Number-one New York Times best-selling author Charlaine Harris has won numerous awards for her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, which has been adapted into the hit HBO show True Blood. In this 13th and final book, a murder rocks the town of Bon Temps and Sookie is arrested for the crime. After making bail, she sets out to clear her name - but her investigation only leads to more deaths.
©2013 Charlaine Harris, Inc. (P)2013 Recorded Books
"The Sookie Stackhouse series seamlessly mixes sensuality, violence, and humor." (Boulder Weekly)
"Harris’s creation offers a magical and mysterious twist on traditional vampire stories." (Houston Chronicle)
"What sucked me in? Definitely the books’ oddly charming, often funny mix of the mundane and the absurd. And the chills and thrills in boudoirs and various locales around the South aren’t too bad either." (The Seattle Times)
I re-listened to everything previously written in this series to prepare for this book. I agree with the reviewers who believe Ms. Harris lost her heart for this series, I have seen this with other authors like in the Anita Blake series.
I was so disheartened that I went through my audio library looking for an old friend to re-visit.
Instead, I stumbled onto a new gem. Like the Sookie series, this series has an odd, gifted and very loveable heroine. Like Sookie's home, this is set in a world all its own. While it lacks vampires and werewolves, it has lots of chemistry.
Have a listen to Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Follow the adventures of Flavia. Listening is good again.
(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.
No but this has spoiled the series for me.
I love her
the trailer. *shivers*
I feel cheated out of a true happily ever after, for the fans and for the protagonist. Instead, Sookie ends up with a "we'll take it slow" with her bff. What a tragedy. It sullied the entire series that was filled so much promise. I've read better fan fiction that was more devoted to the continuity of characters and had a greater love and reverence for the overall Sookieverse. Charlaine needs a do over, beginning with book 10 or maybe even 9.
Just turned me off from this series
I felt let down and disappointed with this story
I really wish Ms Harris would have ended this series with 8 books instead of dragging it out. It steadily got worse, as the books went on. (kinda like Anita Blake). Some of these authors need to learn when to end a series, before they get totally burned out, and write crap in order to pick up their paycheck. Where are the editors anyway?
I know I'm not writing the books, but I do think when an author has created a huge following, those readers should be considered and listened to. Someone needs to look where their paycheck came from.
That being said......this book was rushed, with stupid cameos all the way through it from just about every character ever introduced. Things that made Sookie, Sookie in other books, all of a sudden are different in this book. Doesn't the author use cliff notes to remind herself what abilities and history her characters have?
I really feel the whole series should have been Sookie's dream (Like Bobby in Dallas) cause Sookie didn't achieve anything in the end. She ended up right where she started out, working in a diner with Sam, not really sold on wanting Sam, so she'll have to think about it for awhile. (oh yes, that's cause Ms Harris wants to sell us another book in a few months.Fat chance on me buying that one.) Sookie went through all kinds of horrible experiences, only to be jilted by the one man that she truly ever loved. All these books, making Eric always being there to rescue her, and he becomes a slave to another vampire in the end. (Oh yes, that's how he started out too)
So basically, Ms Harris sees ones life going full circle, ending up just where you started and no HEA for her main characters. She should have killed them off, dying in each others arms. I think it would have been easier to deal with, than to totally alter their characters. Neither one of them would have just given up and settled, in earlier books, but that's what Ms Harris seemed to forget again. Shame on her.
The story. Maybe Ms.Harris could of put forth a little more effort into the plot.
How could it? It's the last book of the series, which I adored for the most part.
Sookie of course. I always loved Pam.
Yes. It wasn't horrific.
I believe we, the fans who have come to love and cherish these books deserve more of a story. This book seemed like Harris just threw some ideas out there and settled. No great creativity seemed to go into it. I get it after 13 books Sookie's "been there and done that", and no new characters could really be introduced. But the characters she chosen to bring back were well, dumb, .Amelia was written out of the book as far as I'm concerned, as was her father, Bob, and the others I won't mention due to spoiling the story. I wish it could of been more focused on the core characters. But it went in so many different directions that the story didn't seem to be concrete.
