So, I know I have been gone for a while. But amid a hectic timetable of exams, due dates and moving, I have managed to – slowly but surely – finish the sixth instalment of the Sookie Stackhouse series: Definitely Dead. I am not sure whether it was because I read the book slowly, but I found that the further I read, the more engaged I became. I believe that the book was a slow burner, that ran riot by the end, leaving me definitely wanting more, see what I did there? So here are my thoughts on Harris’ sixth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series: Definitely Dead.
1. Housebound Sookie
I will admit, there is nothing I love more than having Sookie in Bon Temp. I feel it is her natural habitat and the storylines that take place there come across more sincere. So it was a pleasure for me to see Sookie living a slightly more domesticated life at the beginning of this book. In my last review, I hoped that we would see Sookie in her home, reminding us of the Sookie from the first book: Dead Until Dark. Sookie’s interaction with Jason and everyone’s favourite witch doctor: Dr Ludwig brought me back to a time when Sookie had problems in her own town to face, and I very much enjoyed that.
2. Quinn the furry man
Not since Bubba have I quite taken to a character as I have with Quinn. Part of it is because I can see a future between Quinn and Sookie. She won’t have to change her sleeping pattern for him, she doesn’t need to let him feed from her every time that they meet and, if it came to it, Quinn could give Sookie a family. It might be a controversial opinion, but I feel that Quinn is an improved version of Alcide, without the politics and crazy ex (that we know of). We see Quinn in his tiger form for the first time in this book. Beyond Sam, who is mentioned very little in this book, Harris has not given many graphic descriptions of shifters in their animal form. So, the extended description of Quinn’s tiger body interested me. I am excited to see where the relationship between Sookie and Quinn is headed.
3. Why so bitter, Alcide?
The one mention we get of Alcide is pretty grim. Sat, in a dingy pub, seeing the girl he fancied on the arm of another man. However, since we last saw Alcide, a lot has happened. His Father has died, he now lives under the rule of a man that hates him and his family, he is dating Maria-star and he has no doubt had to take on his Father’s business. I do not blame him for looking a little bitter, seeing Sookie with Quinn. Quinn is respected and highly ranked within the community, so challenging him for Sookie would be a difficult task. I would like to see more of Alcide and learn how he is coping with the changes in his life.
4. Watch out for the demons on your porch.
In this book, we are introduced to two new types of supes: Mr Cataliades, the half demon and his two nieces, both goblins. This new category of supe appears to be biblical in one way or another. Also with the mention of angels by Claudine, I am beginning to believe that this series of books is going to involve a biblical set of characters. If that is so, I would like to know the stance of the series on a “God” or other being. I would like to know how high up the supes go, whether we have more religious supes, as with the Maenad in Living Dead in Dallas.
5. What is going on with Hadley?
I am not sure whether this was a mistake on my part, or whether it was never touched on in the previous books, but I felt the death of Hadley came out of nowhere. We are told that the Queen of Louisiana came to tell Sookie the news, and that she is to go to New Orleans to sort through her things. But I feel this exchange should have been documented somewhere in the books. I understand, that without Hadley’s death, the plot could not have moved to New Orleans, but I feel the first interaction between Sookie and the Queen should have been given more time than it was.
6. Bill Bill, Bill
I felt Sookie’s heart break that night in the hospital. I enjoyed Bill’s character in the first few books, but I am glad we had a break from him in this book. I feel almost sorry for Bill. He couldn’t tell Sookie why he was sent, but it had to come out at some point, he was heading towards breaking her heart, no matter what. I think Sookie will warm to him, once her heartbreak has begun healing. I don’t predict any more romance between the two. But, Bill’s confession at the end of the book has led me to believe that he will always hold feelings for Sookie, no matter how she feels about him.
7. Drag King and Queen
The introduction of Sophie-Ann and Peter was interesting to me. I hoped, in my last review, that we would delve deeper into the vampire world, and I have to say that we have. Although such characters as Eric and Bubba only made brief appearances, I feel the introduction of the monarchy was fascinating. I feel for Sophie-Ann, forced into a marriage to a man she has no feelings for, who wants to sabotage her. She is a loyal ally to Sookie and, I think, were they to spend more time together, they would be friends. The many characters that come along with the King and Queen, such as Sigebert, Wybert and Jade Flower offered a selection of new vampire personalities and it was entertaining to hear Sookie’s view on them all.
8. That’s fairy blood.
So the cat’s out of the bag, Sookie is part fairy. I am unsure if she realises that her mind reading is linked to her fairy status, or if it even is in the books, as it is in the HBO series. It seems now, though, that any relationship with a vampire is off the cards. In the back of her mind, she would be thinking that they only like her for her fairy blood. Eric is case in point. He seems almost relieved when he finds out that Sookie is part fairy, rather than him actually having feelings for her. I am interested how Sookie reacts to this information in the long run, what impact it is going to have on her life and what Claudine’s response is going to be to Sookie’s knowing.
9. The witches are back.
One of my favourite scenes in the book, was the ectoplasmic reconstruction. The spell was used well as a narrative device, to allow us to see Hadley in life and also understand the depth of feeling the Queen had for her. After Marnie and her band of vampire blood drinkers, the witches rather went off the scene. I enjoy their skills being used for good, rather than evil and I enjoyed the fact that Amelia has turned her new boyfriend into a cat. I am looking forward to seeing where that leads and where Amelia and Sookie’s friendship will end up.
10. What an ending!
Just when I thought the drama was over, Quinn and Sookie had survived kidnapping and trudging through the woods for hours, things got so much worse. The description of Queen and King standing back to back, knife in one hand and gun in another, is iconic. The killing spree that took place in the final action scene of this book was unexpected. From the decapitation of Wybert, to the amputation of Jade Flower’s leg, Sookie and Quinn were lucky to get out unscathed. The kiss from Eric was peculiar, and shall no doubt be discussed or completely ignored in the books to come. I believe that the battle between King and Queen will continue as a theme throughout the next few books, especially during the vampire conference. I am excited to see who shall prevail as victor, and who shall lose.
All in all, I very much enjoyed Definitely Dead. However, my slow reading made it less enjoyable than if I had got a move on with it. The last one hundred pages seemed so exhilarating because I read them in one sitting. I have learnt to allot time to read large sections of the book, in order to truly appreciate it. With my predictions, I think I hit the nail on the head. Harris did explore more of the vampire world, as well as giving Sookie some down time in the beginning of the book. We were introduced to new characters and we definitely had more Quinn. Less Bubba, Bill and Eric than in previous books, but we have to give the boys a break at some point. I hope that in Harris’ next instalment to the Sookie Stackhouse series: All Together Dead, that we spend more time in Bon Temp. Sookie has been away in this book, but I think it’s time for more Jason and more Sam. I think a reintroduction of Bill and Eric is in order, to redefine what their roles are in Sookie’s life, and definitely more Quinn.
I shall endeavour to read the next book quicker than I got through this one. Then I shall be back to give you my thoughts on From Dead to Worse. In the meantime, tell me what you think. Which is your favourite Sookie Stackhouse novel?
Until next time,