. I was one of the few people I knew who actually rooted for Quinn and Alcide. I knew from early Ms. Harris had no intention and no neat way to allow Sookie’s vamp relationships to work. While they were heady and hot they didn’t fit and were uncomfortable to me when I read them. Eric was too manipulative to be a good lasting fit for Sookie. Bill was her first love and Sookie had matured, seen and done too much to ever go back there. The vamps could never give her the life she needed and the contrast was never more evident than in her sex scene with Sam. He had to use a condom because he could get her pregnant. The sex was connected and messy with a tangible connection. Sam didn’t have to pretend to breathe. She could feel his heart. It was a life she could be happy in.

    I’m felt the Carmichael/Newlin plots and devil storyline was a little random. Why make Copely the villain. Who even thought about him? Why not just play this out with Newlin and leave that whole devil nonsense for a new series. It didn’t fit.

    I thought the ending of the relationship with Eric was anticlimactic, but I smiled at Bill’s glee when he got to repay Eric’s favor from NOLA. That felt justified and in the end I believe Bill still cared deeply enough for Sookie to make room for Sam. Finding out Eric had provided for her safety made me feel slightly mollified by Eric’s departure. I think Sookie understood Eric just a well as Pam and Karin. His reasons are somewhere in the middle ground between pragmatic politician and true love/regret.

    All in all the book left me feeling like I had ended a really harrowing journey I’m no hurry to relive. I enjoyed some it, was pissed by some of it (mainly books 10 & 11), and am now quite glad it’s over. I’ve never felt that way about a story before.

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  44. Lauri Munro
    May 11, 2013 @ 14:11:38

    I have read the proceeding posts. Perhaps Mrs. Harris always intended Sookie to be with Sam, however, I have read each of the books two or three times and I just don’t see it. I do think the Viking, Eric got away from her…and perhaps she should have allowed the story to flow naturally in a direction that might have made her a great writer. I am tired of hearing, “Sookie was never going to be a vampire.” How many magical loopholes are out there that in literature fantasy land that could have given the closure that many fans wanted. Don’t get me wrong. Sam is okay. But that is not where the story was headed. I will never believe it was. I won’t read Mrs. Harris again. She didn’t stay true to her muse. This last book was unemotional and flat.

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  45. Alissa
    May 11, 2013 @ 15:16:36

    @SNG:

    Haven’t read DEA yet, but couldn’t agree more with this comment. I was really angry after the last book, because I just did not want to read about how Sookie was buying lockers and getting ready to go to baby showers, and being ignored by her boyfriend and ignoring him back. Ooh! Time to go to Wal-Mart! It was like the combination of all the dullest days a person could have, it wasn’t good writing, not a good story, and definitely not a good read.

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  46. renee
    May 11, 2013 @ 18:38:37

    I knew from book one she would end up with Sam.

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  47. Rina
    May 13, 2013 @ 17:11:47

    This is the best review I’ve seen since some idiot posted that spoiler on Amazon “The HEA is Sam.” I am so sick of delusional Eric worshippers launching personal attacks on Harris and on other fans about how Eric was crapped on in DEA, how Sookie ending up with Sam didn’t make any sense, and how Harris betrayed her readers for money. Yeah, because the money is just rolling in from all the readers refusing to buy her last books and trashing her online. Thank you for acknowledging that Sookie’s story was actually about Sookie and her personal growth and not about which dude she ends up with. I bet that Harris will think twice before trying to target the romantic fiction fans again–they are lunatics who think a woman’s story is meaningless unless she ends up with the man of their choice. They can’t seem to grasp that Sookie is the protagonist of her own story, and that all other characters, including Eric, are supporting characters. In fact, maybe Harris should just write children’s books. At least then her audience won’t be throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their cookie.

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  48. Lynn
    May 14, 2013 @ 03:54:43

    A bit of me wishes she had finished it with a flash forward. I would have liked to have seen if she’d got her grandchildren and what happened to Hunter and if her and Sam (assuming they worked out) live in her grandmothers house or start afresh somewhere else.
    I would have liked to have seen her end up with Eric, but I know that wouldn’t work, especially as she got older, but other than Eric I was holding out for Alcide. Just would have preferred Alcide to Sam.

