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Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13)

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Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris // VBC ReviewDead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13)
Charlaine Harris

Published: May 7, 2013 (Ace)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

Reviewed by: Chelsea

Rating (out of 5): 2.5 stars

If I could use only one word to describe this final volume in the Sookie Stackhouse series, it would be meh.

After the ruckus online about the ending of Charlaine Harris’ popular series, I was sure I’d finish this book either impressed or angry. Neither happened. As a matter of fact, Dead Ever After didn’t engage with me until the last third. It’s not that the writing was bad or the characters lacking, the plot was simply stagnant until that point. There is a lot of Sookie stewing in her own issues on this one. Particularly in the first half we have her waiting for others to take action and irritated that they aren’t, but she’s not being proactive either. I understand Sookie has always been stubborn, but I never found her one to sulk.

The novel brings in characters we haven’t seen in some time purely for the purposes of being like, “Hey! You liked this character! Here he or she is for a page or two with no real plot purpose!” I get what the goal here was—it was meant to be a treat for long-time readers of the series. A delight to see past characters still alive and doing well (or really not well). However, it felt like page filler and general distraction for me.

That said, I didn’t mind the direction that Harris took with the plot and her general idea of how to resolve this series. If you’ve ever heard Harris speak, she’s known how this was going to end for ages and she’s hinted pretty strongly about who Sook would end up with. The ending didn’t surprise me on the romantic front, and it didn’t upset or please me, really. Just was. However, it was rushed and there were some blaring issues for me regarding the end. They’re worth citing here, but as it’ll be spoiler mania, I’m writing them in hidden text. Highlight the block below if you want to read it.

Eric’s vampire children make it clear that he is pragmatic. Sookie understands this. They say the only reason he’s protecting her is as a show of strength; to prove you can’t mess with things that were his. Now, here’s my issue. Let’s say that’s true. That Eric really did just ditch his feelings for Sookie (which I don’t completely buy, but I accept the vampire logic here). He had Sam make a vow to not ‘court’ Sookie. He had this promise made in front of his future wife and super powerful vampire queen. Would Eric really allow him to break that promise without consequences? It would make him look weak. As cruel as it is, I expected him to come and kill Sam for bedding Sookie. That would be an ending to get up in arms over. Sookie falling for Sam? Predicted that.

Done with spoilers! Overall, I’m still glad I read Dead Ever After, but it didn’t provide me the kind of series closure I had hoped for. I didn’t need a saccharine ending, but I wish it had been a more surprising journey. Despite my misgivings, this one is still a must for Sookie fans. You need to know how it ends, if only so you can say you wish it had been handled differently.

Sexual content: Fade-to-black sex scene

18 Responses to “Review: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #13)”

  1. Angela says:

    I agree with you, also the highlighted spoilery text. :-)

    My major complaint about this book is Sookie. I thought she felt more like TV Sookie and I can’t remember Sookie ever cussing that much before (f-bombs)?! Usually Sookie was deeply involved in saving the day, in this book everyone else seems to be doing it for her.

  2. After I DNF the last book after only 2 chapters, I knew I had no desire to read this one. And after reading your review (spoiler included) I’m glad I won’t be wasting my time. It’s since I really loved the series once but I feel like the series should have ended a couple of books ago.

  3. asfandancer says:

    Although I read books 11 and 12, as far as I am concerned the series ended with book 10. I won’t be venturing on to book 13.

  4. SharonS says:

    Meh, was the same feeling I had… it is like she gave up on the story. So many things were left hanging and I know there is going to be a follow up, but this was the LAST book in the series and it should have ended in with a bang. I have been avoiding writing my review because I was so disappointed.

  5. Sharon Sayegh (aka wiggiemomsi) says:

    I read the book, and had an unsettled feeling, like something was missing–something major. Now I know what it was; a coherent story! Just read some of the very, very well-written critiques at amazon.com; real eye-openers! By the way, I also cancelled my pre-ordered ebook, ‘After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse.’ One dud was enough, especially at the high prices for both!

  6. Kat says:

    I agree to a point with all of you. The book was not well done. Harris is not ever going to win awards for her writing,but this was bad even for her. The plot was lacking, there were glaring attitude reversals & continuity errors, and yes the fbomb! Sookie wasn’t the only one acting “out of character” My issue is not so much what she did with the HEA but how she went about it. She took 11 books to build the current relationship. It was a central character in many of them, especially the last 7. I feel cheated by how she handles it here. Wow it’s really hard to express this and not spoiler something! It seems to me that all the growth and experience Sookie gains in the 12 previous books are thrown out and we end where we started.

    There are those of us who don’t hang on an author’s every word. I’ve never read any of Harris’s interviews etc. If you take her on the books alone, Sookie’s HEA is not the obvious choice. Not until book 12 anyway. Anybody who still thought it was anything else after that was in denial. A case could be made for anyone other than a vamp based on the supposed clues & hints. (Sunbathing & babies being the big 2) And really, she could have had those with a vamp too. Adoption like other infertile couples???

  7. AnnaM says:

    This review is spot on for me. The pages and pages of her waiting around at her house for someone else to do something and all the character reappearances were boring. For half a page or so I loved how we got to see that Sookie has really built a community that supports her… and then we dragged in cameo after cameo of people supporting her but doing little to nothing for the plot (or to wrap up any hanging storylines centered on them *coughQuinncough*).

    The mystery plot was strange because even with the other POVs I don’t think we got enough clues to solve that final who-masterminded-it, which is the real fun of a mystery. The twist felt tacked on via awkward retcon. Really, for a final book you need a good villain; I thought for sure Sookie would be facing down someone who has been building as an antagonist for several books. It’s not like there weren’t plenty of options.

