Last year as I read Deadlocked, the next to last novel of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I laughed, I cried, and by the end I wondered how I was going to survive after May of 2013. Fast forward to yesterday and as I read Dead Ever After, I laughed, and by the conclusion I thought: “Well, that was…nice.” I wasn’t overly impressed with the final novel in the series, but as far as finales go, I think Ms. Harris did a nice job. Storylines were wrapped up pretty well and characters made cameos in a sign of love and support to their friend and heroine, Sookie.
My biggest gripe comes as a result of Sookie’s Happily Ever After, similar to many angry fans, though not in the way that you might think. I wanted Sam and Sookie to end up together ever since it wasn’t going to work with Quinn. (I’d been Team Quinn since Dead As A Doornail. I’m definitely a Q-Cat.) However, Sam as the love interest for Sookie’s Happily Ever After felt a bit stale only because she seemed to possess stronger romantic warmth towards Quinn in the short time of his appearance in this novel than Sam. But I knew in my heart that Sam and Sookie would be together in the end, I just wish the setup and plot had conveyed and echoed the passionate plot that was bouncing around in my head. Sam is the first guy that actually loves Sookie without wanting, needing, or blackmailing anything in return and she treats him and their budding relationship with what I felt as mild interest and keeps him at a distance. And I’m going to be honest; I wanted lots and lots of details about their first time making love: sights, sounds, hell, even smells since Sam’s sense is heightened. But it seemed to be rushed in with lackadaisical descriptive interest. It’s one thing to learn from past relationship experiences and take it slow, but I feel that Sam was getting the short end of a stick that should have been hovering above past suitors’ hearts such as Bill. I liked Bill before the huge blowout of the lie, betrayal, and let’s call it what it was, folks: rape. Yet, when it was all said and done, Bill became Sookie’s BFF of sorts who she chose to confide in. She’s better than me because my exes have done less awful things and I still encourage them to go kick rocks. Also, there was a huge disconnect between Sookie and Sam for the majority of the novel between his difficult adjustment after resurrection and bowing down to Eric's heavy handed blackmailing tactics. Therefore, I needed the mother of build ups for Sookie and Sam’s romance, but it was just sort of…meh.
Oh, and speaking of Eric, I never wanted to see Sookie ride off into the moonlight with him, but his ending seemed like a slap in the face to just about everyone. I read a review that described Eric’s fate as essentially becoming “arm candy” to Freyda, and I have to agree. The big, ominous Viking sheriff gave up all he had to be by Freyda’s side for 200 years and resented Sookie for not choosing to get him out of the situation with the Cluviel Dor. Eric’s last scenes depict someone who wanted to forcibly turn Sookie into a vampire against her will (which in my eyes would have been another form of rape), and his last act is revealed to have been blackmailing Sam into not communicating with or courting Sookie. I believe it is Eric’s fans who are attacking and reviewing Ms. Harris and her work so harshly.
Claude’s back. Wait, what?
Last readers read, access in or out of the fairy world had been closed up tighter than a wedgie in the summertime. Therefore, Sookie’s panicked surprise mimicked that of my own surprise. Based on his tattered and scarred description, I couldn’t help feeling like I was reading Terminator. You know the part where only a little flesh remains on the cyborg form and he’s pissed out of his mind but he keeps coming back? Yeah, that. Claude’s return and the reason for his ability to return is addressed in a line or two, but I couldn't wrap my head around why that should suffice.
I give Dead Ever After 3 out of 5 stars. I think if you're a fan and have followed the Sookie Stackhouse series from the beginning, you should definitely read this final novel...or just wait for CODA: After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse in October. Either way, I thank Charlaine Harris for bringing Sookie Stackhouse and her crazy, awesome world and charactersto life.