Dead and Gone

Dead and Gone is quite a testament as to how entranced I am by this series of novels. I was quite content while reading it to accept whatever Charlaine Harris tossed in, and it wasn't until after I set it down that I realized this one wasn't quite up to par. Granted, there were a few points along the way where I arched an eyebrow at some choices, but I had to sit and muse on it before I recalled a few continuity errors and questioned not just choices, but judgment.
Of course, if you're a fan of the series, I think you'll be entertained. The world is about to be rocked with the information that vampires are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the supernatural world. Weres and shifters are next, adopting the tactics of the vampires by broadcasting their revelation on television, with local representatives to break the news. And while most people seem to take this okay (though Arlene unsurprisingly freaks out), a few incidents do occur. Sam's mother is shot by his step-father (though she survives), but it's a few days later when what looks like a truly terrible hate crime is committed -- Jason's estranged and pregnant werepanther wife is found crucified outside of Sam's bar. If you're getting faint with that one, then beware -- this is perhaps the bloodiest book to date in the series, because the fae are at war, too, and Sookie is a prime mortal target for enemies of her great-grandfather. Of course, there is some progress in the romance area -- if Eric tricking Sookie into "marrying" him can be called progress. He does it with good reason, though... the act binds her to him so no other vampires (say, the new establishment that's taken over Louisiana) can simply stake a claim and take her off. Which is what the FBI might have an idea to do, too, as they show up on Sookie's doorstep with questions about how she found survivors after the vampire summit explosion.
The plot moves quite quickly along, but honestly, I think we rushed into the whole fairy plotline. It seems that Harris herself is trying to pull the plug on things there, too, but I can't tell if that's her way of wrapping up a story in the plotline or the whole series. Anyone know how many books we're planning on having here? As many as we can justify Sookie waffling between Bill and Eric? Because aside from a brief cameo, Quinn's bowed out of the running, even if his dismissal wasn't quite substantial enough as one might like. Of course, don't get me wrong. I find the vampires more interesting myself, though a happily ever after will hardly come from that direction, particularly as Harris has asserted that Sookie herself will never become a vampire. Eric's the main beau in this book, though you can tell that things certainly aren't tied with a pretty ribbon, no matter how good the sex might be. Sookie skirts some relationship discussions and Eric might not be passing muster in terms of protecting the woman he's worked so hard to have pledged to him. (Though really, if Sookie was in such a strong place with the vampire and the were community, she would have been a bit better protective and no one needs to go to the post office that much.) Eric's a strong character in the beginning of the book, but there are parts where I'm worried he's morphed a little into what romance readers might want him to be -- for instance, him spilling his life story to Sookie while they sit in Fangtasia when earlier in the series, it was cited that he couldn't remember much. It makes him seem human and vulnerable. Tricking Sookie into the pledge and sending sexy cards, that I can see -- but the admission that he discovered the spell that sent him amnesiatic and reeling to Sookie was a curse that he would be close to his heart's desire without ever realizing it... well, we'll see how this goes. I'm not counting Bill out of the running just yet (and neither is the cover illustrator, for that matter, as Bill still has his place asserted there).
I also wasn't thrilled with the way that every single darn still-living character that we've come across seems to pop up in this book for just a brief moment. Things weren't terribly streamlined here, but then, if you're on top of things (for instance, say you had finished reading the other eight books in the immediately preceding seven days), then it's not like you'd forget who anyone was. It does mean, however, that the main supporting cast is not really given enough space. Then again, I can't get enough Pam (I know she's supposed to be blonde, but in my head, she's Joan Holloway/Christina Hendricks from Mad Men) and I'm ready for Sam to make a real bid for Sookie beyond his quick kisses.
And now that I've gotten through all of the books, what am I supposed to do while I wait for the next installment? I've already hunted down all of the short stories that Harris has written that feature Sookie. Sigh. Well, I suppose that's just as indicative of how I've been won over by Sookie Stackhouse. I'll forgive a few inconsistencies in the long run, but let's hope Harris's proofreaders do a better job on the next one. It's too fun a series to suffer at the hands of such annoying details, but those can certainly cut into one's enjoyment.
And now, I shall sit and twiddle my thumbs, reading books that have nothing to do with werewolf politics, fairy torture, or fangbangers. Sigh.

No comments: