Well everyone, we’ve completed our 12 book re-read of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books. Thanks for sticking with me! But we can’t end this journey without discussing the long-awaited conclusion, book thirteen—Dead Ever After. Unfortunately, there were a number of spoilers released before the publication date, which I studiously avoided. After committing to thirteen books in this series, there was no way I would spoil the ending! But now that the book is out, permit me to spoil it now? I’ll give a short recap and then let’s discuss this potential HEA.
The book begins with background on our villains—Copley Carmichael making a deal with a devil, asking for the cluviel dor (which of course is gone), and Steve Newlin/John Glassport posting bail for Arlene and convincing her to get in touch with Sookie.
Back in Bon Temps, Sam is dealing with his almost-permanent death by locking himself in his trailer for a few days, and Eric refuses to speak to Sookie. When Eric does, secretly during the night, he doesn’t say much, but leaves his other child to guard her. Yes, Eric apparently has another vampire child named Karin Slaughter (is there a reason she’s named after another author, and I just missed it?).
When Sookie arrives at the bar the next day, Sam has just discovered Arlene dead in a dumpster. Sookie immediately realizes she’ll be a suspect—Arlene had visited the bar the other day, to ask for her job back. Both she and Sam barely consider dumping the body, though, and call the police. While Sookie’s questioned, she’s able to go home…for now.
Soon afterwards, Karin drives Sookie to see Eric at Fangtasia. He begins by telling her, “This is what has to be done, but never doubt my affection.” Then he takes her into his office, and in front of Pam, Felipe, and Freyda, he releases her from their marriage. Sookie keeps her pride, completes the ceremony, and goes home. Eric follows her, and tries to convince her to continue their relationship as his secret mistress in Oklahoma. Sookie refuses in no uncertain terms, and Eric reveals that he considered turning into her a vampire without asking. After a fairly short and unsatisfying conversation, Sookie rescinds his invitation to her house.
When Sookie wakes the next morning, she’s arrested for murder. After spending time in jail, Sookie is brought in front of the judge. In a heartwarming scene, almost all her friends are present in the courtroom to support her: Tara and JB, Alcide, Jason, Calvin Norris, Hoyt Fortenberry, Danny, Kennedy, Mustapha, Terry. The only person who isn’t there is Sam, who according to Jason, was frantically calling everyone he knew to help. When the judge grants bail, Mustapha pays the $30,000 on behalf of Eric.
Back at home, Sam is studiously avoiding her. But at least Mr. Cataliades arrives to help, along with Amelia, Bob, Diantha, and Barry Bellboy. When Sookie is out to dinner with all of them, in walks Quinn. He’s here to help Sookie, but after a short (and rather unhelpful) time in Bon Temps, Quinn is called away to plan Eric and Freyda’s wedding. Ouch. Sookie does receive some good news from Mr. Cataliades. Not only did Niall bless Sookie’s land so that it is ridiculously lush and fruitful, he also left her money. Mr. Cataliades sold Claudine’s house, and Claude’s Hooligans for her, and the proceeds have been put in an annuity. For the rest of her life, Sookie will receive a check every month for $3,000. What a relief!
While Sookie is working at Merlotte’s, Carmichael’s bodyguard Tyrese attacks Amelia and Barry, shooting Bob. Thank goodness Mustapha had come to get Eric’s stuff from Sookie, and escorts her home from the bar. He’s able to save her, and his friend Warren shoots Tyrese, but Sookie is still shot in the shoulder. Both Eric and Sam visit her in the hospital, and even in her foggy state, Sookie can tell something is going on between the two of them. Bill finally intervenes and informs Sookie that Sam procured her bail money. Sam tried to obtain the money in a million different ways, but in the end had to call Eric. When Eric answered, Freyda was sitting next to him. She insisted on conditions to the loan: Sookie can never visit Oklahoma, and Eric can never be alone with her again. Eric agreed (!), but added another condition—that Sam could never tell Sookie he asked Eric for the bail money, and he could never try to court her. To save Sookie from jail, Sam agreed. When Sookie thanks Sam, he finally says, “I don’t want you grateful. I want you mine. Eric was right about that.” Well that’s been a declaration thirteen books coming. How do you feel about that?
