Book Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

"Dead Ever After" by Charlaine Harris did not disappoint me. I loved it. Knowing how it ends, and knowing that she knew how it would end all along really makes me look forward to someday when I have time to reread each book and short story in chronological order. I will do my best to not spoil the ending or spill who she ends up with. I will say, though, that reading it on Kindle was a bit of a letdown, as any book with extras is these days. Not that I don’t love the extras! I do! I do! I just wish they could somehow not include the extras in the percentage and estimated time left reading. Like, I thought I had an hour left of reading as well as 12% of the book. Nope. It’s over. It’s done. I’ll never again read a new Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Oh god… I’LL NEVER AGAIN READ ANOTHER NEW SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL?!?! Please excuse me for a moment while I sob into my hands. As readers across the country have already gone through it and survived, so will I.

No doubt that I really enjoyed these books. My mother got me on them after she coerced me into watching True Blood when it started on HBO. “It’s about vampires,” she sang, knowing my weakness for the undead since I’d inherited it from her. Being a restaurant worker, I never got a set schedule so I had trouble watching shows when they came out each week. Oh, but she had rented them from the Blockbuster up the road, which somehow makes it seem like ancient history.

After the first season was watched several times and returned, I drove to Borders. Damn. Seriously, though, it was Borders. Now that store is an Ulta. I found a box set of the first six books. After reading every cover, I bought it and devoured them as fast as I could. I spent the next several years anxiously awaiting each subsequent release and buying it in hardback.

If you are a regular reader, or you know me personally, you’ll know about the years of financial hardship I endured while cutting my work hours to take care of my suddenly disabled grandparents. I couldn’t pay all of my bills, let alone buy books, music, movies, or anything else fun. I’m not big on library books because people abuse them and that shit breaks my heart. I’d also rather buy a new book so the author gets their royalties. In my mind, a library is for research, not for reading free fiction. So, despite my mother’s insistence that I just borrow them from the library, I did not get to buy or read the twelfth and thirteenth books when they came out.

But it’s time for ThrillerFest, y’all! And while I missed Charlaine Harris in 2015—my first year of membership to the ITW and my grandparents’ last summer alive—I saw on the “attending authors” page that she’d be there this year. I was excited and had to decide which of her books I’d take to get signed. Then a horrible realization hit me—I hadn’t read a new book of hers in about five years.

Oh, shit.

By this point, I’d recently discovered that my local library loans DIGITAL BOOKS that I can read on my Kindle app. I immediately put her last two books in this series on hold and waited impatiently for it to be my turn. I figured I could forgive my library-fiction rule since I do plan on buying them someday. Perhaps we’ll even attend enough of the same conferences that I’ll be able to get them all signed someday.

So, enough jibber-jabber.

On to the book review!

In "Dead Ever After," the thirteenth and final Sookie Stackhouse book, we see a lot of changes and get to revisit a lot of old friends, as well as a few old enemies. First, is the style change. To the best of my recollection, all of the other books were written exclusively from Sookie’s perspective. Entirely first person, and in a very casual form. It’s very colloquial, charming, and endearing. But in this book, we get a number of perspective shifts where we are witnessing an event from third person, well outside of Sookie’s knowledge, even after the end of the book. She had no way of knowing any of it. I actually liked this change. It gave us what we needed to know, without Sookie knowing, too.

While in the third person sections early in the book, there are no names given to the people, only descriptions. Some were easier to recall than others. Had I reread all of the books before I read the last two, I’m sure I would have known instantly who they were. But, alas, I didn’t really have time for that. I’ve got a lot going on with my book coming out the Saturday before ThrillerFest starts, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to reread eleven books.

Oh, I wish I could list the villains who reappear in this book! But should I? Is it wrong? Is it a spoiler to reveal details of a book that is four years old? I guess, maybe it’s not since if you are reading this, and you’ve read the series, then you’ve probably already read the book. And if you haven’t read any of the books, you won’t know who most of them are since the books and the show COMPLETELY DIVERGED FROM EACH OTHER AND TOOK ON ENTIRELY DIFFERENT STORYLINES!

So, whatever.

******SPOILER ALERT******

The bad guys we see again are Copley Carmichael, Tyrese, Johan Glassport, Steve Newlin, Claude, and Arlene. The good guys we get to see again that aren’t always there are Quinn, Alcide, Barry, Mr. Cataliades, Diantha, Amelia, Bob, and I feel like I’m forgetting someone. But a lot of people are after her, and a lot of people show up to save her.

*******SPOILER OVER******

I loved this book. I enjoyed the shifts in the narrative and the familiar “faces” of much-loved characters from previous books. I loved the shift in the narrative, where we saw so much that we wouldn’t have known any other way. Perhaps I’m partial to this shift in the final book because I’ve intended for quite some time to shift the narrative from first person to third person in the final book in my trilogy. But, as it was in "Dead Ever After," I feel the shift in style is the only proper way to tell the story and get the pertinent information to the reader.

I admire and applaud Charlaine Harris for sticking to her guns and ending the series how she wanted to, instead of how others wanted her to. I look forward to reading her numerous books, written in her charming style, for many years to come.