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 have had this book in my library for nearly a year and had not listened to it until now because of all the horrible reviews it received. I was content to like Sookie and the rest of the characters just the way I remembered them. Then one day I was looking at my unread books and I felt bad that this one had been sitting for so long so I hit play. So here's the thing, I didn't hate this book. Maybe that's because I was expecting to be super disappointed and so anything above my expectation was an improvement but it was ok.
I was pretty disappointed that many of the characters acted way differently in this book than they did in the past and that the ending was rushed. It seamed like the author just wasn't into it and wanted to tie up the loose ends so she could stop writing.
I'm glad I listened but I am also relieved that it's over.
AKA The Geeky Blogger
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 :)
There are obvious differences in structure, but they weren't my main concern. Narration switches from Sookie's to other characters' perspectives, and we jump around in time a bit, neither of which I remember from other books. Still, when we were in Sookie's chapters the voice was definitely the Sookie I've come to love.
The real problems are plot and pacing.
There's a mystery or two around Sam that is resolved in the most rushed and ridiculous way. That plot just makes no sense, and I think it wouldn't have taken that much to close some of the holes in it.
Sookie's romantic situation also goes through certain changes without much import of romance or of loss, and that was disappointing. She's always had grace (Miranda Lambert take note) in painful situations, but here a lot of what must be painful and what must be happening in her heart is just not covered. Is she supposed to be numb? Aren't these basically romance novels? The denouement especially has a lot of shortcomings, and I stopped the book a couple of times in disbelief.
It might make more sense if I had the last novel fresh in my head. I remember liking it less than this, so I'm not about to go back, but if you haven't started this yet, maybe re-read the last book to get your head in the place Sookie's head is in before starting this.
Johanna Parker is fantastic as always. I look forward to listening to more books of hers. Despite the shortcomings in the middle, I listened to most of the book eagerly and am glad I revisited Bon Temps one last time.
Okay okay I get it. It can't realły be what I think of as not-so-good ending when it's the author's "world" and she decides everything in it but.....I'm soooo disappointed. It was very unsatisfying after a 13 book series total. I feel like the whole arc of the series was to really understand her and Eric together, and I realize allllll the many reasons why that's a tough one, so would it really have been so bad for her to have an HEA with him? (There are ways she could have had Freyda taken out of the equation). She mentions in the last paragraph she would survive if her and Sam didn't work out. I understand "girl power" but is believing in love (even if I'm sad over who the beau is at the end), and declaring her character happy and with a partner in life so bad?
Thank you for a great series Mrs. Harris, you are so talented and your Sookie books have brought me much enjoyment, but I'm sorry to say I wish it ended differently!
Erin McCarthy Fast Track series
Great as usual! I have to admit it took a few false starts to warm up to her on the first book but either I got used to her accent, she toned it down a bit, or a combo of both, but this one has been just as good as the rest of the series. You definitely end up thinking she IS Sookie!
The best thing I liked is that it was a Sookie Stackhouse book,the least thing I liked was the story.
It seemed as though Charlaine was tired of writing about Sookie. The story was was not up to par with the rest of the series and seemed rushed at points and slow at other points. At the end of book 12 Sookie saves a life. That person turns their back on Sookie throughout the majority of this book. It was depressing that when Sookie needed Eric and Sam the most they were not there for her. Eric...Ugh don't even start me going down that path. Eric was the biggest disappointment in this book. For someone who fought so hard to get Sookie throughout the series and then to abandon her without a supreme fight almost made me want to put the book down all together.
Sookie Stackhouse! To me Johanna Parker IS Sookie.
Yes, it made me want to beat the heck out of Eric Northman!
I feel as though we lost of piece of Sookie in this book. Yes girl power blah blah blah but Sookie was crapped on by everyone she cared about in this book and she's going to sit idly by and hook up with a man that she never liked "in that way" because she believed that saving him made them magically closer? Give me a break. I have enjoyed the rest of the series but believe that Charlaine just wanted the story to be over and word vomited this book out so she would not have to deal with it anymore. Boo to you!
This book added nothing to the series. The previous book, as-is, would have been a much better end to the series. It was poorly written in many places and felt rushed.
Made the book less of a reunion of all past favorite characters. It stretches credulity and weakens them all.
She has a lovely accent, and each character has a very distinctive voice.
In many of the books, Sookie is badly beaten or threatened with rape. I generally skip those parts on repeated listenings. This is one of the few books in the series where no one beats the crap out of the protagonist, or tortures her, or nearly rapes her.