After 13 books this final instalment felt completely out of place, as if the writer just went through the motions to conclude a story that she didn't enjoy anymore. The characters were shadows of their former selves, none exhibiting their usual characteristics that made me fall in love with them.It was also boring, the mundane details of Sookie's life were on the forefront and took up most of the time pushing the relationships and plot on the sidelines. I forgot what the story was about, so caught up with her checking her messages and emails. Her relationships as well were incredibly odd, her motivations, her love, it was as if none of the experiences she had in the past 12 books existed. What a pathetic end to this series. I wish I had never listened to it.
Say something about yourself!
Listened for Fun (Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 3.75
Character Rating: 4.75
Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought When Finished: Thank you Bon Temps and Charlaine Harris for all the good times over the years! You will be missed!
NOTE: I realize I am probably in the minority but I actually like how the end scene worked. I thought it held very true to who Sookie Stackhouse was from the beginning. She never wanted to be owned, controlled, or a side character in her own life. Even half way through the series, she was repeating that mantra.....
“I want to be first. I know that’s selfish, and maybe unattainable, and maybe shallow. But I just want to come first with someone. If that’s wrong of me, so be it. I’ll be wrong. But that’s the way I feel.” (Sookie Stackhouse)”― Charlaine Harris, From Dead to Worse
Story Thoughts: I have always read the Sookie Stackhouse series as a cozy mystery series with urban fantasy elements. She dated far to many men in 13 books for me to ever think of this as an Urban Fantasy with a romance end game. I think maybe that is the reason I had less problems with how the whole "romance" side of the story worked. I don't want to post spoilers (though I am pretty sure anyone not living under a rock knows) so I will just say that I always wanted her with someone who would put her first, love her for being Sookie (not her blood), and would respect her wishes. There were very few men in this series that actually held any of these attributes but gosh darn it she got to hook up with some hotties. Sookie's dating life had some awesome moments and if she was a scrapbooker--that would be one heck of a colorful memory book! That being said, I did think the mystery element in this entry was lacking and that was disappointing (aka the 3.75 for Story). It had some moments that were great but on a whole it was pretty predictable. I do think it tied up things nicely so that Sookie's life should be able to move forward on her own terms but it wasn't my favorite mystery in this series.
Character Thoughts: I love the characters in this series! Not a single one of them is perfect. They all have flaws. They all have humor. They all have loyalties. They all have unlikable character traits. Life experience had an impact on each of them, made them grow, made them more of themselves, and made them all interesting. I adore Bon Temps even when I wasn't quite impressed with the mysteries in certain books, I was always impressed with the people. I am sad to see their journeys come to an end (or at least the ones that I see) but I am glad I got to spend time with them in the first place! In other words, I will miss them but I do think it was time for them to ride off into the sunset, moonlight, or ever after!
Narrated by Johanna Parker/Running Time 10 hrs and 11 mins
I really like Johanna Parker's narration of this series. She has a good amount of southern in her (from timing, slow talking, emotion) narration and that just sells me. I will admit that this particular trait will make the narration not work for others. I have listened to the last few of these on audio and wish I would have done so from the beginning.
Final Thought: I realize that a LOT (judging by goodreads)of people will whole heartily disagree with me liking this book and in the end that is most wonderful thing about stories. They may never make everyone happy but they will make someone happy. I guess this time it was me :)
Read the spoiler if you want to know why this worked for me...
[Finally the quote that I think sums up why I didn't get mad when she didn't end up with Eric...
“Though I was having a blissful moment of being happy and content, I had one of those stray ideas you get at odd moments. I thought,How nice it would be if Eric were here with me in the car. He'd look so good with the wind blowing his hair, and he'd enjoy the moment . Well, yeah, before he burned to a crisp.