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  49. leslie
    May 14, 2013 @ 12:09:12

    Great review! I was worried I was the only one who was satisfied with the end of the series. I had a theory that Sookie wouldn’t end up with any of the vampires. The thing I’m most satisfied with though is that at the end of the book Sookie knew she would be ok if she was on her own. I really loved seeing her grow and evolve but not really change. She is a stronger version of herself and that is great. For those who were disappointed there was no HEA there is a book coming out in October: After Dead I think it’s called. It’s going to be an alphabetical listing of all the characters and what happens to them after the events in Dead Ever After. I think we’re see everyone’s HEA in that book.

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  50. Deep Fried-Day News Nuggets | Deep Fried Sci Fi
    May 17, 2013 @ 15:03:06

    [...] A review of Charlaine Harris’ Dead Ever After book, the last of the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries/Trueblood books at number 13. http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-b-reviews/b-reviews/review-dead-ever-after-by-charlaine-h… [...]

  51. aciedc
    May 19, 2013 @ 18:27:16

    @NJfromLA I love your points about Eric. There was something that did not flow right in his character evolution and that was it. Charlaine created this hero and then she had to tear him down so Sookie and Eric to end their relationship. I think Charlaine came to despise Eric and it seemed apparent in Books 11-13. While she claimed that he was this callous figure all along, he wasn’t. We saw this Eric who was fiercely loyal, proud, and protective. By the end, he was weak, powerless, and cold. I feel that the story evolved and Charlaine should have evolved the ending to match it. Not for the sake of fans or money or anything else, but for the sake of story that was being told. In the beginning, telling the story of meeting the love of your life (Sam) and not realizing it till the end, sounded good. But the reality is, in the books it was reaffirmed how platonic Sam and Sookie were book after book. Sam was a good friend/boss/family. Both Sookie and Sam hadn’t had much family left around, so they bonded like brother and sister. I think that were there was confusion or misinterpretation of feelings. When she used CD on Sam to save his life, I never thought it was because she had romantic feelings for Sam. I just thought he was her family. Even when Bill asked if she would used the CD on Tray, she said no. But if you would have asked her if she would have used it on Jason or her Grandma, she would say yes. I feel that’s how she views Sam; like family. Sookie would have used CD on Eric if his life was in danger, as she loved him too. In all the 9 books before, Eric was never suspicious of Sam until the end of 12 and 13. Eric Northman in the books is a million times better than on the series. I agree with NYfromLA in that on Season 4 of True Blood they ruined Eric with the part where he lost his memory. He was too sappy and weak. Charlaine intended to alienate readers from Eric in the last few books, but didn’t achieve that. Instead readers are furious that he fell out of character. I for one, became angry with Sookie for acting so ungrateful for Eric’s generosity. Sookie spends most of Book 11 & 12 being crabby for no reason. In the end, I don’t think the stories progression allowed for Sam tobe with Sookie. If she wanted to be true to Sookies character and show how she’s matured, she should have left her single. As far as Sookie not wanting to turn, there are loopholes to be found for Eric and her to be together. If Sookie wanted children, she could have adopted. By the end, I had started liking Eric’s character more than Sookie’s, as I found Sookie to be an ungrateful, mouthy brat. I think it is fitting that she didn’t end up with Eric, as she was not worthy of him. I do not like how he was married off in a situation he did not want to be in. I would be interested if someone created a series, just based on Eric Northman. Eric and his family proved to be the most interesting part of the Stackhouse stories. I got tired of reading about Sookie doing monotonous things, like shopping, painting her nails, doing yard work, eating tomato sandwiches, etc. I’d like to know more about Pam and Karin. I will read the last book, but I will not read any other Harris’s collection.

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  52. aciedc
    May 19, 2013 @ 18:33:40

    @Rina I’m tired of people complaining about people who are voicing their valid opinions, after spending hundreds of dollars and investing time in this series.

    Buried Comment (Reason: Ad hominem)   Show

    You are just as annoying.
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  53. Andrea
    May 22, 2013 @ 20:23:33

    @Camilla: I fully agree with your review. This last book is written without care and intelligence, in total disregard to the characters and in total inconsistancy with the entire story. The plots are inconsistant, the writting is sloopy and I am utterly disappointed. This cannot be considered as a good ending ! I am reading a lot, like one book a week, and I know when a story is wrong. And this has nothing to do with whom Sookie ends up. I would have been happy with every ending, really, as long as the job was properly done, which is absolutely not the case in DEA.

