Rating (out of 5): 5 stars
Note: Spoilers lie ahead. Normally, we avoid them like the plague, but it’s just too much fun to talk the finer points of this one. However, we have flagged the big “damn, why’d you tell me” moments, if you want to brave it.
I’ve always named Dead to the World as my favorite of the Sookie Stackhouse (née Southern Vampire Mysteries) books. (My two other favorites are series opener Dead Until Dark for its world-building and All Together Dead for generally WTF awesomeness.) This is for a few reasons, but there are two particular reasons.
First, Dead to the World is a game-changer. Events in this book forever change characters — Sookie, in particular. There’s no going back after the events of DTTW, and I liked being taken there. By the fourth book both the readers and Sookie are immersed in the supernatural world. We’ve accepted the good and the bad. We know vampires are political and self-serving, but sure know how to protect what they deem theirs. We begin to understand werewolf and shifter pack dynamics. And Sookie, while not a part of these groups, is still a part of their world. That revelation means she needs to play by their rules, and we begin to see her transition into the Sookie who went through hell in Dead and Gone.
It’s also when we meet the witches. Magic begins to flow through the series and opens the gates for new help and friends for Sookie. Before our Bon Temps waitress had a toe in the water, with Dead to the World Sookie really wades into the supernatural world.
The other reason Dead to the World tops my favorite Sookie books, and it’s shameless (and a spoiler, so cover your eyes or whatever) but that shower scene. Hell. I’m going all spoilery here, because it’s a re-read review. So, again, I warn you, continue with caution. Bill was always kind of a dick, but was devoted. Every time Eric hit the pages, I kept thinking “I wonder how that would do down.” And we got it. Now, usually I don’t go into the detail about sex scenes in novels, but I have a vital point to make, so do go with me here. I know a good number of you are joining me in re-reading Dead to the World prior to the premiere of True Blood’s season 4 and as part of our monthly group read. And, I know many of you have said how you hope they get the aforementioned shower scene right in the TV show.
But, you know what? We all remember that scene far dirtier than it was. It was hot, don’t get me wrong. Soapy, amnesiac, Viking goodness. Then fangy femoral artery hotness later. Very good. But in talking with several people, we (myself included) injected a lot more detail in to that scene. (Kind of like how everyone remembers Eric running down the road in the book’s opening either naked or in red briefs. (He’s wearing jeans, ladies. I wanted to remember him in those bright red undies, too, but our Viking vampire can work jeans, too.)
Short version: Dead to the World opens the supernatural floodgates, lets us into the altered mind of Area 5’s sheriff and might curl your toes a time or two.
Sexual content: Um, see above? I mean, yes.