Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: Dead in the Family (Southern Vampire #10)

Sookie Stackhouse is dealing with a whole host of family problems, ranging from her own kin (a non-human fairy and a telepathic second cousin) demanding a place in her life, to her lover Eric's vampire sire, an ancient being who arrives with Eric's 'brother' in tow at a most inopportune moment. And Sookie's tracking down a distant relation of her ailing neighbour (and ex), Vampire Bill Compton. In addition to the multitude of family issues complicating her life, the werewolf pack of Shreveport has asked Sookie for a special favour, and since Sookie is an obliging young woman, she agrees. But this favour for the wolves has dire results for Sookie, who is still recovering from the trauma of her abduction during the Fairy War.

Dead in the Family, the tenth novel in the Southern Vampire series, takes place in contemporary Bon Temps, Lousiana. Her former roommate, Amelia, returns to New Orleans; her fairy cousin, Claude, moves in with her after the death of his sister, Claudette. After the Fairy War in the previous novel, Bill, Sookie's ex-vampire boyfriend, is recovering slowly from silver poisoning. Sookie takes it upon herself to find a missing kin to cure him. Alcide, leader of the local werewolves, asks Sookie for a favor to use her land for hunting. She discovers there are several dead bodies on her land, and someone not human has been trespassing in the woods.

Meanwhile, both Sookie and Eric confessed their love for each other and begin to take their relationship seriously. Before they can enjoy their time together, his maker, Appius Livius Ocella, appears with his new child/playmate, Alexei. His presence puts a strain on their relationship because Eric must heed to his maker's bidding. Then, Sookie develops ambivalent feelings for Eric once this new person and other important tasks enter her life. She still has not recovered fully from the Fairy War. Who is the dead body in her backyard? Why is the mystery person targeting her specifically? Sookie better watch her back carefully, because the deeper she dwells into the supernatural world, the harder it is to step back into the human world.

Before I begin my review, I was very excited to read this tenth addition in the Southern Vampire series. I love the character, Sookie Stackhouse, and her supernatural reality. I am also a huge fan of the True Blood series on HBO. When I heard that this book was officially released last month, I could not wait to continue reading more about Sookie's amazing journeys. The last novel impressed me with awe-inspiring suspense. If you a new visitor, please browse my previous reviews on this series under the "harris" label.

However, this book disappointed me. I wanted to enjoy it like the previous novels, but the storyline did not flow well. Some parts of the plot felt haphazardly written. Characters that I thought would receive more attention (e.g., her nephew) were only mentioned in two chapters and never heard from again. The appearance of a famous historical figure also felt strange because it happened so abruptly and I never felt as though I understood the character's background. Lastly, there were so many subplots in this novel that I wonder how does Sookie manage to live her own life!

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this novel. I thought it could have been written better with fewer characters and side stories. The new characters did not amaze me; their portrayal was short-lived. The entire plot became difficult later for me to follow on several occasions. I also lacked the compulsion to continue reading. Harris disappointed me in a major way with this story.

Stay tuned for the eleventh book in the Southern Vampire series, Dead Reckoning

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