DEAD EVER AFTER: Happy Ever After or Hating Charlaine Harris Ever After?

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries Series) US Edition

Okay, now the last time I read a series final of a much loved book series I was so bitterly disappointed that that book (The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel) remained sitting in the spot I threw it until we decided to sell our house and it HAD to be moved.

Jean M. Auel GUTTED me with that final piece of Ayla and Jondalar drivel. For my entire adult life I had been waiting for the moment when Ayla’s past (ie. her children) would rear their ugly heads and fight to the death – AS THE AUTHOR HAD INDICATED several times during the series. Instead all I got was a bad retelling of book 3 (The Mammoth Hunters) and the assumption that the author believed all women who work should be punished. To get a full insight into how bad this series final book is, you can read some of the reviews here.

Charlaine Harris (author of Dead  Ever After and the Southern Vampire Mysteries series)So it was with trembling hands that I picked up Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris early on Mother’s Day. I had only one expectation – that Charlaine Harris stay true to Sookie Stackhouse and not cave to the mass hysteria that was threatening the Sookieverse. That is all I asked – did Charlaine deliver?

***SPOILER ALERT!***

I WILL BE DISCUSSING THE END OF THIS NOVEL, IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING, PLEASE RETURN TO READING THE BAD REVIEWS ON JEAN M. AUEL’S BOOK.

WALK AWAY NOW…

*My Book Review*

DISCLAIMER: This book/eBook being reviewed was purchased by reviewer.

Yes, I think she did! I will be addressing my reasoning behind that later. Right now I just want to reach out through cyberspace and bitch slap all the readers out there threatening to kill themselves and egg Charlaine Harris’ house just because she didn’t provide Sookie Stackhouse with a man who was not suited to her.

No author should be threatened like that.

Ever.

The White Elephant in the Room: Team Eric

Did none of you fans read ANYTHING Harris wrote in the 12 other Southern Vampire Mystery books?! Sookie DID NOT want to be turned! Sookie wanted babies more than anything else. She also wanted to be NORMAL. How on earth is Eric Northman supposed to provide any of that?

Eric Northman's butt (played by Alexander Skarsgard's butt in HBO's True Blood)

Eric Northman’s butt (played by Alexander Skarsgard’s butt in HBO’s True Blood) – Yes, this is a gratuitious attempt at calming the angry masses

I might just add here that I am a BIG fan of the Eric Northman character. I subscribe to many of the various Alexander Skarsgard-loving websites and think that Dead to the World is the best book in the Sookie Stackhouse series – so much so that I own TWO copies of it! HOWEVER (and this is not just because I want that Viking all to myself), if Charlaine Harris were to give Sookie Eric, she would have sold herself short as an author.

See, this is the horrible truth about writing. Sometimes you have to kill your darlings. Sometimes you just need to write the outcome that is plausible and honest – regardless of what the fanbase think. Jean M. Auel could not do this, yet Harris had the guts to and I applaud her for it.

All you Team Eric fans out there need to stop for a minute and go back and read the ENTIRE series. Yep, pull those books off the shelf (if you haven’t already burned them along with your effigy of Charlaine Harris) and start from the beginning. Now, instead of cooing over the fact that Sookie says more than once that she hates Eric (‘but really, we all KNOW she doesn’t mean it’), why not look at the references made by the author about Sam. Instead of pointing at sections and saying ‘See, Sookie says she only like Sam as a friend,’ why not apply the same logic you use when Sookie says something about Eric you ‘know’ isn’t true – maybe she’s lying? It’s not the first time in the history of the world that people have denied feeling for another person. And it sure as shit ain’t the first time someone has stayed platonic with their boss to avoid complications should they break up further on down the track.

If you want to see Sookie and Eric together, then go and read some fanfic – or write your own! There’s PLENTY of awesome stuff out there. Besides FanFiction.net, I also follow a whole heap of Team Eric role players on Facebook and Twitter. Their versions of the Sookieverse are just fantastic. Not only do these authors in their own rights keep Eric and Sookie together, they manage to steam up my glasses every time I’m reading their fanfic.

Quit with the hate already:

I just can’t understand the HATE involved with this book. Now if Charlaine Harris had promised Sookie would decide who she loved in the last book and then presented a novel that went off on some long meandering tangent about the history of Sookie’s house and didn’t resolve the main plot line – then I could understand your fury.

