Dead in the Family
Grade : B+

I have been reading the Southern Vampire series for many years now. These aren't books I rubber stamp; while the first few were solid As for me, as the books have gotten more complex my enjoyment has become less enthusiastic. The tangle of personal relationships Sookie is in often slows down the action. That has been true of the last several books and this one was certainly no exception. Still, the charm of these books, extensive world building, and excellent writing continue to make them solid reads.

When last we left Sookie she was in bad shape. She survived the Faery war but only at great cost physically and emotionally. While she knows the physical wounds will heal - in a long, painful while - she is nowhere near as confident about the mental and emotional ones. The number of people who have died, not just in the war but throughout her time with the paranormals, has begun to have an effect on her. This is a theme throughout the book and one which Sookie struggles with right from the beginning. She seems to be losing some of herself in her battle to survive, and she's not sure how she feels about that.

In some other ways her life is very, very fine. Her bond with Eric is still firmly in place and their relationship is chugging along nicely. Or as nicely as it can, given her mental state and his job. Because vampire politics are so very, very complicated both Sookie and Eric are feeling the strain of him having a new boss. Just what Sookie needs to speed up the healing process.

At least she has her family. This book sees a more mature Jason, an improved relationship with her cousin Claude, and a member of her family who was once estranged (in more ways than one) coming into a relationship with all of them - even if that relationship may or may not be for the best. Even though the Weres are going through a hard time due to some government issues caused by the events of the last book, they too continue to solidify their friendship with Sookie and continue to play a large part in her life. Sam especially turns out to be as faithful as you would expect man's best friend to be.

But there are people gathering around Sookie and her friends that will make it very, very hard for them to find peace - or even safety. There is someone dangerously angry with Sookie for what happened in the last war and he's spending a lot of time in her backyard. And someone from Eric's past collides with his present, putting both him and Sookie in great danger.

Wow! I feel like I ambiguously said a lot and yet there were many, many things I didn't even give you a hint of. That is one of the both positive and negative aspects of this series - you definitely get your money's worth of story but your brain nearly implodes from taking it all in! It is also part of what kept this from being an A read for me. Not only did it slow down my reading process as my mind made the mental jump to associate characters with previous books/events but Harris has to give lots of information dumps. I appreciated them, but there was no way she could time them that didn't interfere with the action, which slowed things down a bit.

We do see some changes here with Sookie. She was a bit more down in this book and perhaps a little less pleased with her life than usual. She seemed to be coming to terms with a darker side of herself she hadn't been aware of, with resolution if not joy. And she contemplated something she had never really given much thought to before.

For fans of this series this is a wonderful addition to the ongoing story being told. You'll visit old friends, learn things that will surprise you, get greater depth to people you have come to love, and witness the usual kick-butt action. If you are just starting the series don't even look at this one. Seriously. Ignore that gorgeous cover and get Dead Until Dark . This is a great series, but it must be read in order. You will miss things, and you will be lost if you don't. And that would be a shame. Because this is a series well worth getting to know.

Reviewed by Maggie Boyd
Grade : B+
Book Type: Urban Fantasy

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : April 28, 2010

Publication Date: 2010/05

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Maggie Boyd

I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.
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