    The real question for me is if I will buy “After Dead.” I have almost every other Sookie-verse story, mostly in the anthologies they were first printed in. I have sunk a real chunk of change into this series, and after this ho-hum finale, I don’t know if I want that final piece. What if it doesn’t give me the resolution this lacked and I’m stuck feeling sad and confused all over again? Guess it will depend on the reviews.

    LE SPOILERS BELOW.

    Part of why I think so many fans are shocked by the final pairing is because much of the build up happened in the short stories, which not everyone reads. You’d think with the whole “One Word Answer” mess… but there you have it. I knew with “Small Town Wedding” and “If I Had a Hammer” that Sam was probably going to be it.

    Eric’s ending… that shocked me. It was so abrupt and sad and angry. And Sookie’s fear for her immortal soul if she became a vampire? Ouch. Really, she thinks so many of her friends might be literally damned beyond redemption and this has never come up before? Of course the magic mechanics later suggest vamps do have souls, but yikes. Oddly it was the one thing that resolved something for me; Sookie and I could not be friends.

  8. melliane says:

    I am anxious to read this one. I’ll to have the whole series but well I don’t know. I was disappointed by book 12, I afraid it will be the same…

  9. Krissy says:

    Great review. I’m still trying to get through this series. I have read up to From Dead to Worse. I loved the earlier books. From what I hear, the last few books are pretty meh, but I’m going to keep going so I can finish the series but I’m not expecting to love it honestly.

    WARNING SPOILER:

    As far as who Sookie ends up with, I thought this was going to happen. I did not think she was going to end up with either Eric or Bill. Even though I have been a Bill fan since the beginning, I really didn’t care who she has a relationship with. I just wanted to read a good story and the fact that these books are not even considered a romance, they are Mystery/Sci Fi Fantasy, I was not banking my reading experience on who her boyfriend is. So hopefully, I will stay interested and finish the series, but based on the reviews I have been reading, I suspect I will get bored before I finish.

  10. Melissa says:

    I just got done reading it and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. But in the same breath, it wasn’t the most horrible thing to read… It was quite jumpy (all of a sudden someone random just shows up) but I think the worst part was, it was almost as if you could feel she had just completely given up. It was like by the time you got to the end you could almost picture her handing her publisher the manuscript with her hands in the air saying “I’m done and I don’t care anymore!” It felt rushed and pretty disconnected. I just wish it had ended with better spirit in a sense.

  11. Yeh, I agree, i read it throug nonstop. I belive it was time to lay sooki to rest. But she som how lost her chananingan, spitfire. There could be so much more though i agree to the ending. Sooki for me is a spitfire it is as if she sulked the entire book till the end. The love sceen….compared to the sisseling we have seen before came back lacking in my oppinion. Lacking in plot…I did not se it coming and why
    But over all it is don and over and I would not want to be without the experience of all thees caracters. A big thank you Charline for all the years spent on creating the caracters and giving joy

  12. Cerise Wilson says:

    I got into the series about a month ago and have read them straight through. “Meh” is the best thing I can say about the final book also. So disappointed.

  13. Kelly says:

    I have loved the Sookie Stackhouse series but they have gone down hill slightly since book 9 i feel but wanted to see through to the end.

    last book was a bit of an anticlimax but happy she ended up with who she did, should have gone that way long before now, even though I love Eric.

  14. Rita says:

    very glad I got this as a free audible cause I would have been very unhappy putting my straining eye site through the entire book. It felt repetitive and I was kinda of glad when I got to the end not because the ending it self but because it was done.

  15. Princesszofia says:

    ***spoiler***
    I think people are upset because Harris spent the last 10 books building up to a relationship between Eric and Sookie and out of nowhere she picks Sam.. Just did not make any sense at all.
    As for Eric ditching his feelings that’s even less believable. I mean he spent 10 books going after Sookie, protecting her etc why out of a sudden he decides to be more vampire and ditch them to live another 1000 lonely years? yeah right.
    I just don’t buy it, to me it was rushed and poorly written. It seems like HArris hates her characters or something. Fanfiction.net is such a relief! At least I get stories with a more decent ending.

  16. Kitty says:

    For a Southern VAMPIRE Series, she sure seems to have forgotten about the Vampires in the final book.

    ***Spoilers and a tidbit of FanFic***
    I would have seen this ending as more feasible if she had done a better job of staying true to the characters. I would have loved Sookie to end up with Eric, as I would have expected in a Vampire series. This isn’t the Southern Shifter Series. That isn’t what she gave us so I submit my alternate version of CH’s story:

    Sookie realizes she wants to have children after watching so many of her friends and neighbors have babies. She tells Eric, who realizes that he can not truly give her what she wants. They discuss their feelings at length. Sookie, trying to be selfless, releases Eric to go be with Freyda as she knows it will be good for him in the long run (power, success, and Freyda is beautiful). They part mutually, as friends, with love and respect. Sookie has an appropriate mourning period over their breakup.

    All the while, Sookie has been pondering the confusing fact that since Sam has died and come back to life, she can no longer hear his thoughts. They hem and haw over this for a while and Sam (not Eric, not Bill, not Quinn or Alcide) is the one who has her back during all of the drama. This grows their bond, and with the recent inability to hear Sam’s thoughts, Sookie entertains the idea of dating him. In the end, the letter from Niall also explains that since Sam has died, his brain pattern reflects that of the Vamps, and even though Sookie brought him back to life, she will never be able to hear him as she did before he died.

    That would have allowed me to accept Sookie and Sam as an ending and would have given me appropriate closure on the Sookie/Eric bit.

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