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    Review of ALL TOGETHER DEAD by Charlaine Harris (see her website)


    Ace Books, May 2007

    With hurricane Katrina destroying much of the economic base of Sophie-Anne, Vampire Queen of Louisanna, challenges to her leadership that might have been dismissed earlier have to be taken seriously. Which is why Sookie Stackhouse, mind-reader, part fairy, and full-time bartender, is given orders to join Sophie-Anne in a vampire summit. Only Sookie can witness that Sophie-Anne was attacked first by the King of Arkansas, not the other way around as Arkansas's supporters claim.

    Sookie continues to be conflicted by feelings for Bill--although he betrayed her, for Eric--whom she knows is much more interested in himself than anyone else, and for the handsome were-tiger, Quinn who just might be her new boyfriend except they never seem able to spend any time together. The vampire summit might seem like a good place for togetherness, but angry vampires and a crowd of ultra-humanist Fellowship of the Sun (who want to expose all vampires to the sun), don't make for much of a dating getaway and Sookie soon finds herself mixed in the middle of vampire intrigue and wholesale destruction.

    Author Charlaine Harris (see more reviews of fantasy by Harris) doesn't completely neglect the humor in the latest installment of her Southern Vampire series, but she definitely tones it down in favor of action. Sookie finds herself emeshed in plots within plots, sought after by various potential boyfriends, and dooped by just about everyone.

    With so much going on, it's sometimes hard to keep track of the characters. What's even harder, though, is to figure out who to pull for. In the past, Harris's vampires have been dangerous, but in mostly sexy ways. In ALL TOGETHER DEAD, though, they show themselves to be more evil, more dangerous, and more indifferent to human suffering than ever before--so much so that the Fellowship of the Sun starts sounding like a good idea--until you see what they do.

    ALL TOGETHER DEAD is well written and it's easy to sink into the story. Sookie continues to be an intriguing character--a mix of innocence and jaded sensibilities that attract reader interest and sympathy. The depressing wrapup to the story, with its echoes of 9/11 and its moral ambivalence together constant references to Katrina, left me feeling down rather than elated. It isn't what I look for in a Sookie Stackhouse story.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 6/06/07

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