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Book Review: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris (Series, #7)

December 17, 2009 14 comments

Summary:
Against her fairy godmother’s better judgment, Sookie accompanies the Louisiana vampire contingency to Rhodes, Illinois for the vampire summit to work for the queen reading human minds at the various wheelings and dealings.  She is excited that Quinn will be there as well, but a wrench is thrown in the works of their relationship when she is forced to exchange blood for a third time with Eric.  To top it all off Sookie and fellow telepath Barry have the odd sensation that something isn’t quite right at the summit.  It’s a lot for small-town girl Sookie to handle in one week in the north.

Review:
I want to say the action in this entry into Sookie’s adventures is excellent, but it isn’t quite there.  The minor side-mysteries are quite good, but they are meant to distract from the main event, which frankly I had figured out way way way before Sookie.  It was pratically hitting her in the face, and she didn’t get it.  So the mystery leaves a little to be desired.

On the other hand, the plot point where Andre is trying to force Sookie to exchange blood with him, and Eric steps up to exchange blood with her instead is excellent.  Quinn is unjustifiably angry, and Sookie discovers that trading blood three times is a magical number.  She is more closely tied to Eric than she is comfortable with, and she is left incredibly confused about her feelings for him vs her feelings for Quinn.  This is a love conflict that is bound to prove interesting because she has feelings for Eric but intellectually believes Quinn is a wiser choice.  Now this is juicy romantic conflict!

Something that has been bugging me about the series that is featured epicenter of this book though is the whole idea of the vampires arranging their kingdoms based on the states.  There’s the King of Tennessee and the Queen of Louisiana, and they even call each other simply by the state (as in, “Oh hi, Louisiana”).  This makes zero sense.  Why would the super-powerful and, for the majority of existence, hidden vampires arrange themselves based on arbitrary human dividing lines?  Sure having multiple kingdoms in the US makes sense, but not arranged based on the human-created state lines.  It doesn’t fit into the characterization of what a vampire is.

I think what really bothered me about this book though was that it made me dislike Sookie.  I don’t like how she behaves, her superficial focus on clothing, or her prejudiced view of northerners.  (Not a single northern woman she runs into does she view as anything other than a rude bitch).  I don’t always need to like my main characters, but I think in a paranormal romance that’s problematic.

Overall, the action is excellent, even if some of the world-building doesn’t make sense and the characterization can be off-putting.  I think this may be a set-up for a major, character-changing circumstance in Sookie’s life, which would make it more understandable.  We’ll see if I’m right.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Bought on Amazon

Buy It

Previous Books in Series:
Dead Until Dark, review
Living Dead in Dallas, review
Club Dead, review
Dead To The World, review
Dead as a Doornail, review
Definitely Dead, review

Book Review: Definitely Dead By Charlaine Harris (Series #6)

December 15, 2009 10 comments

Summary:
Sookie needs to go to New Orleans for both personal and business reasons.  Her cousin Hadley had been a vampire but died her second death leaving everything to Sookie, so she needs to go clean out her apartment.  As far as business goes, the queen of Louisiana has also requested her presence to figure out if she will require Sookie’s services for the upcoming vampire summit.  When Sookie finds out that Hadley was the queen’s lover, a connection between the two purposes for the visit shows up that may be more significant than she at first realizes.

Review:
I’m glad I learned on some blog (wish I could remember which one) that a short story comes between the previous book and this one in the series, otherwise I would have thought I missed a book or something.  That annoying tendency to retell things that already happened?  Actually awfully helpful here, since I haven’t read that short story.  You don’t need to read the short story to enjoy this book, but I wish I had and advise you to as well.  If you’re interested, some investigation reveals that short story is contained in the collection of Sookie short stories called A Touch of Dead.

Also thankfully, my prediction that Dead as a Doornail was a random clunker and not a death toll for the series was correct.  Definitely Dead is a step back up in quality.  The multiple storylines actuall do reveal to be related and not just random throwaways designed to throw you off the scent of the main mystery.  We also get the addition of a new supe–part-demons–and some serious reveals.  I mean makes you rethink how you look at the entire story reveals.  To give you non-spoilery hints, you learn something about Bill and something about just why Sookie is so darn appealing to the supe guys.  I personally love that sort of thing, and I’m hoping these two reveals will help the series continue to grow and expand.

On the minus side, I have to come right out and say it that I am not impressed with Quinn.  I’m glad Sookie has become a bit more savvy about pursuing a long-term relationship, but with Quinn? Really?  The man’s looks don’t match what has been established to be Sookie’s type at all–tall and lean–he is instead the muscle-bound guy.  That suits some women, but it comes out of the blue that Sookie’s at all attracted to him.  Also, what’s with the purple eyes?  On what planet is it sexy for a man to have eyes not only an unnatural color, but an unnatural color that’s girly?  I of course dislike him for nonsuperficial reasons too.  He seems far too perfect.  He says those puke-inducing gushy things to Sookie that, I’m sorry, perfectly nice men just don’t say in real life, and you know why they don’t say them?  Because they sound corny and false and how the man treats you is far more important than what he says to you.  There’s also the fact that he originally came on to her when there was a fight to the death going on in front of them, something I find indicative of just how sympathetic he really is to other people.  Frankly, I just don’t find Quinn or Sookie’s interest in him believable.  Something just rings false about the whole thing.  It isn’t like her interactions with Eric, for example, that are full of witty banter and internal conflict about liking this person on both sides.  Quinn and Sookie’s conversations literally make me want to puke at how disgustingly sweet and false they sound.  Reading their conversations is like eating a twinkie.  A deep-fried twinkie.

Thankfully, there isn’t much Quinn in this book, so it’s still an enjoyable read and a sign of better things to come in the series.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Bought on Amazon

Buy It

Previous Books in Series:
Dead Until Dark, review
Living Dead in Dallas, review
Club Dead, review
Dead To The World, review
Dead as a Doornail, review