Review of DEAD AND GONE by Charlaine Harris (see her website)
SOOKIE STACKHOUSE #9
Ace, May 2009
Vampires came out years ago, but now it's time for the shapeshifters. Across America, around the world, they drop their human identities and let the world see that ordinary humans are not alone. The reaction is not unexpected. Many are accepting. Others panic. Some turn to violence. When Sookie Stackhouse's pregnant shifter-sister-in-law turns up dead and crucified, the evidence points to some of the radicals who believe only fully-human people deserve to live. And one of Sookie's formerly close friends is part of this community. Meanwhile, Sookie continues her relationship with Eric, continues to watch Bill pin for her, and discovers that a war has broken out among the fairies, with her grandfather leading one side and her uncle the other. Considering the war is about how to deal with humans, Sookie is definitely involved.
There is a lot going on in DEAD AND GONE but to me, this story lacks some of the charm of the earlier books in the series. Sookie's mind-reading talent is pretty downplayed, the whole FBI angle gets lost somewhere in the wash, solving the mystery of the sister-in-law doesn't really provide much of a sense of accomplishment, and ultimately the fairy war seems as much a loss to the victors as to the defeated.
Author Charlaine Harris (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Harris) kept me involved in the story, kept me turning pages waiting to see what would happen next. Overall, though, I wished for a lighter tone. Sure things are bleak, but do they have to be when we read fantasy? I would also have liked to see Sookie more involved in driving the story forward rather than being a passive player as she was for much of the second half of the novel.
DEAD AND GONE is not as bad a book as some reviewers would have it. I didn't think, though, that it was really up to the standards of the early books in the series.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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