The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9
Sookie Stackhoues lives and waitresses in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and is telepathic. A big change occurs in the world when the the wereanimals make their presence known to the world. Things are never going to be the same again, and Eric Northman, vampire Sheriff of Area 5, has done his best to ensure that the public announcement goes smoothly. Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s boss, is a shapeshifter, and the community seems to take this relatively well. Arlene Fowler, Sookie’s ex-friend and Merlotte’s waitress, has become heavily entwined with the cult called the Fellowship of the Sun, and resigns when she knows what Sam is. Sam’s stepfather doesn’t take the coming out well, and Sam rushes off to Texas to his mother who was shot when the announcement came out. Sookie is left in charge of the bar, and has her work cut out for her running the bar while Sam is gone. Sookie is also getting irritated with the fact that Octavia Fant, her witchy roomate Amelia’s mentor, is still staying with them, and it was not really Sookie’s choice. At least Bob, Amelia’s former lover who she turned into a cat, is back to his normal ways.
Sookie learns from her great-grandfather and fairy prince, Niall Brigant, that she should be careful. He has powerful enemies, and Braendan, another fairy prince, is intent on hunting all part fairies down and killing them as he sees them as abominations, and then sealing the two worlds off. Sookie has not seen Eric in a few months, but finally one night she is called out to see him at his bar, Fangtasia, and she is given a package to deliver to Eric. In front of the new King of Louisiana, Felipe De Castro, who owes Sookie for saving his life, Sookie gives Eric a package which contains a ceremonial knife. Afterwards, she learns that she is somehow tricked into a vampire marriage to Eric, meaning that nobody can take her. The marriage is only recognised by vampires. The FBI shows up to question Sookie about her telepathic abilities and the identity of Barry Bellhop after they found out about the help she provided at the bombing of the Pyramid of Gizeh, but that will have to wait when her brother Jason’s pregnant wife, werepanther Crystal Norris, is found crucified in front of Sam’s bar. Suddenly the whole town suspects the worst of Jason again, and there needs to be some way to clear him. Sookie is terrified of having the FBI take her life away.
Eric and Sookie, meanwhile, are getting closer, and the more Sookie learns about Niall’s fairy war, the more danger she is in. Eventually she has to call in favours from there Weres and the vampires to keep her protected, and she is suddenly glad she had those chips to call in. Arlene seems to want to make things right between her and Sookie, though upon arrival it looks like Arlene and her Fellowship friends have something dark and evil in store for Sookie, and she calls in detective Andy Bellefleur to help her out. Things are getting more dangerous as Sookie is hunted down by Braendan’s people, and her fresh and new relationship with Eric causes some strife between her and Sam, which is unfortunate.
Will Braendan’s people get hold of Sookie? Will her favours that she has called in be enough? Will her and Sam get over her seeing a vampire again? What does Sookie’s vampire marriage entail? Will the FBI leave Sookie in peace? How will Eric and Sookie work out now? Who murdered Crystal Norris? How long will Octavia still be with Sookie and Amelia?
This was more of a return to form for me, and I enjoyed Dead and Gone. The wereanimals finally came out of their shell, and it went semi-smoothly… in Bon Temps, at least. Things moved along relatively quickly, and even the fairy stuff in here didn’t irritate me. In fact, I would like to applaud Harris for doing real fairies – creepy, scary, brutal warriors, and not this Tinkerbell crap. I know that sounds mad, but when it gets down to traditionalist fae stuff, that can be really interesting. While this was not too much of the lore and all that, it was just nice to have something a bit more hardcore you know? The war that was waged (unlike the two wars in the last book) was also pretty heavy. I liked Tray and Amelia seeing each other, too, and that Sookie and Bill have found a way to sort of be friends, which I like. Jason is still a twat, though what happened to Crystal was heavy, even if they were separated at the time. I was so happy when Sookie and Eric started kicking it together again. Yep, that was me, happy as can be. The fact that he has his memories back is great. Quinn’s quick visit to Sookie initially felt like a total waste of time, but then it all made sense. Arlene is also a shallow and foul person, so that was also something. Not a shock, not by a long shot, but still. This was a book that contained a hell of a lot of deaths, but again, you aren’t particularly attached to any of these characters, so it isn’t like Rowling-Ripped-Out-My-Soul bad, just a loss of a character you got used to popping up from time to time. I enjoyed Bubba making an appearance again, he is always welcome.