Review of DEAD IN THE FAMILY by Charlaine Harris
A SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL
Ace, May 2010
Sookie Stackhouse's life seems ready to settle down. She likes her boyfriend, vampire Eric, her brother has (finally) grown a little sense, the fairies have locked the door between universes, and she can even help her cousin, Hunter, who has the same mind-reading ability that has cursed Sookie all of her life. Things never go easy for Sookie, though. First, Eric's maker shows up, along with the last Romanov prince (whom he converted to vampire form). The prince is severely disturbed and Eric gets drawn into the mess. Vampire politics have also taken another nasty turn with Eric's position on shaky ground. Then there's the popular prejudice against shapeshifters who recently 'came out.' And as for the fairies, the gates may be locked, but not all of the fairies ended up on the other side
Sookie tries to find some balance between her love life, the perfect suntan, and the rest of her life when Eric abruptly vanishes. She really didn't need to be caught in another vampire war, especially as she's still recovering from the last one. Unfortunately, balance is another thing that Sookie has a hard time with. When a body turns up in her back yard, Sookie knows she's being set up for something. What she doesn't know is, who is setting her up and why.
Author Charlaine Harris (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of urban/contemporary fantasy by Harris) writes an intriguing adventure with a dash of social commentary to keep the reader thinking. Sookie is a great 'everyman' protagonist. She's trying to do the right thing in a world where even recognizing the right thing is a lot more complicated than the rules she learned from her grandmother (who had her own difficulties defining the right thing). DEAD IN THE FAMILY is hard to put down both because of Harris's charming writing and because there's a lot going on here.
Poor Sookie has been love-challenged over the course of this series. Although she's 'married' to Eric through the vampire knife-passing rite, she doesn't really accept this marriage (she wasn't aware she was agreeing to marriage by passing Eric the knife) and his difficulties with his maker add to her concerns. I certainly hope, however, that Sookie will stick this one out. Being unlucky in love a couple of times is one thing. But she's had trouble with guys before and running always seems to be her first choice. It isn't the most attractive habit in a protagonist. So, Sookie, try to make this one work.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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