But I realized I'd thought of Eric because it was the kind of day you wanted to share with the person you cared about, the person whose company you enjoyed the most. And that would be Eric as he'd been while he was cursed by a witch: the Eric who hadn't been hardened by centuries of vampire politics, the Eric who had no contempt for humans and their affairs, the Eric who was not in charge of many financial enterprises and responsible for the lives and incomes of quite a few humans and vampires. In other words, Eric as he would never be again.” ― Charlaine Harris, Definitely Dead
I called it about book 6 that she would either end up with Sam or start a relationship with him. He was the only man through out the whole series that pretty much stuck by her no matter what. They were best friends and I am a sucker for friends to lovers storylines. I don't think it was the most romantic of endings and I am not sure if it will work out forever. Her relationship with Eric was HAWT (when it worked), ANNOYING (when he would lord over her), and UNPREDICTABLE (when he battled centuries of wanting power/control and she was being independent). Quinn was probably the only other guy I could have seen her with long term but even then I thought he might be to Alpha for Sookie too. She was very independent (stubbornly so) and long term I just didn't see her staying with someone that would challenge her every single day. Do I think Sam is Beta? In some ways, YES. I do think he has Alpha qualities (he is a provider, business owner, loyal, dependable) but he doesn't feel the need to control everything. I think his lone shifter mode perhaps made his personality more compatible long term with Sookie. At least in my mind. Will it be her hottest relationship? Nope that will always be Eric. Will it be her most stable one? I think so. I am sure that I was more #TeamStableGuy for long term Sookie because he could be with her in the sun. That was her favorite place to be and something none of her vampires could do. In the end, I didn't want anyone to change who they were. If Sookie gave in to Eric wanting to make her vampire--it would change her. If Eric gave in to her wanting him out of Vampire politics---it would have changed him. This is why this story worked for me but probably not for others that wanted the romantic ending that love will conquer all. I am sad that it was so disappointing for others and that the backlash has been so big. Though it is a huge investment and I can understand the passion behind the outcry. Books are made to bring out emotions and this one did that even if it wasn't an outpouring of love. Our time with Bon Temps is over (at least in print) but maybe for those that didn't get the ending you wanted here---you might get it on the show (where I am not rooting for Sam at all--talk about a character they have changed). There is always hope for you there :)
I like realistic books that stretch the truth and the laws of physics...and also emotionally resonant narration that doesn't suck.
The motivations of the bad guys out to get the main character were total garbage, and so were all the convenient inconsistencies that helped the story along. There have been some inconsistencies in the writing of these books before, but it's never been a big enough road block for me to begin to dismiss the story completely. This addition felt rushed and poorly thought out.
The narrator does a good job with the voice and accent of the main character, bringing the sultry and traditional elements of the south out in full color, though the voices and mannerisms she used for many of the other characters sounded unrealistic and stereotypical. Sam always sounded like a goofy little boy with a crush on the main character, not a grown man from Louisiana.
This book did not read like a SVM story. I felt like I was reading fan fiction story ideas. There was a very weak plot and uninteresting side stories. Ms. Harris seems to have wanted the readers to have one last visit from many old characters even if it was forcing a contrived story line. ****Spoiler****. It was ridiculous that Copley, Marley, Steve N and more were all murderously angry with Sookie. I don't mind that Sookie ends up with Sam, but the complete dismissal of Eric's character was disappointing. He was developed as a love interest for Sookie since book 2, growing even more important to each other after the summit. The characters in Book 13 had stark differences from the rest if the series. It was as if someone else wrote the book or that Ms Harris was sick of writing these stories and just wanted to end it. I would have been happier if she had stopped at 12 or maybe even earlier.
She developed Eric and then threw the character away without at realistic break up and good bye.
Diantha! Her fast talk makes me laugh.
Frustrated and disappointed.
All of it
To all the True Blood books, they are all good. You can't compare it to many other vampire books as True blood is completely different in so many ways, maybe to Vampire Diaries with humans and vamps cohabiting.
She did a really good job, adding all the different accent was a great addition.
It made me smile all the way through
Would definitely recommend as a great listen.
I felt obliged to mention my views on this because of all the negativity surrounding this release. I was rather dreading this finale to be honest, until it was finally released and my ears were overjoyed to listen to it at last.
The story nicely wraps things up in my opinion, I was always rooting for the particular romantic outcome that transpires so maybe I'm biased but there is no absolutely no decrease in writing skill nor lack of care in any aspect of this story as has been implied in many reviews on other websites. I love this finale and my only complaint is that there will be no more Sookie:(
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