Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
So, we’ve reached the much anticipated final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Just how will the story finish? Who will Sookie end up with? Will she become a vampire/pregnant/dead?
And will the fans approve?
I’m going to attempt to review this novel without spoiling the ending for those that haven’t read it yet, so excuse any oblique references to the plot!
Already the novel has caused huge controversy among the fans, with many outraged by the way the series concludes. I read the book before I heard about this and actually enjoyed it. The series peaked several books ago and has never managed to return to those heights, but Dead Ever After is a fairly typical Sookie story. As usual, Miss Stackhouse finds herself at the centre of a murderous supernatural plot and has a whole heap of relationship dilemmas. Here are a few examples of her most dramatic moments from the series.
It seems that the main problem many readers have with the ending is Sookie’s choice of lover. There have been several potential suitors over the years – Bill, Eric, Alcide, Sam and Quinn – and Sookie has unfinished business with most of them. But Harris has never been subtle about signposting the direction Sookie’s love life is going to take, so I was fully expecting her to make the decision that she did and had been expecting it for about the last three books.
This is the part where it becomes hard to discuss the motives surrounding the ending without giving it away, but I can understand the choice Harris made and it does make sense from a practical point of view for Sookie’s future. I think die-hard fans may have been more sympathetic to it had this element of the story been built up earlier in the series rather than the focus being on another element that is abruptly closed off. This would have allowed the readers to become more invested in the ultimate conclusion, rather than feeling cheated when the writer systematically took apart a storyline that she had been heavily building up for years.
It’s Team Edward vs. Team Jacob all over again.
Otherwise the plot moves at a brisk pace. I found the book’s opening quite dark, as a number of mysterious enemies begin plotting against Sookie. There’s witchcraft, murder and even a grasping businessman selling his soul to the devil.
Dead Ever After contains all the familiar elements of the series; it kept me entertained and I did enjoy it, but as it is the final book it would have been nice for it to be something special. Whilst I always enjoy these stories, they are very formulaic and it doesn’t feel like the author made a huge amount of effort to conclude the series in a dramatic and satisfying fashion. In fact, the ending is left as open as any of the earlier novels, as though Sookie will be back with another adventure in a few months.
But if you’re a fan of this series and you’ve read all the other novels, you should check out Dead Ever After. Some people will probably be disappointed with the ending, others will think it very fitting and others will want more.
Reading the book, I was transported to Bon Temps for a final adventure and I will certainly miss Sookie and her crazy life. Dead Ever After was better than I was expecting, but it didn’t feel like the best place to end the series. Perhaps a little bit more detail or the introduction of certain story threads a little earlier, along with a more decisive ending, would have made all the difference.
Find out more about the book:
Dead Ever After: A True Blood Novel (Sookie Stackhouse) on Amazon (affiliate link)
Dead Ever After on Goodreads