This latest addition to the Sookie Stackhouse series was a bit disappointing for me. It seems as if the books have become conflated with the HBO series, to the detriment of the books.
Sookie is now “lovers” with the Viking vampire Eric, but is still involved in some ways with Bill (her original vampire lover), as well as with Alcide the werewolf and Sam the shifter. She also has some faeries taking a large interest in her welfare, possibly because she found a secret faery magical object among her late grandmother’s effects. Called the “cluviel door,” it will grant one powerful wish on behalf of someone loved by its owner. It is believed that this is the only cluviel door left in existence.
As if all that weren’t enough, there are yet more complications in Sookie’s life: Sam’s girlfriend Jannalynn seems to have it in for Sookie; the powerful Vampire King of Nevada, Arkansas, and Louisiana is in town; and Freyda, the beautiful Vampire Queen of Oklahoma, is determined to take Eric away from her. Sookie, who turns 28 by the end of book, as usual can barely keep track of all the faeries, vampires, werewolves, and dead bodies that seem to accumulate around her.
Evaluation: I miss the innocence of the earlier books, as well as their relative lack of complexity. The strip-bar scene that opened the book was a big turnoff for me, and the profusion of characters with their panoply of paranormal attributes is getting to be way too much. And the whole “cluvial door” bit? [Sounds like some kind of euphemism, doesn't it?!!!] That was over the top even in a book full of “over the top.” And yet, I can’t not find out what happens next to Sookie. After all, we’ve been keeping company for a couple of years now, and I feel like I am old friends with her and all the other denizens of Bon Temps, Louisiana.
Published by The Berkley Publishing Group, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 2012