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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Blood-A-Thon Book 9 - Dead and Gone

I made this: Avid Reader at 12:11 am
*****SPOILERS*****
*****SPOILERS*****
*****SPOILERS*****

After the vampire's mostly successful outing; the were's have decided to reveal their community also. On television and IRL. Sam changes into a friendly dog at his bar and after a few moments of shock; it seems like everyone is taking it pretty calmly.
Except for his long time waitress and Sookie's former friend Arlene. 

Never a gal afraid to take up an idea for a man; she has been slowly transforming herself into a grade A bigot in the later books to keep up with her Fellowship of the Sun boyfriend. She seems to be annoyed in three equal parts - firstly that Sam has lied to her; then that he's a 'freak' who can turn into animals and finally that the rest of the town seems to be taking it so calmly! (Nothing worse than getting all worked up then realising that no one else cares, is there?) She very loudly quits and walks out; while poochy Sam hams it up - feigning great sadness in his doggy state, winning over more hearts and minds.


While Sam is seemingly accepted; his mother is not so lucky. Her unaware husband and younger children (only the first born shifter inherits the were genes) had no idea of her monthly nocturnal activities. In fact, her husband utterly panics and shoots her. Sam has to go and check up on her; leaving Sookie running the bar. 

Eric is still not entirely sure what to make of his political situation. Among his greatest concerns is that his new King will see Sookie's great value and try to take her away, to serve as an unwilling slave. His high handed solution involves tricking Sookie into delivering a ceremonial knife to him. Hey Presto! They are now bonded in marriage - albeit a vampiric one that no other group recognises. While he swears that he is only doing this to protect Sookie; it certainly puts a cramp on their newly resumed relationship.

Great grandfather Niall briefly drops by to tell Sookie that she needs to be extra careful. Turns out he's at war with another faction of fairies - ones who hate humans - but particularly those who have some supernatural blood, believing that they are diluting the fairy species. They want Niall to block off the access to the fairy world. As much as he loves his great-granddaughter, the mere act of meeting her has placed her at risk. Which sort of pisses her off a bit.  

The FBI arrive to discuss Sookie's telepathy, which was partially exposed when she and Barry hunted for survivors in the wreckage of the hotel in a previous book. While they are there; Sookie is shocked and horrified to see her sister in law crucified outside Merlotte's - killed in an agonising way. Just to add to the emotional punch; Crystal was still pregnant at the time. Once more, Jason is briefly a suspect, though he is cleared somewhat quicker than usual when the FBI decide that it's more likely a hate crime against were's. 

Arlene calls Sookie ostensibly to make amends; arranging a meet up at her trailer. She even promises that Sookie can see her kids. More suspicious than usual; Sookie uses her ability from a bit of a distance and discovers that Arlene is setting her up to be murdered! Friends like those eh? She calls the FBI who arrive in the nick of time, saving her and arresting Arlene and some of her bigoted FoS friends. Sookie also discovers that while they were quite happy to kill her in the same blood thirsty and horrible manner as Crystal; they hadn't actually committed the original crime.  

Sookie and Claudine
Turns out two evil fairies - Lochlan and Neave (Neave? NEAVE? NEAVE?!?! *HEAD EXPLODES IN RAGE!!!*) - were responsible for Crystal's Crucifixion (she was originally injured by a gay were-panther who had fallen in love with Jason. *GROAN*) as she was pregnant with partially fae genes. They kidnap Sookie, torture her to the point of utter despair and long before they are close to being finished with her, she wishes for death. Ultimately Bill and Niall rescue her and bring her to Eric at the supernatural hospital. Bill is very badly injured in the process but honoured to have served Sookie. Eric provides his wife with more of his blood, concerned that they are reaching a threshold that should not be crossed. Sookie tells him that she begged for him but he never came to find her. They are both a bit heartbroken over it. He promises to explain all once the battle of fae is over.


Niall and Claudine - Sookie's fairy godmother - reveal to her that Lochlan and Neave (AAARRRGGGHHHH!) actually killed her parents. They are water fae who caused the pair to drown, assisted by a part-fae who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jason. This is one of the reasons that Niall is so indifferent to the rakish Jason. Claudine also casually reveals that she is pregnant with a full blood fairy - a matter of great joy for her people. She keeps Sookie company - knitting an item of baby clothes -  for a bit before the baddies arrive. 

The battle is short and bloody. Sookie had done some homework and manages to injure the main baddie by hitting him with lemon juice in a squirt gun - almost as bad for fairies as iron. While Sookie manages to survive, her fairy godmother Claudine and her were bodyguard Tray Dawson (who was dating Amelia) are less fortunate. Bill and Eric together bring down the big bad. 

Sookie lives, but knows that she will never be the same again. She and Eric are at a cross-roads. Bill (unfortunately) will survive. Niall - horrified at what his people have done - decides to close access to the fairy world after all. 

A bleak ending.  

*****

Bit of a disappointment this one. In an effort to keep the suspense built up; the author utterly failed to deliver any of the story lines that I actually care about - such as Eric or the fairy lineage - instead focusing on disperate strands I really don't - the were's and Jason. Don't get me wrong; as support staff, j'adore le Jason, but not as much as this book seems to cater to.

The whole gay were-panther thing was both sad and awful in equal parts. Yes, it's a tragedy that he felt so alienated from his people because of his orientation. But I'm so sick of the whole agressive gay stereotype. As if he ever believed for a second that a hound dog like Jason would switch his sexual preferences beacause his wife was dead? It's just stupid. Really left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. 

I was impressed with how Jason took the whole 'we have family and they don't want to know you' reveal. He handled it in a more mature way than I expected to be honest. 


The whole fairy resolution seemed to come out of nowhere a bit. It was interesting, but felt like a distraction from the Eric and Sookie storyline. Like the whole drowning parents thing. I don't know if the author had this in mind from the start, but somehow, I doubt it. 


Not one but two characters die while carrying a child. Crystal's death was truely shocking, but Claudine's had a little less impact. It was bad enough that she died, but to have her all sprogged up - rather than pull on my heart strings, it annoyed me. I hate feeling manipulated into grief. Sort of ruins the effect for me.

Neave? Don't even get me started. Why bother use Irish names if you aren't even going to spell them properly? I'm disgusted. Grrrr. 


And why was Bill the one to rescue Sookie? Where the hell was Eric? You know, the guy who married her?!? 


Still, I can't deny that I was hooked from start to finish. I couldn't put it down, especially once Sookie was kidnapped. Looking forward to the next book. There had better be some answers!!


Score 6/10


Blood-A-Thon Reviews
Book 1  - 2001 Dead Until Dark
Book 2  - 2002 Living Dead in Dallas
Book 3  - 2003 Club Dead
Book 4  - 2004 Dead to the World
Book 5  - 2005 Dead As A Doornail
Book 6  - 2006 Definately Dead
Book 7  - 2007 All Together Dead
Book 8  - 2008 From Dead To Worse
Book 9  - 2009 Dead and Gone
Book 10 - 2010 Dead in the Family
Book 11 - 2011 Dead Reckoning

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