The Southern Vampire Mystery Series Charlaine Harris
Sookie is back in Bon Temps; slowly coming to terms with the terrible events of the last book. She would like to be getting close and cuddly with Quinn, but he disappeared off the map a few weeks earlier. Amelia (the most annoying witch that has ever been created in the whole entire world of fiction) is still unfortunately living…with Sookie and Bob the cat. She is also sort of dating Pam which leads to all sorts of wonderful possibilities that Pam would kill her in a violent, painful and gruesome fashion. Alas, these come to nowt. While visiting; Amelia’s far-less-annoying-and-possibly-evil father informs Sookie that she is an aunt. Instead of pining for Quinn, she resolves to get in touch with Hadley’s ex-husband, Remy and her child.
Rather unexpectedly; Sookie is asked to step in as a bridesmaid for Andy Bellefleur’s wedding after an unexpected illness. She would fit the dress, but wasn’t close enough to either to warrant an actual invitation. No matter how close to the supernatural world she becomes, it seems that her abilities will always make her an outsider in Bon Temps.
Eric arranges to take her out; then dumps her with a stranger at a posh restaurant. Turns out he’s Sookie’s great-grandfather, Niall! After longing for children for many years; her beloved grandmother Adele had an affair with a half fairy, resulting in who children (one who fathered Sookie; the other who brought Hadley into the world). Though her grandfather is dead, his full blood fairy father isn’t. Niall is the person responsible for sending Claudine (who turns out to a cousin) to keep Sookie safe. Though he claims to love her and want a relationship; it’s worth noting that he has NO INTEREST whatsoever in Jason. Hmmm, power will out huh?
Sookie is dragged into yet another Shreveport werewolf conflict after several of the female pack members are killed. After Katrina; turns out that it wasn’t just vampires displaced with no where to go. Homeless weres have turned their sights to Shreveport due to the conflicted pack – killing weaker but valuable members to set Alcide against Packmaster Furnan and vice versa, hoping they would wipe each other out before realising the external source. Amelia does another ectoplasmic reconstruction but it doesn’t actual reveal anything of interest. (Given that every time she appears someone makes reference to her being a wonderful witch; she rarely ever does anything useful. Grumble mumble) It’s Sookie who uses her abilities to identify one of the culprits. After a brief and brutal war with the invaders; Alcide emerges as the new pack leader. All hail the king…and all that.
Eric is having a strange effect on Sookie. Through their blood bond, she now feels his emotions, vaguely knows his location and craves him – feeling happiest when he is near her. This is driving her crazy. She’s convinced that it’s only the blood making her react thus, though is aware that she still has feelings for him from when he stayed with her as an amnesiac in book 4.
With Queen Sophie-Anne at her weakest, the King of Nevada (Felipe de Castro) begins a bloody campaign to take control of Louisiana and Arkansas. Sophie-Anne is killed, along with all her sheriffs and many of her vampiric children and supporters. Except for Eric, naturally.
Aside from being one of the primary characters in the series; he is responsible for the largest track of land in Sophie Anne’s kingdom, is older than most, has forged good working relationships with the local supernatural’s, is blood bonded to a telepath and has proven to negotiate the modern world efficiently.
Eric had left Fangtasia to see to Sookie’s safety – so was well out of the way when the fighting began there. Pam continues to demonstrate her role as the second-in-command every vampire would want – protecting all inside Fangtasia and taking out as many of the invading King’s men as possible. Arriving at Sookie’s house, Felipe’s first in command (Victor) offers Eric (and Bill who showed up to assist Sookie should she need it) the option of surrender. Eric will retain his area, sheriff status and all ‘beneath’ him will be allowed to live – including Sookie. Eric considers for a moment then sensibly decides not to continue demonstrating loyalty to a deceased monarch and accepts the terms presented. He takes Sookie into her bedroom once he knows that they are definitely safe and takes a moment to adjust to his new status. There, the memories of their time together come flooding back. He can’t believe how contented he had been with Sookie.
With the King, to Sookie’s surprise, is Quinn. His mother many years before had been brutally raped and as a result lost some of her faculties. As a were-tiger she is particularly dangerous when in an unstable state. A few months earlier she had escaped from her (were-aware) care home. In order to find and rescue her, Quinn had become the prisoner of the King. Sookie totally understands that his family will always come first for him – as it should – and gently breaks off their relationship.
Onto the ‘b’ strand – Jason and Crystal had married a few books ago after discovering that she was pregnant. As her brother’s representative, Jason chooses that Sookie should be the one to deliver punishment when it is found that the pregnant were-panther had been unfaithful. She is forced to break the claw (hand in human form) of her friend Calvin Harris. Disgusted with Crystal, the whole Hotshot community but most especially with Jason, Sookie realises that she needs to break ties with him for a bit.
As for the ‘z’ story. Amelia turns Bob back into a person with the help of her mentor, Octavia. He’s pretty pissed at her. Octavia could have done it sooner but wanted to continue to hang out with Sookie and Amelia. As punishment for her deception, Amelia invites Octavia to live with them. Sookie feels totally manipulated but Amelia doesn’t have the attention span or ability to stop gazing at her own navel for long enough to notice or care.
At work, Sam stages an intervention with Eric, hoping to restore Sookie to her usual sunny disposition – absent since Jason used her so callously. Eric – still not sure where he stands with her – only seems to wind her up further. Then King Felipe shows up and Sookie is delighted to escape the pair of them. Her connection with Eric kicks in as she drives away, resulting in waves of panic she realises are coming from Eric so reluctantly she returns to Merlottes. Almost by accident, Sookie saves Eric and the King from one of Sophie Anne’s most devoted and murderous offspring. The King expresses eloquently that he now owes her one.
Niall – determined to prove his usefulness to Sookie has tracked down Hadley’s ex. She visits, hoping to extend her small family circle and realises that she is not the only member of her family to possess telepathy. She promises Remy that she will be there for her young nephew Hunter, happily chatting to her mentally.
Parts of this book were really well done. The whole insider/outsider was quite well explored. Sookie is welcomed with nearly open arms to all those communities that aren’t actually her own. Her presence in Bon Temp is no longer as strained as in earlier books, but she isn’t seen as one of ‘them’ either. Meanwhile, her interactions with those communities in Hotshot and Shreveport are making her more and more aware that she doesn’t ‘belong’ there either.
I’m glad that Quinn is out of the picture though I literally winced when his mother and sister showed up to ask her why she’d broken up with him. Ouch. I’m also pleased that Eric and Sookie have decided to give their whole thing a proper shot (collective well D’oh woman!). Bill on the other hand – showing up to announce that he loves her and dumped the girlfriend he’s been rubbing her nose in. Grr. Just annoys.
But nothing is as bad as Amelia. WHY IS SHE HERE!!!! Please let her get lost in the next book. Please!!