Not only are people complaining that the Eric vs. Bill vs. Sam vs. Alcide vs. Quinn resolution issue ending is shit,  but so too is the writing. Hello? I dare anyone to include EXAMPLES of how Harris’ writing has changed from book 1. Go on, tell me in in the comments below – cut and paste all those sections you loved along with the ones you hated and tell me how her writing has nose-dived. Oh, and the continuity issues? Why don’t you try writing 13 books and not have ONE SINGLE CONTINUITY ISSUE – I’ll even let you assign an actual continuity editor to the task. Really, that’s what is pissing you off? The fact that Sookie can no longer read Sam’s mind? Go blow it out your arse!

Yeah, there were a few books (especially towards the end of the series) that had a whole heap of ‘Sookie had lunch, and then she watched a movie…’ etc and then there were entire books that seemed to be nothing more that bridges joining one great plot line to the next. But, overall, I don’t think the quality of writing decreased that much.

Sometimes I think people just confuse ‘I’m not happy with how this book ended’ with ‘this author is a bad writer’.

Okay, now I am going to address WHY I thought Dead Ever After was a good book:

  • Sam Merlotte (played by Sam Trammell in HBO's True Blood)Regardless of what the blinkered fans thought, Charlaine Harris addressed the burgeoning attraction between Sam and Sookie very early on in the series. The pair ending up together was pretty obvious and, to be honest, a welcome reward. Sookie FINALLY gets her normal happy ever after!
  • Eric stays true to character. Yes, he does. Please stop throwing rotten tomatoes at me. We ALL know why we love Eric – he’s the classic bad boy. Right from the start he admits that he is bad to the bone and that he’s done things for the sake of doing them. The man really has no conscious. Yes, I do believe he loved Sookie. Yes, their relationship was smoulderingly HOT. Yes, he would pick power over a human.
  • All the characters get a look in. While some fans are complaining a lot of the characters seem watered down, at least they get a mention. At least their individual stories are touched upon and tied up neatly where needed.
  • Sookie stays true to herself. Right from the very start we all knew how much Sookie wanted babies. And how much she believed in the afterlife. If Charlaine Harris let Sookie have Eric, there would have been a book 14 and it would have been called ‘Dead by Suicide’. Sookie would have ultimately suffered had she lost the two things that meant so much to her.
  • Sookie got to be normal. Finally. It’s the only thing she’s ever wanted. Remember how much she hated being picked on and singled out as the weird one? Imagine how this would have continued if she’d stuck with the vampire?
  • Charlaine Harris still writes those laugh out loud moments. I know many fans hate the line “…my breasts… quivering like puppies who wanted to be petted.” But to me, that is what makes Charlaine’s books so enjoyable. She tells it like it is. And sometimes those things are just plain weird!
  • The end….followed by the end! Yeah, so we think everything is all tied up and then Sookie goes dancing and gets abducted and then the whole bar comes to her rescue. A whole lot of redneck banjo playing seemed to be going on and I LOVED EVERY SECOND of it!

What I didn’t like about the book:

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries Series) Aus Edition

  • Eric got just a little too heartless. Yes, I know I thought Harris stayed true to character, but it was just a bit hard to read. My heart broke a little bit then as Harris reminded us what a bad boy truly is like.
  • Bill dobbing on Eric. Okay, it’s nice he got his payback for Eric dobbing on him to Sookie about how he was ordered to hit on Sookie in Dead Until Dark, but for some reason it came off all cry-baby the second time round.
  • New characters were introduced. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Karin, but her story drew the short straw. She very much appeared as a band aid to keep Sookie looked after. Ditto Thalia – another awesome character that never truly got to see their full potential realised.
  • The sucky new cover design. Why do publishers do this? Why can’t they just release the WHOLE series in the original covers and then re-release the series in the new covers? I would have bought copies of both if this were the case. Now I’m just pissy that the last few books on my bookshelf are baby poo yellow, eye-blistering tropical lime and prison-garb orange! Sure, as a collective, the whole series of books look like a rainbow when lined up, but all I have is a few books that don’t match the rest of the series.

All in all, I am giving Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris 4.5 stars out of 5.

Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin in HBO's True Blood)

“I am Sookie Stackhouse. I belong here.”

Thank you Charlaine for keeping Sookie real!

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About mrszoomby

When I'm not writing, I'm training for the zombie apocalypse.
This entry was posted in Book Review, HBO, New Novel, New Release, True Blood, Vampires and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to DEAD EVER AFTER: Happy Ever After or Hating Charlaine Harris Ever After?

  1. Whitney says:

    I agree with you even though was hoping it would be Bill, I knew Sam was really the logical choice for her. Alcide became pack leader, quin betrayed everybody, and Eric and Bill are Vampires. like you say these were things that she didn’t wanted.I always hated Eric, and thought that he was just devious.

  2. mrszoomby says:

    I was actually glad to see Bill redeemed by the end of the series. I LOVED the nasty twist of what Sophie made him do, but it didn’t sit right on me – Bill was nicer than that!

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  4. mrszoomby says:

    Here’s a really good review from the other side of the fence. I love that they have gone into such detail and used examples to back their case up, unlike so many who just go ‘It was shit.’ without any reason why: http://ericandsookielovers.com/2013/05/07/dea-to-dud-in-five-seconds-flat/

  5. I’ve read a few bad reviews about this final book and it put me off reading it a little – not that I wouldn’t read it, more like not rushing to read it. However, after reading your review, the first one to give actual reasons, I’ve changed my mind.
    A final book in a series will never please everyone; through the years they’ve created their own ideas and expectations of how the series should end and when the author does things their way, that’s when you get the haters. Just because things don’t happen as you expect, it doesn’t make the book any less enjoyable. As long as the author stays true to her characters, you can’t ask for more than that.
    So thank you, Rachel, for posting this honest and factual review. I’m now looking forward to reading this again!

  6. mrszoomby says:

    So glad I could help out Carlie 😀

  7. leslie says:

    I loved your review. I completely agree with almost everything you said. I don’t agree that she had Eric be too much of a jackass though. I think he was actually pissed he was going to have to leave his life since he seemed to be enjoying it and that made him more angry than usual.

  8. I have to admit, I don’t agree that Sookie got a HEA. I’m not mad because it wasn’t Eric, I get it. I admit, I do agree that Eric was not the choice for Sookie. But, I felt jipped by the end. I wasn’t happy about the parade of all the side characters, it left a bad taste in my mouth and did not tie up loose ends nicely for me. I’m not screaming to egg houses or anything infantile like that, but on the other hand, I realized that obviously I just don’t like her writing and will no longer buy Charlaine’s books. I’m not saying she’s a “bad” writer, but to me, she’s not a good one. This book just left me flabbergasted at all the time, money, and dreams I spent on the series. I am glad that there are readers out there that enjoyed it, but I am not included in that group.

    • Kim says:

      Just an FYI: jipped is a gypsy slur. Oh and this last book left Sookie exactly where she started: not normal, not interesting, and not happy.

      • mrszoomby says:

        Oh golly, I did not know that Kim! In Australia, the term ‘jibbed’ is used often. It means ‘to be short-changed’ or to have something not live up to your expectations. I’m not sure where this expression is derived from, but it certainly isn’t used colloquially in a offensive term :-/

        ***EDIT: I just did a bit of research on the terms ‘jibbed’ vs ‘jipped’. They both mean similar things so I can only assume that us Aussies have taken the gypsy term and misheard it, changing it to ‘jibbed’ instead of ‘jipped’. So if I have offended, I am truly sorry.***

      • Alana says:

        Kim, thanks for letting me know, I had not idea (obviously since it’s even spelled incorrectly because I never would have guessed that.) However, you must be aware that it was not meant to be interpreted as such. It’s even in the Urban Dictionary (as I spelled it) and makes no mention of any origins.

  9. Josie says:

    Please don’t shoot me everyone. I LOVED the end.
    I had waited so long to see Sam and Sookie get together.
    At last it finally happened.

  10. Lola says:

    Sorry, but I’m Team Eric and I wish he was dead. I feel like Mrs. Harris killed his character. I feel he deserved more. Not necessarily being the HEA, but a better ending. For me, the Sookieverse is dead. I will continue being Team Eric (I watch TB), but I won’t recommend the books anymore.