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  54. MaryJanice Davidson
    May 23, 2013 @ 17:42:16

    This was terrific for all sorts of reasons, and I posted your URL into the Amazon thread that started Spoilergate. Thank you!
    http://www.amazon.com/Spoiler-beat-all-spoilers-HEA/forum/FxFTJOHVZX8HP4/Tx2HCQU4LEIYRNK/289/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg289?_encoding=UTF8&asin=193700788X&cdSort=oldest

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  55. Mia
    May 24, 2013 @ 05:47:08

    Some random thoughts: I lost track of who mentioned Eric would benefit politically from the marriage, and that’s what Eric wants. In an earlier book – maybe 8 – Eric wasn’t interested in vampire politics; he preferred being a big fish in a little pond, which I guess would explain why a 1,000 year old vampire wasn’t a king. So this is a rewrite of Eric’s personality by Harris to make the ending fit.

    Also from what I read online, some of the readers are upset that Eric is essentially sold off into slavery (albeit a “comfortable” slavery) and loses his autonomy, wealth, family, etc. Harris established a sexually abused past for Eric (read:RAPE) after his turning so I can understand the upset by fans of the treatment of a fan favorite. I found it offensive when Jason on the True Blood series was raped by the werepanther women, and Alan Ball treated it cavalierly in an interview. Would it have been treated with a wink and a nudge, if Jason was female? Or does promiscuity in either sex mean you abandon your right to say no to anyone? So Eric will be okay because the queen is beautiful and his prison will be gilded, and he will enjoy the sex? Anyway this is why I can sympathize with readers who are upset with Eric’s fate.

    As to Sam and Sookie, I don’t think it is clear from the text that Sam was the one. I think you had to be privy to CH’s interviews about the intended ending to get that. I agree it’s possible to read Sookie’s response to Sam’s partners as jealousy, but it’s also possible to read it as concern by a friend for his poor choices. I have a female friend who is dating someone that I don’t think is a great choice for her. It’s definitely not jealousy but a concern for her happiness. Sam has dated the Maenad, Tanya, and Jannalyn, who Sookie has had her own problems with. It’s easy to read Sookie’s disapproval as worry for Sam and his happiness.

    I’ve been thinking about Harris’ comment about knowing her ending. The last few books in the series haven’t been as enjoyable as the earlier works, and they have had a bored feeling to them, IMO. I wonder how much trying to get to the intended ending affects the work. Harris couldn’t unleash her characters because she needed to reel them in to the box she planned on putting them in at the end. Maybe Harris got bored with the story because she couldn’t invent new scenarios and keep the constraints she intended 10-12 years ago.

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  56. Cerise
    May 24, 2013 @ 20:33:32

    Just finished DEA and I’m so disappointed. Not a good way to end a very good series.

    “Bill, I think, could have nurtured that part of her, but Eric? I think he’d want to get rid of it as quickly as he could.” Good observation!

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  57. CK
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 05:09:54

    I gave up on Sookie 4 books ago because she struck me as too whiny and immature for someone who had 9 books to grow up, and the writing was weak. I kept reading the series, though, because I’d read the short stories in various anthologies and they were good, so I was hoping the series would improve. I thought that book 12 made no f—– sense in terms of character development, so I finally decided not to read this book and put the series out of my mind. However, after reading on another author’s blog about the backlash against Harris, crazy fans making suicide threats and what not, I started reading about Dead Ever After. I’m pretty sure I’ll hate it if I read it (so I’ll save my energy), but I don’t understand people (probably not commentors on this blog) who are surprised or pissed by the ending — really? How could you not see it coming after the ending of book 12? Eric was an ass, Sookie was her immature self, and any relationship with that much poor communication and tortured drama is obviously sinking fast and not being set-up for a happy anything. It’s disappointing, but shouldn’t inspire levels of hate or whatever cuz its not like Harris wasn’t dropping big clues along the way.

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  58. Sherry O'Tinger
    Jun 01, 2013 @ 21:27:00

    I was really, really disappointed with this book. So many unanswered questions. And I hate being critical of any author, but this is by far my biggest disappointment. I would like my money back on this book. As it pains me to say this. No closure, nothing really happening. And really no spoilers ……Just disgusted. Was expecting far more than I got. Just terrible.

