Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: After Dead - What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse (2013)

This review is about the coda, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, by Charlaine Harris. It marks the end of the bestselling Southern Vampire series.

Dead Ever After marked the end of the Sookie Stackhouse novels—a series that garnered millions of fans and spawned the hit HBO television show True Blood. It also stoked a hunger that will never die…a hunger to know what happened next.

With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens.

This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after…

The book will feature extensive interior art by acclaimed Sookie artist Lisa Desimini, including a Sookieverse Alphabet, color endpapers, and several full-page black and white interior illustrations.

While I appreciate that Harris provided closure in this book for avid fans, it still disappointed me that the series had to end in this matter. I have read this series since my senior year of high school (I am currently a graduate student in a doctoral program!) I have enjoyed the adventures of Sookie with the supernatural in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Since 2001, the Southern Vampire series started with such fanfare and potential, but unfortunately it should have ended around Dead and Gone. Due to extreme popularity and unwise decision, Harris dragged the storyline where Sookie's life became dull and bizarre. When Sookie ended her relationship with vampire master Eric, that's when the series lost its luster and purpose. The faerie saga in the last four novels did not help Harris because it lacked the suspense and action that were prominent in the beginning of the series.

At some point, I wanted Sookie to be simply happy and satisfied with her life. So what happened to Sookie after Dead Ever After? [Major spoilers alert] Sookie and Sam get married. Sookie gives birth to four children: Neal, Jennings, Adele and Jillian Tara being the "bonus baby." Sookie was also visited by Desmond Cataliades each time she gave birth so he could inspect the children to see if any one of them had the "spark." Only Sookie's son Jennings is given the gift of telepathy. All four children grow up with great tolerance towards supernatural creatures. Desmond Cataliades assured Sookie that after the current generation of Stackhouse children, there would be no telepathy anymore in their family. Sookie and Sam continued to tend Merlotte's until they retired.

Despite her supernatural adventures with vampires, wreewolves, faerie, witches, and demons (oh my!), Sookie ends up with a normal life (one she wholeheartedly deserved). You can say that she learned her lesson -- although she isn't a normal human, supernatural politics can cause too much drama and grief! Despite this series' downfall, After Dead provided the needed closure for fans who stayed loyal to this series.

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