Spoiler alert! If you haven’t read the last Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Ever After, by Charlaine Harris, but plan to read it, I would suggest that you do not read this post.
I followed Sookie Stackhouse on her adventures before the TV-series True Blood made her so famous. I remember seeing one of the books in a bookstore with this cool and colorful cover. I picked up the book, read about it and decided I had to begin to read the series. Before True Blood first aired, I had read all the books that then were on the market. After that I continued to read. Even when I felt that the series had lost something and that Harris probably should start thinking about ending it.
Yesterday I finished the last of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. More than anything it was a book that tied up loose ends, even ends that I didn’t find particularly loose. I’m all for tying up loose ends, all for getting a good and clear ending, but in this book she brought in bad guys that I had considered over and done with. They were gone from Sookies life and gone from the story. But now they were back in a last attempt to get revenge on Sookie, by getting her in jail or, failing that, killing her. There was no new bad guy, but several old ones. Unsurprisingly, they all died. If they had done anything else, they would still be considered loose ends, I guess.
In my mind Harris lost some of the fire in the books, several books ago. It was almost too easy to guess what would happen, early on. Both with Sookie, the bad guys and in Sookies love life. (Normal life, some big thing, someone wants to hurt Sookie or blame her for something bad, hot sex, Sookie must be brave and do something dangerous, Sookie quarrels with her boyfriend – whoever that might be at the moment – Sookie gets beaten up before, or while, she figures out who the bad guy is, Sookie gets saved, maybe hot sex again.) This book was not really any different, but the fact that it was the last book about Sookie changed it a bit. For one thing, this time when I understood who her love affair would be, I knew that this was the last one; this was the guy she would end up with. Or, if she didn’t end up with him, the rest of us wouldn’t know; the series would have ended.
Another thing that was a nice change was that even if Sookie got through many trials, she had more friends and helpers by her side than ever before. Everyone she had become friends with throughout the series came rushing in to help her. There were some twist and turns, naturally, but she got a lot of help. Sookie, who was quite a loner to begin with, was now surrounded by friends. That was kinda nice, but again, everyone from earlier books came through this one, to say hi and goodbye, one last time.
The book was the end of the series and it was full of endings, but in and for itself it had no story, no purpose other than being the end. All in all, it was a summary of all the other books. Harris herself stated that this was the end she had thought about writing all along, something I myself have wondered about; why she wasn’t ending it and how she planned to do so, when the time came. Of course I don’t know if she really planned this end or not, but it doesn’t feel planned to me. It feels more like someone finally told Harris it was time to pack up, cut the ties and let Sookie – and the moneymaker that she is – go.
That has been the problem in the last books, the way I see it. I really liked the series, really, really liked it. I have read the first few books more times than I can count. But in the last few years the series has lost its fire, thrill and originality. The last four or five books has been the same story spun in a different way, more or less. And I got the feeling that Harris used Sookie and the series. That she didn’t end it because she was earning a lot of money writing it, and not because she actually had more to say. That is not a good feeling to get when you read something that you initially enjoyed.
So Sookie and her universe are now put to rest and not a bit too early. While I do feel a little sad, it’s also good to know that it will not get any worse now and that when I want to read about Sookie again, I can always take one of the first books from the shelf.
(If you are one of those that enjoyed Sookie and her friends to the very end; I’m happy for you. I wish I could have done the same, it would have felt better, but it wasn’t for me. Different people like different things and have different opinions.)