Meanwhile, Karin has left a present for Sookie in the vampire’s hidey-hole, Copley Carmichael bound and gagged. And Pam reveals that she will be the new sheriff! That was one of Eric’s conditions for going with Freyda, the others being that Sookie would absolutely never be harmed by any vampire, and that Karin would guard her house from the woods every night for a year. While Pam insists this is a practical, not sentimental, gesture, showing Freyda that he protects what is his, Sookie believes it is somewhere in between. When Sookie pops over to Sam’s, he kisses her, and one thing leads to another. They decide they’re going to be together. They even make plans to go dancing, but of course Steve Newlin and Glassport interrupt their night out by kidnapping Sookie. And who’s the driver? A horribly burned and scarred Claude! In the end, all three men die, and Sookie is saved.
As for the other characters:
- Barry survives a beating from Steve and John, and stays with Sam’s mom while recovering from his injuries.
- Mr. Cataliades and Diantha go off to who knows where.
- Amelia is pregnant with Bob’s baby, and they go back to New Orleans.
- Karin and Pam take Copley Carmichael to punish him for his actions.
- Jason marries Michelle, with Sookie as a bridesmaid.
As for Sookie herself, she speculates that she and Sam will be “official” by Christmas, maybe for always.
THE END OF THIRTEEN BOOKS.
When I finish a series, I want to be emotional, nostalgic, and desperately sad that the series is over, yet thrilled at the perfect ending. I can’t say that I was feeling all of those things, but I do think that in many ways this was a fitting conclusion to the series, and certainly one that I expected. Re-reading for the past 12 weeks prepared me for this end—I could see so much more clearly how Harris was working towards Sookie’s HEA with Sam, and her slightly-more-normal life. Pam as sheriff is a happy surprise, but I am grieving for Eric. Not the Eric he has been in the last few books, but the Eric he was through so much of the series. He became almost a different character, or perhaps we loved his humor and strength so much that we were blind to the hints dropped by the author of things to come? Who knows, but for someone who was such a huge part of the series for so long, Eric is barely present in the last few books, and only appears three times—briefly—in this one. It’s a bit unsatisfying to all the readers who have grown so invested in him as a character.
That said, I don’t so much have a problem with his marriage to Freyda, as I do with the way both Sookie and Eric handle their problems. There’s plenty of hanging up, ignoring, avoiding, and blaming the other. Grow up, you two! While those behaviors may be a vehicle to convey the faults in their relationship, they also mean that Eric leaves without a goodbye, and marries without a proper breakup. Their relationship doesn’t truly have an ending. Where is the closure? Who cares about Sookie, I want some for myself!
At least we get a few moments with Sookie’s other former swains—Quinn, Alcide, Bill. They all are on pleasant terms, and it seems those relationships with continue in friendly fashion. As for Sam, I am not at all surprised that they’ve ended up together. Their transition from friend-to-significant other was a bit more seamless then I was expecting, though. Perhaps I thought there would be more drama and passion, a la her relationship with Eric? But Sookie has been clearly working towards this more normal, less-supernatural life for quite some time, and Sam certainly fits into that world.
As for our villains, in many ways I am surprised at their mundane origins. They are just humans, yet with a little supernatural boost. And everyone is out for Sookie’s life at the same time—what a coincidence! While I can understand Steve Newlin’s hatred of Sookie, apparently John Glassport just joined in for fun? On the same note, I’m not entirely clear why Alcee Beck had to be under possession to place Sookie in jail. He’s never liked her, anyway. Then there’s Copley Carmichael, who has suddenly turned from a somewhat greedy businessman into a man desperate for revenge on the woman who used her own cluviel dor, thereby denying him the chance to use it. I suppose after so many supernatural villains, it takes one of human origins to send Sookie off to her more-human life.
That said, I am glad that Sookie goes into her future without enemies clamoring for her life. Though some aspects of this last book may be unsatisfying, I am happy with the future presented for these characters we’ve come to know and love (Eric aside). It’s a wonderful series, always one of my favorites. And while the series may be over, I look forward to seeing what Charlaine Harris writes next.
But enough about me, what do you think?