  11. mrszoomby says:

    That’s fair enough Lola 😀

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  13. SF says:

    I was bored by the book. The pages I always enjoyed the most in the Sookie books were the stories with the vampires and the wolves. They were hardly in this book. Instead it was about a stupid murder story line with all the stupid named side characters in Sookie’s life. Then the last chapters they wrap-up everything. Also, I really hate story lines when two people jump into bed and then after that, the girl decides to take it slow. They shouldn’t have had sex in the first place.
    As far as who Sookie ended up with, I would have liked it to be Eric. But after book 10, the last 3 books were written in a way that they were separating. No big surprise. I would have preferred it if the last books were written that Sookie would just break up with Eric, because a light bulb finally went off in her head that she knew shouldn’t couldn’t have a family with him.
    As far as HEA, I would have preferred Quinn over Sam, I thought there was more passion with Quinn.
    For me, the last book was disappointing. I would recommend books 1 thru 10, and don’t bother with the last 3.

  14. Wiebke says:

    I completely agree with you and I’m very happy that someone out there is a mature reader! Charlaine Harris end her series as she wishes and it shouldn’t be confused with how the HBO series ends! I actually re-read all 13 books before starting on number 14. And no surprise there: you just understand it had to be Sam!

  15. Karen says:

    I have to disagree with you, it was very unsatisfying because it was clumsy writing. Using 3rd person segments, bring up a character that never had been in the story before. Having so many characters obsessed with killing Sookie. I re-read all the books last year before deadlocked came out and I think it all went downhill when the whole fairy war came about. Killing off Claudine was cruel and making Niall change course so abruptly made it a mess IMHO. I haven’t bought any of her books since then but did want to see what happened so I continued to read them by checking them out from my library.
    I have to say I am not completely surprised Ms. Harris ended the book so poorly, she has a history of this. I enjoyed the Lily Bard, Aurora Teagarden and Harper Connelly series. Yet all of them have very clunky disjointed endings. I guess I love her characterizations but her plotting leaves a lot to be desired. Thanks for listening.

    • mrszoomby says:

      Thanks so much for your honest reply. I completely agree with the addition of a new character and the death of Claudine. However, I have always read Harris’s work for light entertainment rather than anything else 🙂

  16. annabella says:

    I agree with you and am happy to read this review albeit late. I am an Eric fan and I totally agree with the sentiment about Ms. Harris “reminding us what a bad boy is really like”. Personally, I suspected all along that she’d end up with Sam because he is right for Sookie for all the reasons covered above not to mention obvious indications since book one or two even.

  17. Pia says:

    Great review 🙂 I just finished the book a few days ago after the entire series (decided to start from book one, when I heard it was the last one). I loved the ending personally – like you write – Sam can provide Sookie with everything she wants from the future and she has always liked him 🙂 Thanks for the read – awesome 🙂

    • mrszoomby says:

      I’m so jealous Pia – I wanted to read the whole lot in one hit, so I could really appreciate reading the last book for the first time, but ran out of time. And then couldn’t help myself when I got the book 😉

      Really glad you liked my review 😀

  18. Stephanie says:

    i disagree with you.

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  20. Lauren says:

    I like your blog entry. I don’t really like the ending ’cause I liked eric or bill or alcide (in that order ). I don’t hate sam, but of course it’s understandable that you get kind of shocked and depressed when you get something entirely different from what you expect. (should’ve learned not to assume )
    I was just wondering if there are some sookie eric fanfic that would be serve as an “alternate read” or another ending that would be interesting/worthwhile to read…
    thanks for sharing your thoughts

    • mrszoomby says:

      There is some awesome fanfic out there. A great place to start is the fanfic site I mentioned in this review. They are probably the biggest site, you just need to dive in, learn the lingo (so you can easily identify how the story will play out) and prepare to be sucked down into their world 😉

      • Lauren says:

        yes, i did read amazing fanfiction and was caught up for a while 😀
        I loved this particular ff author (http://ericizmine.com/ ), sadly ive heard she passed away. She made many amazing sookie x eric stories that ive liked..
        i can say that ive moved on from being bitter with the last book 🙂

      • mrszoomby says:

