My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I cannot express how glad I am that this series that I once loved is now finished. I’m not sure why the series had to decline so sharply in quality over the last few books, but it did. And with this last book, it continued that decline. No, it didn’t continue that decline; it jumped off a cliff and sank to the very bottom of the ocean in quality. It wasn’t just a little bad. It was horrible. It was awful. It was a cross between mind-numbingly bad and just plain torturous.
I know that some have been quick to say that the backlash related to this book has to do with who people ‘shipped Sookie with. Even though I’m a Sooric (Sookie/Eric shipper), I can honestly say that that has nothing to do with my distaste for this book. And I’m a bit perturbed that people think that upset fans are really that shallow. I would have been fine with her ending up with just about anyone in the franchise, as long as there was a proper build-up to the relationship. And even if it ended with a sudden relationship, like it did, I wouldn’t have dismissed the book as being bad just for that.
No, the reasons that this book sucks are a bit more complex than that.
1.) For the first nine books, Sookie had a definitive voice. She was likable. She was funny. She wasn’t always the brightest or least-self involved character in the world, but she wasn’t the most shallow and she wasn’t horribly rude. At some point in the tenth book, this changed. Sookie became more hateful. She became more judgmental. She became obsessed with the most idiotic things. She became a character that disgusted me. By the time I finished this book, I felt like I had been reading from the perspective of the villain for the last 13 books. She was just rude, bigoted, and selfish. She tried to make it seem like she was a good person, but it was quite clear in her attitude and dismissal of certain characters (and their species’ in general) that she was just as bad, if not worse, than the antagonists. Oh, and she wasn’t just judgmental of bad guys. No, she even judged Tara for still being two sizes bigger than she was pre-pregnancy. She just had twins and Sookie is judging her for not bouncing back quick enough. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Oh, and everything that Eric does in this book is somehow wrong. He comes to Sookie’s house to tell her that he still cares for her and is leaving someone outside to protect her since he can’t, and she gets pissed. He bails her out of jail, she gets pissed. He wants to keep her in his (un)life, she gets pissed. He agrees to being away from Pam and Karin for a longer period of time to keep her protected, she gets pissed. He makes it so that she can’t be hurt by any vampire ever, she gets pissed. She is just so pissy in this book.
2.) For a character who has been sexually assaulted and a writer who has as well, the lack of compassion for Eric being sold into sex slavery with his marriage to Freyda was appalling. (His being forced to have sex with Freyda is described as a cushy benefit of his job.) What was also appalling is that even after Bill attempted to rape Sookie in Club Dead and after finding out that their whole relationship was built on him using her, meaning that any sex that she consented to was consented to under false pretenses and was, therefore, akin to rape, Sookie is still attracted to him. She describes his kissing like it’s magical and wonderful. She lets him in her house whenever he wants. She doesn’t care that he brings along a character in the beginning of the book that is actually out to possibly impune her character. She gets all googly eyed when he’s around. If she can so easily dismiss Eric for being a vampire and therefore soulless, evil, etc., then why can’t she do that with Bill? Why is he immune to her bigotry?
3.) At one point, Sookie says that she doesn’t think that her relationship with Eric was meant to be because he wanted to save it using the cluviel dor. She doesn’t think magic should be used to save or create a relationship. She then turns around and hooks up with her “HEA” because the has opened his eyes to the fact that he wants to have a relationship (with wild seal sex) with her. If magic can doom her relationship with Eric, why can’t it doom the relationship with Sam? Because, technically, the only reason for their hookup is that she used magic.
4.) For twelve books, Sookie was the sole narrator. For twelve mysteries, we only knew what was happening in the story based on what Sookie knew. For twelve books, that format was good enough for all involved. Why, in the thirteenth and final book, do we have to go from first person (Sookie) to third person? It was annoying. It made it harder to read. And it just seemed lazy.
5.) Speaking of laziness, there were times when it seemed like CH just half-assed her way through chapters and scenes. Either we were being told every single mundane thing that some random character was doing, or we would get one or two sentences that seemed more like they were part of an outline for the story. It was annoying and I can’t believe that someone along the way didn’t pick up on how bad that made it look. Of course, there were other editing issues with this book, so I’m wondering if maybe the editor just ignored all the issues that were going on in the book.
6.) When Tyrese is given HIV as part of a Faustian deal (on page 17), I got a bit pissed. Using an illness as a punishment for someone selling their soul is just wrong on so many levels. It makes it seem like it is okay to say that anyone who ends up with a disease, especially a deadly disease, is somehow responsible for ending up with that disease. It makes it seem like diseases are punishments from a supernatural force. Equating the cause for having a disability with selling your soul/sinful behavior? It is offensive. Absolutely offensive.
7.) The character interactions were off. The whole story lacked flow, but the character interactions were some of the worst. It was almost like watching a student film where no one in the film actually knows how to act. Basically, reading the interactions was like watching a trainwreck…in slow motion.
8.) Speaking of the characters, was it really necessary to have so many of the less-important characters from past books in this particular book. Did we really need Barry and Quinn and Mr. C and Diantha and Amelia and Bob and Copley and Johan and on and on and on? I know that Charlaine probably wanted to have Sookie have this one last battle with all her friends and enemies, but it wasn’t really necessary. Sometimes less is actually more, especially when it comes to ending a series. It just seemed like overkill.
I didn’t enjoy this book. I can’t imagine anyone who has been a fan of the series enjoying it. I can’t even imagine non-fans enjoying it. If there were a way to give it an even more negative rating, I would because it deserves it. This book was nothing but a waste of time. It makes the whole series, a series that I used to enjoy, seem like a gigantic waste of time. Avoid this book if you can. Even if–no especially if–you loved the series.