(No spoilers.) I honestly don't believe Charlaine Harris wrote this book. I suspect she either supervised a ghost writer who needed a firmer editing hand, or she did write it and it's just an early draft that she either didn't care to improve or couldn't because of other commitments. The plot is ridiculous, contrived, crammed full of details in places and outright boring in others. The supernatural abilities of characters are inconsistent with our previous experience of them, with no explanation for why they can not do something they have done before or they can suddenly do something that was impossible. There are characters who step in for meaningless cameos, as if there was some casting obligation, but no actual plot point to give them. And for the first time in thirteen books and as many stories as I've read, except for a tag on one short story, the author has departed from her first person narrator perspective.
Some reviewers are rating the book low because they think she ended up with the wrong man. That's not my issue. This is the last book in the series. I expected the quality of story telling that kept me reading all these years and made me fall in love with these characters. This book did not have that quality. It's disappointing, and its a sad end to the Sookie series.
Johanna Parker is an excellent narrator as always, and Bailey Cates has created a quirky coven of colorful characters that are worth spending some relaxing hours with. As a cozy mystery, this story doesn't require deep thinking or puzzling. Actually, I think the fun might crumble in the face of too much over-thinking.
If you enjoy baking, the recipes included in the book are available on a pdf at the publisher's website with a code given at the beginning of the recording. I haven't downloaded them yet, but there are a lot of yummy-sounding items at the bakery.
If you enjoy things magical, the basic practices, symbols and herbs discussed are true to tradition as far as my experience. I always wonder about that in a fiction book, so that was a nice discovery.
As far as negatives go, while the female characters are alive and textured, the male characters are flat and fall into stereotypes -- good guy fireman, slimy reporter, cranky detective, thug, nearly invisible husband. Also, since it's the first book in a series, and there are a so many characters, more time is spent introducing people than developing the mystery. I guessed whodunnit within minutes of the murder.
That said, I enjoyed these people enough to listen a second time while I was doing other things around the house, and I will be happy to buy the second book in the series when it comes out in audiobook.
When I saw the commercial for the movie, I immediatly knew it must be a great book. It is!
As a 50 year-old southern woman, it brought back so many memories. We never had "help" but the characters in this book are very real.
The performances are great. The story is delightful. It's a great way to spend a weekend.
...you will love this book.
I was disappointed initially that James Marsters wasn't narrating, and I'll admit it was distracting for maybe the first couple of chapters, but John Glover does a good job with this book. In fact, I recognized a couple of characters by their "voice" before they were identified, and that shows not only how skilled Mr. Glover is, but what commitment he made to make the transition seamless for us. I appreciate that.
This may be my favorite Dresden book yet. I laughed and cried (sometimes loud enough to worry the cats) and felt like I was able to be with good friends who had gone through hard times since our last visit. It was well worth the wait. And now I begin waiting for the next one.
Less than 3 hours in, and I can't take it anymore. I wish I'd read the reviews before wasting a credit on this book. Maura and Rizzoli are barely in it (other reviews say that's not going to change), and most of it is historical hand-to-forehead-swooning drama. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh!
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