        I will certainly check out this author. Thanks for sharing Lauren 🙂

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  23. Tabby1249 says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for a rational, reasoned and lovely review of the final book in the SVM series. I totally agree with you that the ending as written by CH is the only logical conclusion given the evolution of the characters throughout the entire series.
    The beginning of the end of Eric’s and Sookie’s relationship began, I think, in book 8, but I think many of the rabid ” Eric-shippers” out there somehow got it in their head that this story was more about Eric than Sookie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Eric, but never thought it would work out between the two of them for many of the reasons you mentioned. I was also thrilled that Bill was somewhat redeemed in DEA.
    I have been dismayed and appalled at the nasty, vituperative and, in my opinion over-the-top irrational reaction by some to this book. I totally believe that no one had to like the book or it’s ending, but to call the author ugly names and threaten her was totally out if line. Finally, you suggested title for the 14th book had Eric and Sookie ended up together was dead on (pun intended). Thank you for and accurate and amusing review

    • mrszoomby says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Tabby 😀 I am actually a rabid Eric fan, but I think a lot of people find it hard to differentiate between their fandom and the actual story being told. I also think that is why a lot of book fans don’t like the TV show and vice versa. Both have their own merits and started from the same place, but, realistically, both are completely different from each other and are to be enjoyed separately rather than in conjunction with each other.

      • Tabby1249 says:

        I’m with you on the Eric love and I’ll never reread the SVM books without envisioning Alexander Skarsgard as Eric. That said, I think CH’s vampire Eric was a true charismatic vampire. True Blood softened him up too much, I thought. I also get amused at much of the fan fiction that turns him into either a mushy romantic with a food and sun allergy or the ultimate Dom. I haven’t read really any FF author whose Eric was as good as CH’s.

      • mrszoomby says:

        I completely agree Tabby! 🙂

  24. TeaAna says:

    I agree about the extreme negativity that followed the books. That was just uncalled for.
    I am late stumbling upon this but…

    I always thought that if Sookie didn’t end up with Eric than she should be with Sam. So, I wasn’t disappointed about her love connection. Though, there were reasons why Eric and Sookie shouldn’t end up together; and, at first, I thought that was what was going to go down BUT the way the last book was written when it came to the Sookie and Eric drama was ugly and dismissive.
    You say yourself that you truly believe that Eric loved Sookie. Well, so did I – but reading their last moments together it almost seems as if Eric not only played Sookie for a fool but us readers, as well. The way “Sookie 101” was described only furthered the idea that for the past 11 books Eric was just trying to manipulate Sookie into wanting to be his child. I was hoping that they were just saying things out of anger – and later, maybe, they would have a proper closure but it never happened. Pam spoke to Sookie towards the end and didn’t make things seem any different. After Dead didn’t change anything either.

    Basically, I believe that Harris ended the book the way she wanted and I am A-O-K with that. Though, I believe that she allowed the fan base to manipulate her story telling when it came to Sookie during all those many books there in the middle. The ericisms during the first few books are probably my favorite thing about the series – All that passion in the midst – and all that stressful emotion towards the end…. Then to have their relationship feel “dismissed.” It did kind of suck – like majorly.

    I still enjoyed the series though. Happy that Sookie will be happy (hopefully) and Eric is happy. So – Yay! 🙂

    • mrszoomby says:

      Really good points there TeaAna. I definitely agree with you about Harris letting the fanbase manipulate her writing in the middle. It’s almost a shame the series became so popular because, when you read her other series, it is plain to see she wrote those more for herself and the stories unfolded as they should have.

  25. H. says:

    I’ve been Team Sam since Book One… and probably the only reader who hates Eric, so Sookie and Sam pairing up pleases me. This book also FINALLY got me to like Bill, after spending several books wishing him a final death. It’s hypocritical of me, I know, but seeing him get petty vengeance on Eric made me smile.

  26. jo clancy says:

    See I think Eric sacrificed everything for Sookie and I can’t understand the point of view that he chose power over her.
    He has no power now….he is a virtual prisoner of Freyda and Felipe!
    I have no doubt that he will make them very very sorry right before he kills them both, but he has lost the only woman he has ever loved…his lover…his true wife….his Sookie.
    Cut the man some slack….PLEASE.
    I love Eric so much it hurts.

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