Rating (out of 5): 3 stars
Ed. note: If you have not read the previous Southern Vampire novels, this review will give away key plot points in earlier books, however there are no Dead in the Family spoilers.
I’ve always enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris, but the latest book Dead in the Family felt a bit hollow. It’s not that the characters weren’t there — Sookie, Eric, Sam, Pam, Bill, Alcide, etc. Really, it’s just there wasn’t as strong of a conflict as I had expected.
The overall plot was lacking. Yes, we find out why Eric wasn’t the one who saved her in Dead and Gone’s Fae War, but it seems more like little events instead of the big ones. Some on-going issues were mentioned, but not resolved in the book. While actually reading the novel, I liked it, but after finishing I was left wondering what was the point? Perhaps Charlaine Harris is staging for the Book 11 to deal with both vampire and shifter politics, but mentioning them and then not doing anything with it was unsatisfying.
Setting aside the lack of larger plot points, Dead in the Family started to lift the veil as to just how different vampires are from humans. Sookie sees Eric and Pam badly injured, she aids in putting Eric’s ribs back in place, but Pam must stay behind and heal. All Pam is focused on is the vicious need for revenge. Eric can easily leave her behind knowing she will heal, but it’s little actions like these — choices that the vampires make — that are starting to showcase the differences between them.
Furthermore, Sookie is fighting to understand that she’s starting to take on some of their outlook regarding life, or the dispatching of it. She wants people dead, the list keeps growing. Never before did she think ending someone’s life was an answer. She struggles with the fact that she’s changed, and that she does think killing these people is the right choice. Has spending so much time with the vampires (and weres for that matter) made her colder to human life?
Dead in the Family is certainly worth the read to keep up with the series, but definitely not the level of Dead to the World (book 4) or All Together Dead (book 7).