"reading junkie" I read or listen to almost anything except for non-fiction or history, unless I find it interesting.
I almost did not purchase this book because so many people did not like it. I decided i might as well see the series to its conculsion. I would like to say that if you remove Sookie's love life from the story that it's almost as good as most of the earlier books. I think if you listened to or read the others don't skip it.
This entire series has been about Sookie's growth as a character. In the first book we met a social outcast, a recluse, crippled by her telepathy and terrified of herself. She was the perfect victim, because she had no self-confidence, and was semingly unable to take control of the events effecting her life. In the past few books, and especially in this one, we see a stronger, smarter, more resiliant Sookie, who has learned to value herself and her abilities and who has decided to take control of her own future--as much as anybody can.
While I, like most other readers, enjoyed the ins and outs of Sookie'sromantic life throughout this series, the underlying story was of her coming into her own.
"I also knew, that if he turned away from me at this moment, I would survive that, and I would find a way to flourish...I'm Sookie Stackhouse, and I belong here."
If you're a shipper with a particular adgenda, beware, you may be disappointed. If you've been reading between the lines, you can pretty much guess how this story ends. The curtain comes down on Bon Temps with only the faintest shaddow of vampires in the wings. And while Sookie's future is uncertain, it's not without the hope of love on the horizon.
Absolutely. I came very close to calling out from work so I could spend some quality couch time with this novel. I resisted the impulse, but I definitely spent my entire commute and my lunch break with Johanna Parker's excellent narration keeping me company.
If you've put time and emotional energy into reading this series for the past few years, read this one. Yes, there is a distinct air of "tying up loose ends" at various points throughout the book, but you'll be left with a sense of satisfaction for having seen Sookie through to the end of her journey.
I am a voracious reader (average about 4-5 Audible books a week, in addition to those I "eyeball".) I have been hooked on recorded books since the time of cassettes/CDs and was thrilled when I became an Audible member in 2007. I find reader reviews good guides to spending my credits, so have finally decided to write a few (although, I would rather be reading!)
This is definitely not the best book in the series, but was still an enjoyable read. I think a lot of the inconsistency is due to Ms. Harris trying to give a cameo to as many of the pertinent characters in the series as possible, which led to some odd transitions in place, time and point of view. I was afraid that Ms. Harris would present a Seinfeldesque trial with all the past characters appearing in court, but at least we were spared something that derivative (although I did chuckle at Sookie's reminisces in jail of all the people she had killed.)
I think this will be a enjoyable read to anyone fan of the series who doesn't have an emotional investment as to the outcome. Yes, the plot was a bit contrived, the loose ends all tied up a bit too neatly (and everyone seems to be getting married or birthing babies, so may come off as a bit saccharine to those of us who like a bit more sauce or action in our books.) But, if you lower you expectations and enjoy Johanna Parker's stellar delivery, especially of those very Sookie phrases (e.g., "someone pushed the perc button on their ethical coffee maker"), this will be a credit you will not regret spending.
Although this may be the last Sookie Stackhouse book, I would not be shocked if Ms. Harris features some of the characters in future books outside of Bon Temps (much like Kelley Armstrong has created 2 YA trilogies in her Otherworld milieu.) Still, I will miss the unique voice of Sookie in future books. I am fond of Ms. Harris's other works (especially the Harper Connelly series), so I look forward to her future efforts.
Wow...what a journey it has been. Sookie...you will be missed, especially as read by Miss Johanna Parker who has done such an incredible job bringing her and all the crazy characters of BonTemps to life all these years.
I was not disappointed by the ending. I felt like the last several books have been preparing us readers for what happens in this book. I think people who just really wanted to see a SPECIFIC HEA with a certain love interest are hollering about being disappointed. Which I really feel is too bad, and unfair. If you stop and see who Sookie is, what she loves, what she hopes for and dreams to have one day...what transpires makes sense.
Ms. Harris had a lot to cover in this book, and a lot of characters were brought in that have touched Sookie's life over the years. She handles it with aplumb. Again, people have complained about mundane details...but those little snippets of ordinary life have always been a part of the series, as much as some amazing sex and unforgettable get out of a jam sequences! It was all there for book number 13. Not sure it was lucky 13... there are probably other books that will remain my personal favorite but it is for varying reasons.
But overall, I thought this was a good book. I listened to it almost straight through. Partially, because I wanted to know HOW it all ended, but also I was caught up in the story. Thanks Charlaine!!
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