Read for the RIP IV and Vampire Reading Challenges.
This is the fifth book of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and it’s quite as enjoyable as the ones that have gone before.
One thing I’ve grown to appreciate about these books is Charlaine Harris’ ability to weave together at least three separate plot lines that by the end of the book may or may not be actually related. It’s always a fun ride to see where things are going to go.
In this book, Sookie’s brother Jason has become a were-Panther (but only in the half-man, half-panther sense, since he was bitten, not born that way), just in time for someone to start shooting and occasionally killing the local shapeshifters. Sam’s shot, though not killed, but out of commission enough that he pulls in a favor from Eric and borrows a vampire to serve as temporary bartender at Merlotte’s while he’s healing. The substitute vampire is a pirate, and ends up staying with Sookie, when someone sets fire to her house. And finally, the werewolf pack leader of Shreveport has died, and as a friend of the pack, Sookie is witness to the contests to pick a new pack leader. Seem convoluted enough yet? There’s actually more, but those are the highlights. And it all works.
What I also appreciate about these books is they’re all a light read. I started this one last night, and had to go to bed with only two chapters left, only because I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. There are way too many vampire themed novels (not that this series hasn’t started to branch outside the vampire genre) that take themselves way too seriously, but you'd never be able to accuse these books of that. I love these stories because Sookie is a real person (who happens to be a telepath), dealing with her imperfect love life (sure, all her exes happen to be supes), and her crazy neighbors (ok, so many of them are also supes). These books have a really refreshing air of realness around them, even amongst the supernatural mayhem. They’re just great fun.