Dead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel
by Charlaine Harris
Cover Artist: Lisa Desimni
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441018642
Date: 04 May 2010 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Fae War has ended and the border between our world and theirs has been sealed. The war was not won without casualties. Sookie was tortured and, while she was given the blood of two vampires, she still has visible wounds. But the guilt and depression are less visible but may take even longer to heal. But the world moves on -- Bill Compton is wounded, and Eric Northman is under the watchful eye of the new Vampire King. And Sookie is tired, body and soul.
Throughout the books, Sookie has had found the strength to deal with crisis after crisis since she met Bill Compton and became entangled in supernatural politics between vampires, weres, shifters, fae, and others. Each time she managed to cope -- learning and adapting. Sookie's strength sprung from her faith in herself and a belief in the basic decency of people. Now she doubts herself and feels as if all those she cares about are in danger if she's near them.
She's also alone. Amelia has had to return to New Orleans to face punishment for going against the laws of the magical community, although Jason does try to include Sookie in his life as he moves on after the death of his wife.
Into this void in her life, Claude moves in with Sookie. He says he can't live alone with so many memories of his sister now that she's dead. Sookie is the only family he has now and that tie is tenuous at best.
Sookie can't catch a break. The werewolfs request permission to run on her land and report that they've found a body, and that two fae have been meeting in her woods. Eric sends a tracker to verify this finding and in the process another body buried on her land is found. Who it is and how it got there will determine what should be done. And, will it be up to Sookie to solve the mystery?
Everyone has their own agenda and once Sookie realizes that she's been licking her wounds long enough, she decides to settle all these problems and regain some peace of mind. But nothing is ever that easy. The weres want to use her powers and push them further. Eric's maker shows up with a young half-blood brother for Eric who has his own problems.
It seems that every one in Sookie's life is pulling her in a different direction and she must again find her center. What would you do for the people you love? Are there limits? Is there a point past which you won't go? Sookie has been trying to find that line -- the one she won't cross. This is a story that causes her to evaluate herself, to look into her heart and see what she's become and whether she can live with that knowledge.
To me this seemed a much more reflective book. Not that there isn't action, because there is plenty of tension and action. There is much more self-reflection and evaluation of what has gone before and what that means for the future. Sookie is not the same person she was when we met her in Dead Until Dark, she's changed because of the people and events in her life. What has she lost and what has she gained?
If you've been reading the series, you probably have your own ideas about these issues. Now you get a chance to see Sookie try to come to grips with these questions as she pulls her life back together after an experience that many of us could not have survived if we'd been in her place. Will she be able to rebuild her confidence and strength while helping solve problems for the weres and for Eric? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out.