I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Dead Ever After is a hardcover edition on May 7, 2013 and has 338 pages.
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Thirteenth and the last full novel in the Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series revolving around Sookie, a telepath and waitress in a bar in Louisiana. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice for Paranormal Fantasy in 2013.
Actually, it’s not quite last…After Dead, 13.5, is coming out the end of October 2013. And once you read Dead Ever After, you’ll realize that “If I Had a Hammer“, noted as 11.1, is more realistically 13.25.
I hesitated to read this story if only because of the diatribes I’d been reading from others, furious at how Harris had ended the series. And it terrified me. My imagination went wild assuming all sorts of horrific scenarios.
I have no idea why these people went so nuts. I think Harris ended this beautifully, perfectly.
It does have some odd stylistic inclusions that I haven’t experienced in this series before. Namely, the start with the unnamed characters that seem to have nothing to do with Sookie until we read further in, only to discover it’s all to do with Sookie. All a part of the tidy-up. For that’s exactly what Harris is doing. Allowing the major secondary characters to say goodbye, to tell us what’s happening in their lives. Clearing up the bad guys and smoothing the way for Sookie’s future.
Think of it as a curtain call with one of the biggest when so many of Sookie’s friends and supporters show up at Sookie’s bond hearing in front of Judge Rosoff. Smaller “bows” come from Aclide and Quinn, Mr. Cataliades and Diantha, Pam is stepping into new shoes, Eric and company’s actions which reassure Sookie as to her future choices, and even Sookie’s coworkers at the bar help settle the future into an easy peace.
It was irritating that Harris kept emphasizing Sam’s standoffishness in the first part. Sure, his reasons were good. It’s gotta be pretty traumatic. But I think the drama would have been better if Sam had come clean to Sookie and then withdrew again.
I’m kinda missing the connection between Sookie’s suddenly excessively blooming and fruiting yard with Niall’s leaving and closing the door between Faery and our world. Didn’t he leave and close things up a few books ago? And only now her yard is going nuts?
I’m a little irritated with Sookie in her pushing and pushing at Eric about where she stands with him. No, I do understand her wanting to know, and if she were dealing with another human, I’d be pushing right alongside her. But Sookie knows how unbalanced things are right now with Felipe taking over and wanting to do anything to hurt Eric. Including hurting Sookie. So, why is she pushing so hard?
Minor irritations. I am impressed with how content I feel about the end of this series. No, I don’t like it ending, but I suspect Harris is ready to move on, just as Sookie is ready for her next move.
Sam is lost in the truth of having died. Eric is digging his own grave, metaphorically, yet he does truly love Sookie in his own very pragmatic way. And people from Sookie’s past are out for revenge.
Sookie Stackhouseis a telepath and has been excluded from society for it for most of her life. It was only with vampires that she could finally experience something approaching normal. Niall is her fairy great-grandfather. Jason is her happy-go-lucky brother who’s also a shifter; he’s getting married to Michele. Claude is her fairy cousin who attempted a coup against Niall. And lost. Hunter is Sookie’s very young nephew, Hadley‘s telepathic son who lives with his father, Remy Savoy. Tara is her best friend and married to JB; they have twins. They’ve just hired Quiana Wong as a babysitter.
Technically, she’s married, vampire-style, to Eric Northman, the Sheriff of Area Five. The same Eric who is furious with her choice in Deadlocked, 12. Pam is Eric’s child and second-in-command. Headquarters is Fangtasia. Karin the Slaughterer is another of Eric’s children. She’ll do anything to protect Eric. Mustapha Khan is a Were and Eric’s daytime guy; Warren is his sharpshooting boyfriend.
Sam Merlotte owns the bar, well, Sookie is a part owner now, where Sookie waits tables. He’s also a shifter able to turn into any animal. They’ve been friends for years. Bernadette Merlotte is Sam’s mom, and she shows up to help.
Merlotte’s bar staff and customers
Kennedy Keyes, the bartender, is with Danny Prideaux (he’s Bill’s daytime guy and works at a builder’s supply), and they’re saving up for a house. Antoine is still the cook, and India Unger is one of the barmaids. Holly Cleary is getting married to Hoyt Fortenberry, Jason’s best friend. Andrea “An” Norr is a new hire; she talks a lot, but she’s a hard worker. Jane Clementine Bodehouse is a lush who props up a barstool at Merlotte’s most nights. She’s suing. Marvin is her long-suffering son. Terry Bellefleur is a Vietnam vet who has had a hard time readjusting to civilian life; he works a variety of odd jobs including clean-up at Merlotte’s. He met Jimmie over a mutual love of Catahoula dogs.
Arlene Fowler, who used to be one of Merlotte’s barmaids, is in jail, being held on bail pending her trial in her collusion with the hatemongers who wanted to crucify Sookie. She had been close friends with Sookie and had her babysit her kids, Lisa and Coby, who still want to know why Aunt Sookie hasn’t come to see them. The kids are staying with Aunt Chessie while mom’s in jail.
Alcide Herveaux is the alpha for the werewolf pack in Shreveport; he’s seeing Kandace. John Quinn, an events planner, is a weretiger Sookie once dated. Seems his mate, Tijgerin, is doing well in her pregnancy. His sister, Frannie, is doing well also.
Bill Compton is Sookie’s vampire neighbor and friend across the cemetery. Felipe de Castro is the vampire King of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Nevada. Angie is his girlfriend, and Horst is his second-in-command. Freyda is the vampire Queen of Oklahoma with whom Eric’s maker, Appius Livius Ocella, signed a betrothal contract.
Desmond Cataliades is a demon lawyer in New Orleans and Sookie’s godfather. Diantha is his niece and part fast-talkin’ demon. Amelia Broadway, a witch, is a not-quite-so welcome friend of Sookie’s; she’s got a big mouth and a bad tendency to overshare. She’s still with Bob, another witch. Barry Bellboy, a.k.a., Barry Horowitz, the telepath from Texas (see Living Dead in Dallas, 2). Delphine Oubre is a touch psychic. I don’t understand why no one can tell her their names??
The Bon Temps Police Department
Detective Andy Bellefleur is Terry’s cousin, and he’s married to the pregnant Halleigh who is loyal to Sookie. Detective Alcee Beck has a real hard-on to arrest Sookie; Barbara is his wife and the Bon Temps librarian who’s terrified. Kevin is behaving like a jerk, Kenya, and Jessie Schneider are fellow cops.
Copley Carmichael is Amelia’s father; he’s in the construction business intending to get rich off the reconstruction of New Orleans after Katrina. Tyrese is a bodyguard who doesn’t believe in souls and doesn’t think with his head. Gypsy Kidd, a.k.a., Katy Sherboni, is Tyrese’s target. Harp Powell is writing a book about Kym Rowe’s life. Good luck making it interesting. Beth Osiecki and Jarrell Hilburn are law partners who have done work for Sookie in the past.
A devil doing business, collecting souls, paying back debts. The Reverend Steve Newlin is aching for revenge (Living Dead in Dallas). Johan Glassport is the ultimate in the worst of lawyers (we first encountered him in All Together Dead, 7).
The Cover and Title
The cover is consistent with previous stories with its cartoonish bit of fantasy and is a summary of both this story as well as a fond farewell with the overly blooming garden surrounding the sparkly, fairy-ish Sookie as she heads off into the sunset in her cowboy boots and flirty skirt, looking over her shoulder to say goodbye. Others are popping in to say goodbye as well: the bats flying off, a happy collie, a curl of a tiger’s tail, and a smiling wolf.
I suspect the title is both Harris’ and the series’ epitaph, Dead Ever After.