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  59. Francisco
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 18:48:37

    Have been reading Sookie Stackhouse novels for so long, I think the finale was underwhelming and anti-climatic. I think the last 3 novels have become slightly weak progressively: Sookie’s trademark passion scenes have been cut short, the suspense and climax has diminished, and overall it feels like the publishing house it’s telling Charlaine: “hurry up and get more books out now, let’s sell!” it shows in the writing.

    Although I don’t hate she end up being with Sam of the sorts (as they plan to take it slowly, whatever that really means) I felt it was a little pulled by the hairs. I knew she wouldn’t end with a human and vampires were a 50/50 chance. Sam have been supportive throughout the series but it wasn’t until the end of book 12 that Sookie’s life-saving act kind of foreshadow that Sam could be Sookie’s new man. If Charlaine plan was for Sookie to end with Sam from the very beginning (as she stated in the prologue) she should had started to develop a more solid plot development between the two of them and not rush it in a way that’s unfair (For instance, have the finale of book 12 in the middle instead and start working on Sam’s and Sookie relationship from that point on, so it would resonate better for them to start “dating” on book 13).

    I actually would had prefer she stayed single, why a woman have to be dating someone to be completely happy? Isn’t this Sookie’s journey to development as a woman confident of herself? I would also had wished Charlaine has written an additional page or two setting Sookie in 5, 9 or 15 years in the future to give us a final and decisive view on Sookie’s life. That conversation she had after the wedding with Sam was so underwhelming, I was like that is it?

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  60. Janet/Robin
    Jun 02, 2013 @ 19:46:13

    @MaryJanice Davidson: Thank you for letting me know; I checked in on that thread when you posted this comment and have periodically tried to catch up on the discussion (too many pages for me to get everything though!).

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s points of view about the last book and the series as a whole. It has made me want to go back through and re-read the series from start to finish, to see what my own experience would be if I took on the series as one reading experience.

    One thing I thought was interesting: the complaints about the use of the third person POV in DEA. Not only did that not bother me, but it seemed utterly logical to me — a “pulling back of the camera” so to speak, away from Sookie and more broadly into the world she started the series feeling somewhat outside. Creating and wider perspective and balancing it with a Sookie who felt at home and comfortable — both in her skin and in her world, changed as it is — felt appropriate to me.

    Which I guess brings up a larger question for me: what’s the difference between the evolution of a series and the “breaking of rules” an author has created. I’m certainly not going to argue that Harris maintained perfect consistency over the course of 13 books +, but I also don’t know how much of what some readers see as rule breaking I’d argue is something else. Hmm, that’s something I’ve got to think about for a while.

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  61. MidMOMommy
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 15:23:34

    I am way late for this discussion but I just finished the book . I am satisfied with the book and the way it ended. I was not at all surprised at the break-up of Sookie and Eric. I really felt that when he bit her that time and caused her pain when doing so was a major turning point and the beginning of the end for them.

    As for Sookie ending up with Sam, I expected that since I feel it has been foreshadowed almost since the beginning. Maybe I am just imagining it but I feel like I remember nearly everyone she has had a relationship with being wary of her feelings for Sam. I think Bill summed it up well when he said, “however, sometimes you don’t know yourself very well.” I think all of the romantic links in her life have suspected her feelings ran deeper for Sam than she would allow herself to acknowledge. Through all the ups and downs,in the end Sam and Sookie have always been there for each other.

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  62. Candice
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 22:19:04

    I personally hated the way the ending happened. As we all can probably agree with, it was no surprise that if sookie didn’t end up with Eric it was going to be wih Sam, YET I hated how she made Eric out to be. First off, what I hated and what seemed very unrealistic to me, was how Eric up and moved and basically let sookie go without a fight. I find it very hard to believe and I gotta admit I’m a little disappointed with how charlaine seemed to change Eric’s character so drastically. Its as if Eric went from being cold and hard to being capable of loving someone to all of a sudden acting like a prick (excuse my language) and honestly acting out of his character if you ask me. We read and lived those moments of their love and have seen Eric’s devotion and love for sookie so to see him be so passive about the situation just bothers me since it seems to not him! Honestly I was waiting to read that Eric and Pam secretly had a plot to send Felipe to hell and get him out of his marriage to Freyda. I didn’t expect him to up and move so quickly without even so much as a goodbye to sookie (which I hated that whole hospital scene ) and then all of a sudden she’s with Sam. Now I like Sam just as much as the next person but c’mon seriously?! I mean it was extremely rushed and yes while I like that sookie seems to be okay with herself and stated how shed be fine with or without Sam, it’s still not even like sookie to just give up and say “screw it I’m done with vampires and because of the cluviel dor it appears I don’t give a crap about feelings I once cared for..etc”! I know that was a magical and emotional moment when she used the cluviel dor but I don’t like how charlaine basically used that as an excuse for sookie to just so easily give up on what she once would’ve fought so hard for I feel. It felt as a cop out and I think she could’ve made her break up with Eric much more differently if she really felt that strongely about them not being together. All in all I guess I’m just disappointed. While I think she’ll have a pretty normal life and am happy for her, I hate how rushed this all felt. And how little we got t hear from Eric and how it seemed as if he really was an A hole with no real sincere love for her when we all know he loved that girl! (also hated how Karin and Pam made him
    out to seem)

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  63. L Burns
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 09:15:24

    @Candice:

    I agree that the ending of the Sookie/Eric relationship was oddly anticlimactic. For the last couple of books you could see the end coming, but I still think the break-up should have conveyed more emotion.

    In an earlier post I think I said that the whole Sookie and Sam thing felt abrupt. I don’t mean the fact that they (more or less) end up together, but the actual scene in DEA when she decides to act on her “feelings” for Sam. One minute she’s tanning in the backyard, the next she’s having some sweaty sex with Sam in his trailer. It just felt like…huh, where did THAT come from? And I’ve chosen to forget that Sam was wearing denim cut-off shorts in that scene. Just a disturbing, Village People-ish type of visual, lol.

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  64. Candice
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 21:37:23

    @l burns
    I agree completely. I hate the lack of emotion, something that I would’ve never seen coming especially from Eric. They both literally gave up without a fight and that seemed so odd especially from those characters! It was as if sookie was just too tired to deal with it all and Eric was simply a jerk off who didnt really care about her at the end of the day….ehhhh I guess it is what it is huh

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  65. L Burns
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 09:22:18

    @Candice:

    I think my expectations were set too high for DEA. I wanted CH to pull out all the stops and really “Wow” us with some unexpected plot twists. Instead, it felt like the series just kind of sputtered to a stop.

    I didn’t hate it though, and I liked that Sookie had a measure of independence and control over her own future at the end.

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  66. Marionetta
    Jun 15, 2013 @ 12:57:27

    A comment on the ending of Dead Ever After. I have read this series through, with that growing disappointment at content over the last few books that seems to be common amongst the comments here. Most of that related to the fading out of Eric’s character, how he lost his depth and passion and was simply ready to be killed off almost. (I wonder if CH thought of that as a an outcome but then of course Sookie would have had to grieve him and the door wouldn’t have been open to get a quick sex scene in with Sam before the end of the book!) That said I love that she has ended the series with Sookie and Sam coming together. I have loved Sam right from the beginning, even through the idiotic choices of women. Sam just gives me the warm and fuzzies, whilst its not the hot and tinglies of Eric, its something pretty damn sweet.
    Sam is a true shifter and has always seemed (even though he’s littleish) big, brave and dependable. The problem I saw in the series with most shifters is they were these big vicious animals, all gun hoe ready to fight and kill everyone, but not very brave or true when it came to love. Quinn, big, super sexy but so incredibly whipped that he would give up on a passionate love and life with Sookie for his family. And the whole thing with Tigerjinn, another were female that is walking all over that boy. I’m thinking that tiger is a pussy cat.

    And Alcide, do not get me started on him. When CH brought Alcide in he was soooooo impressive, strong, brave, sexy, had Sookie ready to jump his bones, etc. But then the whole girlfriend(s), homicidal maniac thing. And Alcide just seems to think its okay that the ex or current girlfriend try to kill Sookie. He’s reaction to when the ex locked Sookie in the trunk with a hungry Bill who almost feed off her to death and raped her was just not impressive to me. That’s when I lost interest in Alcide. (Speaking of the rape in the trunk, I hated Sookie’s rationalisation of it, that she still loved, wanted Bill and all that stuff. I’d actually have rathered that their relationship ended because of it then the whole discovered he used her.)

