I think I'll have to work backwards on reviews.
So, I will start with the book I had most looked forward to this year: Charlaine Harris' Dead in the Family. The latest in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
We needed a little breather after book 9 (Dead and Gone). This book delivered that breather, allowed the reader to heal along with Sookie. And, for those of us that are fans of Eric, this book was almost as heavenly as Dead to the World, if not more so, because it was real Eric and not amnesia Eric. Ms. Harris has done a fabulous job of setting us up for the next book or books. I'm anticipating big things with Victor and of course the road trip with Sam. There was also plenty of teasing about Sookie's attic. That was kind of a nod to Ms. Harris' online community. People have been asking her on there since book one what kind of treasures are hidden in the attic.
There were some loose ends tied up, Bill's silver poisoning, for one. I was happy with how that turned out, and was pleasantly surprised in how Bill was healed and have hope for his future happiness. Bill's story tied nicely into the title and theme of family.
It was great to see Hunter in this book. I hope Sookie will be around to ease his childhood. She's definitely a great asset to Hunter and Remy. Hunter and Remy's appearance also tied into the theme of Family.
One of the biggest loose ends that were addressed, which fae were left in the human world when the portals were closed by Niall? Claude of course remained. But there were two others, that possibly wished Sookie harm. I was happy with how that story line came out. It really tied into the Dead in the Family title.
We got to see some peeks of Eric's home in Shreveport. And, got more insight into the family he has created with Pam and some of his other minions. We learned why Eric did not come to rescue Sookie from her fairy torturers. My theory that he was debilitated by feeling her pain and maybe sending her strength through their bond to help her survive it was only partially correct, and definitely not the whole story. As I alluded to earlier, Sookie and Eric explore having a real relationship in this installment, and for Team Eric members, like myself, it was exactly what I could have hoped for.
I have doubts that Sookie will end up with Eric, as much as I may wish it, but I am willing to trust in Ms. Harris' wisdom in the matter of Sookie's love life and how it ultimately resolves.
Let's see, loose ends....one that sill involves Eric is that we meet Eric's maker. He arrives with Eric's "brother" in tow and really shakes things up for both Eric at work at Fangtasia and the new family Eric has created for himself and between Eric and Sookie. We learn a little more about the blood bond, and Sookie realizes that she also has a tie to Eric's maker through her bond with Eric. Interestingly enough, she never mentions much about being affected by Pam due to the blood bond, even though she is Eric's child.
There is reference to the upcoming wedding of Sam's brother, and Sookie is still planning to attend that with Sam, although she is worried about how that will go over with Eric.
Eric is still trying to find his place in the new regime, and that involves some head-butting with Victor, who seems to want more than just being King Felipe's johnny on the spot in Louisiana. There has been some great set up for a future showdown between Eric and Victor.
I think that just leaves Jason to touch on and finish up the theme of Family. Jason is the most likeable that he's probably ever been. Jason finally seems to have matured, he is in a mature relationship for the first time. He seems to value that Sookie is his sister and his last remaining human relative. It was nice to be able to finally like Jason.
I lied, I wanted to say a litttle more about Claude. We finally got to see more of him, and he is one of Sookie's few relatives. He seems to be really committed to living as a human, and it was nice to see a more unselfish side of him.
The werewolves of Shreveport also showed up in this installment. Alcide was up to his old tricks. I don't know that he'll ever learn he would have a lot more of Sookie's respect if he were just honest from the beginning. But we did get a peek at the Shreveport pack and how it's doing with Alcide as packmaster.
In case you weren't sure, I highly recommend this book, and the whole series. I wish I didn't have to wait a year for the next book!