R&R 075 | Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6)
SPOILER WARNING – If you're watching True Blood and don't want to be spoiled for upcoming seasons, you might want to stop reading right now. Though the show doesn't stay entirely true to the books, some of it may be relevant.
Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6)
First published in: 2006
This edition: Ace, 2007
Cover: Illustration by Lisa Desimini, design by Judith Lagerman
The sixth Sookie Stackhouse novel picks up where book 5 left off…
Although, not quite. After book 4, Charlaine Harris has published a few short stories in a collection, Bite.
One of those stories (entitled, One Word Answer) is about Sookie receiving a visit from an attorney from New Orleans, sent to her by the Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne Leclerq. This lawyer comes bearing some troubling news: Sookie's cousin Hadley has died. Twice. The first time was when she became a vampire. The second time was when she got killed as a vampire: Hadley's definite death.
Book 6 continues this storyline: Hadley left everything to Sookie, and so Sookie must head for New Orleans to take care of the inheritance. It's not going to be an easy trip to take. Sookie doesn't have many relatives anymore (Jason is all she's got left now). And as usual with anything involving vampires, it's likely to get even more difficult… especially since one of the vampires Sookie will be meeting is none other than the Queen herself.
So: the sixth Sookie Stackhouse novel picks up where book 5 AND story 4.3 left off. I did not know that when I started book 6. For a while I was so confused, I thought I'd accidentally started with book 7 (and that Hadley's death was disclosed in book 6).
It's not a huge deal – you do get some idea of what has happened as you read on. It's just that in every book, Charlaine Harris does not fail to repeat a few things. Sookie likes "hanging with vampires because I can't read their minds and so have some rest from all the voices" is an example. It's unnecessary, but that's what you get with a series. You get repeated information, understandable.
…is it really too much to ask, then, for one summarized repeat of story 4.3 in the first chapter of the book or somewhere in the beginning? At least help the reader get fully informed before Sookie makes it to New Orleans.
Too many other things take precedence in the first third of the book. A couple of loose ends are tied up – good! But there are still a few irrelevant things going on. Claude modeling with Sookie. A kid goes missing. Jason has relationship stuff going on. An attempt is (once again) made on Sookie's life… etc. It takes quite a while before we get to the Hadley storyline.
But it's worth the wait: that storyline redeems the whole book for me (and book 5 too). My main problem with book 5 was that I felt 'stuck' and needed change, specifically change in the form of new characters, new relationships. I like and miss some of the established characters (Eric, Sam and of course Pam) but quite a few of them, I don't need anymore. Book 6 offers the limelight to some new people – and so far they've made a good first impression.
The Queen's already one of my favorite characters. I like her. I don't trust her, but I like her.
Then there's finally the possibility of a real friend for Sookie, the witch Amelia. She's blunt, funny, slightly arrogant and flawed. I do like her and am glad Charlaine is 'keeping' her (Amelia appears in book 7 too).
And of course there's the were-tiger Quinn, Sookie's new love interest. Yes, despite all the men already tripping over each other to get to Sookie first, I am glad there's a new one for her – but only because I'm hoping for a stable love interest. And because jealousy is a powerful trigger, I'm also interested to see which of the other men is willing to fight for our girl (if you want me to like them again, they better man up).
But I'm not wholly convinced Quinn's the right one for Sookie… yet. He takes some getting used to with his purple eyes, his relative celebrity in the supernatural world, his "babe" this and "babe" that. Plus chemistry is seriously lacking; there's more chemistry between Sookie and Eric.
Ah, but I don't mind the guy. I'll admit one thing. When Charlaine described Quinn's physique, I wished these books were illustrated *wiggles eyebrows up and down*.
But I digress. Anyway I am open to seeing Sookie and Quinn develop as a couple, but I need more convincing if you want me to root for them. I need to know more about Quinn first.
(But one thing is for sure: if not Quinn, it damn well better be Eric. Re: chemistry.)
Other good points: it seems Bill can forget about redeeming himself to Sookie – a phenomenal screw up is made known to her, and this time she's not forgiving. A good development, and one I've been wanting since book 3. There's also a proper explanation for Claude & Claudine's significant presence. I found I liked learning more about the vampire traditions (marriage between heads of states) and hierarchy… and the Hadley plotline was an exciting one in my opinion.
…if the book actually came with illustrations, I would have been an extremely happy book reviewer. Just because. You know. But I'm good for now. Sure. Yeah… Hm.
R&R series © Karin E. Lips 2008, 2009 and beyond