Sookie has a murder investigation on her hands. A young girl has died at a vampire party - and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn't do it, the police don't believe him, and even Sookie isn't so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, not having caught him enjoying the victim's blood minutes before she was killed. But something strange is going on. Why had Sookie been asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early - just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her own blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistable, or was it something more sinister? Sookie will have to find out ... but it's the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in. And there is one last complication. The cluviel dor her grandmother left her. It will grant her one wish, which could fulfil Sookie's heart's desire. The only problem is, she still doesn't know what - or who - her heart truly desires...
The end of the Sookie Stackhouse series is in sight (for me at least as I wait for the paperbacks to come out!) and once again it was nice to revisit Sookie and her world. I find it difficult to remember that for her only two years have passed since Bill Compton first walked into Merlottes but for it’s been over 10 years. Sookie’s world has always been a mixture of the miniature of life (shopping, birthday cards, sunbathing, shaving her legs etc) with some serious violence and supernatural politics. This visit to Bon Temps was like seeing old school friends again after an absence – you remember the good times and catch up but you know you’ll never re-capture that closeness you had when you were fifteen.
Sookie and her vampire honey, Eric are having issues – partly due to someone trying to frame Eric for murder of a fangbanger and partly as struggle to reconcile some pretty big differences in their attitudes. Adding to the difficulties are the motley mixture of fae Sookie’s cousin Claude has been collecting at his strip club and some power struggles within the local werewolf pack. One issue with Sookie’s world is the number of different plot lines that don’t always go together well – my favourite books have always been the ones that have focused on a single plot line (Vampire summit, Hadley’s murder, Bill’s disappearance etc). Here the different strands of plots meant that I struggled to follow what was going on and the climax had less impact as a result. It was like trying to follow a single strand of spaghetti on a full plate.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. Sookie is never less than a likeable character who’s absolutes of right and wrong have become greyer over time. She’s more than happy to lie to the police to protect Eric and the vampires, yet is still kind and true in her friendships. The writing is so cosy and warm – Charlaine’s writing always makes me feel like I’m sinking into a huge armchair covered in cushions. Overall, this had a definite sense that the end is in sight with some plot strands wound up and some happy ending on the horizon. While people often say the series isn’t as good as it once I actually think the series has remained remarkably consistent over the last ten years. It’s one of the first UF (Rural) Fantasy series I read and I have never felt like dropping the series. I am looking forward to the final book in the series and think it’s right that we leave Sookie to some (hopefully) quiet time.
Recommended for fans of Rachel Caine and Patricia Briggs. 7 out of 10.