    And I really really did not like that Alcide’s comment to Sookie when she was rescued from the rogue weres was essentially ‘did he rape you?’ like she was his property that might have been defiled and he wanted to know quick smart if she was still good.

    So after my little ramble on weres, well the true shifter Sam, sweet and loyal and all those warm fuzzy things is a great mate for Sookie in my book!

    Personally, I think that to see Sookie’s series end now is disappointing itself. I understand the author has grown bored with her, but I kind of see it as so many potential stories that are just gone to waste. Maybe one day CH will want to revisit her. I like the idea floated here of how the readers would have liked a few pages on the future. Perhaps a book or two on Sookie as an older woman, happily married, two kids and a dog (other than Dean) and being dragged back into vamp politics for a book or two? lol….

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  67. Court
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 13:18:56

    I’m super late to the conversation, but I just finished the books. I think what the Eric lovers are feeling is a lack of closure. I needed Sookie to grieve the loss of Eric, so that I could grieve the loss of a character that I loved and that I felt had been an important part of her life. Sookie didn’t grieve the loss of Eric, she didn’t even shed a tear, and it felt false.

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  68. Lauren
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 15:24:11

    I was so excited for this final book and to be honest, I hated it. I found it utterly boring, the “dramatic murder plots” unbelievable, and found myself skimming through most of it. I was an Eric-lover and would have preferred a dramatic heart-wrenching ending where she chooses to be human and single rather than all of a sudden having her fall for Sam – someone she was never really that into for the past 12 books. Half way through reading it I felt like the writing really was for teenagers. Any finale that makes you question why you were even into this series in the first place really isn’t a great finale.

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  69. Jo
    Oct 21, 2013 @ 17:44:19

    Having recently retread the whole series in preparation for the final book, I have to admit I was disappointed. I agree that the book didn’t seem to flow as well as the others and Sookie seemed to have her priorities totally mixed up toward the end. For example… the Wares and Vamps regularly killed people in severely violent ways and she got over it all in a couple of pages… Her so called good friend Amelia made the error of trying to get her to bed Alcide and she stopped talking to her for months!!! This was way out of character for her.
    Although I loved the passion between Sookie and Eric, and I found myself smirking at some of his egostistical ways, I always felt that Sookie and Sam did have chemistry although I wasn’t really bothered whether they ended up together or not.
    Like some others, I would’ve prefered Sookie to end up single because every book focused on her ability to handle any situation and proved she was strong and capable.
    I didn’t like the way Eric left the series, I felt that since he was such a huge character, it was disappointing that he didn’t really feature in the book and that they didn’t have a more amicable parting.
    I keep reading in reviews that some people think the Cluviel Dor changed Sookie and Sam… The way I read it was that because Sookie agonised for so long about how she could use it and then didn’t have to think twice about saving Sam’s life… It made her stop and think about who she couldn’t live without.
    I personally think that if the incident with Sam being fatally wounded hadn’t happened, Sookie could’ve used the CD to be immortal without all the downsides of being a vampire… That way she could’ve stay with Eric forever but still lived in the sunshine x

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  70. helli_m
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 06:07:27

    Although you make some very good points, i cannot agree with this review 100%. Yes Eric has always been my favorite of all the love interests but I always knew they wouldn’t last. They were in so many ways different and not always the complementing one another kinda of different. As much as Sam has always loved and pinned after Sookie i never would have guest they would be together. I mean at one point Sookie said she saw him as a brother, so… As much as Eric is self centered and egotistical he wasn’t so much this way with Sookie. He softened quite a bit when it came to Sookie so for CH to just write him off as this huge jerk and then to add in his other progeny just to say he had a thing for blondes really upset me. He had no goodbye and was basically made a slave which is so unlike Eric. As much as Eric likes his power i think the stipulations of the agreement were a bit steep and the real Eric wouldn’t have agreed to it. Earlier on in the books it was said that Eric was happy being just Sheriff and that he hadn’t any real lust to become King. Eric being forced into this slavery was so off character for him especially since he isn’t allowed to see Pam for what was it 100 or 200 years. I mean that’s just B.S. A

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