Because of the holidays, it has taken me slightly longer to complete Harris’ fifth instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse Series. However, I have to say that this is one of my favourites. There were many instances when I thought we were at the climax, but then the story kept building, until I was unsure how much more I could take. I didn’t get my Bill, or my Jason for a matter of fact. But I did get Bubba and I did get Sookie. So here are my thoughts on Charlaine Harris’ Dead as a Doornail.
1. Finally, Sookie has taken a break.
I knew it would not last long, but I very much enjoyed Sookie’s time of relaxation. There has been very little down time for the protagonist in the last few books, each taking place one after another and I must admit that this was a breath of fresh air. She had time to help her brother and to regroup, in a sense, to get herself together before the next disaster came along.
2. Charles Twining, at your service.
I must admit, I was fooled. Being one of the first Englishman in the book, my British self found a kindred soul in flamboyant Twining. Whether it was his tea related surname, or his truly old-timey way of speaking, he had me in his palm. I had hoped, nearer the beginning of the novel, that we would see at least a flirtatious relationship begin between Twining and Stackhouse. However, the further we got, the more comfortable I became with their relationship being purely platonic. However, I was never prepared for the character twist at the end of the novel. Bless her, Sookie can’t catch a break in the friends department.
3. Who’s getting trigger happy with the shifters in town?
Sam, I could handle. Sam was alive. But Calvin, now that broke my heart and Flood, I had to take a moment. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Calvin and Sookie. I have always hoped that something would happen there, that Sookie would somehow be able to bring some variety to the little inbred town of Hotshot, and there she could keep an eye on her brother. Despite their connection in this book, I fear it is going no further. As far as Sweetie goes, I was really hit from left field. A self loathing shifter, looking to shoot other shifters, it is a clever angle. I feel that there is more to the Sweetie storyline, with Sookie’s thought pattern about something being off near the end of the book. I am looking forward to dealing more with the politics of the shifter world in books to follow.
4. Nothing to break people up like a funeral.
Now, if I had faith for anyone, it was Alcide and Sookie. They are both warm blooded, both inhuman, but human enough. I hoped that they could reach a kind of relationship where both are happy. But, unfortunately, Alcide didn’t get the memo that your old pack master’s funeral is not the best idea for a date, especially when you are only using your date for her abilities. If funerals were not already messy enough, it seems that weres take it to the next level where ceremony and pomp is concerned. Next time, Alcide, take her out for dinner, or a movie.
5. Burn, baby, burn.
Now this one, I really was not expecting. Getting beaten up? Yes. Being summoned by a different vampire every Friday? Yes. I can believe that many things can happen to Sookie Stackhouse, but it seems that those who have it in for her are not messing around. I felt a strange sympathy for the framed man, who was a supposed member of the Fellowship of the Sun, and his family. I never believed that he had done it and when it all came out, he was just a pawn in Charles’ game to end Sookie. However, where Debbie Pelt and evidence connecting to her death is concerned, Sookie did pretty well out of the fire.
6. Bunk with me, Sookie.
It seems Sookie has a never ending stream of suitable bachelors waiting for her. But it also seems that she has an endless stream of bad luck. Only would Sookie receive an invitation from a man she truly likes to live with her at a time when she cannot accept it. She is forced to bunk with an ex-boyfriend she wishes she could keep the score even with. It seems that Sookie is not out of men, but she is sure out of luck.
7. Where are your manners, Tara Thornton?
This is a plot line I sincerely hope that we see tied up nicely with a sweet yellow bow. I have tried to come up with reasons for Tara to leave without thanking Sookie and I suppose she could have been embarrassed, or simply had to get to work. But not going to Sookie the day after, or the day after that – after the girl got you out of a seriously abusive relationship – now that to me is simply rude. I sincerely hope that Tara finds herself and thanks Sookie properly for the action that she took in aid of her friend.
8. Eric’s in the know.
This was a long time coming for me. I had waited for Sookie to tell Eric about the time they had spent together for a long while. Something about withholding the information seemed morally wrong to me. No matter what he used the information for, or how he would have used it over Sookie, I think he should have known about it all before he did. Even now, the details are unknown to Eric and I think that his lack of knowledge will play a large role in their relationship to come.
9. Quinn, the smooth operator.
Now, it is very rare that a character comes along that I personally don’t find attractive that I can still fantasize about. Quinn is one of them. All man, smooth and muscular, I think he is a good match for Sookie, after all of those cold men she has had around, she needs a warm blooded man to shake her up a little. His dealings with engagements like the competition for pack master worries me a little, leaving me wondering if he is safe for Sookie, but then I doubt that would stop her. So, I’ll order some more Quinn please, shaved morning and night.
10 Sookie, Hunny, I feel for you.
Now, I know I say this with every review, and I know that it is her job to be in horrible situations, but Harris has outdone herself this time. House burnt down, boss shot, friend shot, brother accused of shootings, shot herself, involved in the death of a were, almost killed by a vampire she thought was her friend, this has not been the best of times for Miss Stackhouse. However, many things seem positive now. Eric seems to be giving her some employment, which could take her mind off of her house and her shoulder. She has her photoshoot with Claude coming up, which any human would drool over and Quinn seems to be peaking some interest in the Sookie department. I hope things get just a little easier for Sook, if only for ten pages or so.
So, those are my thoughts. I enjoyed the more chop and change pace of the book, with shorter plot lines that made Sookie’s life seem rather hectic. My predictions were a little off this time, but I very much enjoyed the book, despite that. I hope that in Harris’ next instalment Definitely Dead, we begin again with a little down time for Sookie. More exploration of the vampire world, with introductions to new characters. As always, more Bubba; and finally, more Quinn, to spice up Sookie’s love life and give her something to look forward to. I shall let you know how my predictions fare, my thumbs are already pressed against the first chapter.