Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dead and Gone-Impressions

So, I have read the latest offering from Charlaine Harris, Dead and Gone. First of all I would like to say that Harris is not a strong writer. What I do like are the characters and the scenarios and world she has created, but in my estimation, I think she could do better as a writer.

Having said that, I will tell you something about the new book.

The new book takes place during the faery wars. Sookie's great grandfather, the faery prince Niall, is in a family feud with Dermott, his grandson, who is Sookie's great uncle.

At the same time, she is being pulled ever closer to Eric, the Sheriff of Area Five and the owner of the Vampire Bar Fangtasia. After much time has elapsed with the take over of the territory which once belonged to Sophie Anne, now definitely deceased, Eric has sent for Sookie and asked her to present a mysterious gift to him in front of the King of Nevada's representative. And Sookie doesn't even take the time to look at it, she simply appears at Fangtasia and with some cerimony, hands Eric the gift. He then unwraps it and reveals it is a cerimonial knife used in Vampire wedding cerimonies (between Vampires, that is, humans and Vampires are still restricted legally in what they can do.). He takes the knife in his hands and kisses it and the representative makes a statement of Eric and Sookie's vow to one another. Aparently they are now bonded together in a love match and that is a bond that cannot be broken by the King. And apparently, Quinn the were-tiger and Sookie's one time (and I mean that literally) lover has been banned from entering Eric's domain.

Sookie resents this high handed act by the Viking Vampire and lets him know about it. But she has bigger fish to fry. Sam and the other shifters have made the great reveal. Figuring that they have the advantage of being human with a quirk, as opposed to being dead bloodsuckers, the shifters have revealed themselves to the world. As a result, Sam's step dad shot his mom when she changed into her animal self and he has been called away and Sookie is put in charge of the bar. Under her watch, Jason's faithless wife has been found crucified behind Merlotte's and the FBI are sniffing around in connection with her work at the Pyramid in Rhodes with Barry Bellboy.

But the FBI and the Crystal story are just side stories that Harris resolves rather abruptly. The meat of the story is the faery war. Everyone is warning her about the impending battle. Dermott is ruthless and very anti human. He knows that Niall loves his great granddaughter and he figures that if he kills Sookie, this will lure Niall into an all out war. Claudine and Claude, Sookie's faery cousins visit with her and tell her to be careful of a man who looks like Jason but isn't.

Meanwhile, Sookie, being burdened by the stresses of the murder of Crystal and the other things in her life, she goes to Fangtasia just for the consolation of Eric's company. She forgoes the opportunity to give Eric a real reaming out for his use of her in the love match thing in favor of listening to Eric's back story.

Eric was the son of a chieftain and he married his dead brother's wife, Aude. Aude was older than he and I think he was very fond of her, even loved her. Eric had six children with Aude and she died with a post-parum infection, she and the baby. One night as he was returning from his courtship of another woman he was waylaid by a man who turned out to be a Vampire. He was made Vampire by a Roman soldier and he was subservient to his maker's whims, which included sex with the endlessly virile Viking Vampire. He explained that he eventually accustomed himself to that aspect as he learned how to be a Vampire. This is very intimate for the Vampire Eric to tell Sookie about how he was made and I think on some levels he was telling her the story to show her that he has some little commonality with her as he himslef was forced into a sexual subservience much like she was when she was being mad handled by her uncle Bartlett.

Sookie comes home with lots to think about but like Scarlett, she always puts it off. Things seem to simmer down for a while until she has to kill a faery in her garden who was sent to kill her. She contacts her Great Grandfather who comes with Sookie's great uncle to clean up the faerie remains.

That evening, Sookie is visted by none other than Quinn, the weretiger. Bill shows up and gets into a physical altercation with Sookie ending up in the middle of it. Knocked briefly unconscious, she awakes to Eric mopping off her face with a very wet wash rag, her mouth full of Eric's blood and no clothes on. Eric figures there is no time like the present to restake(heh, heh) his claim on Sookie. Whatever it is that Sookie has, it makes Eric shout something positively exclamatory in foreign language.