Plot Type: UF
A Touch of Dead (2009, contains all of the Sookie Stackhouse short stories)
Now…for the content. Harris has always said that this book would be a coda: an afterward or summary of the characters' future lives. A coda is generally brief and to the point, particularly when you're dealing with a huge cast of characters, and that's what this book contains. The characters are arranged alphabetically, beginning with the Ancient Pythoness (from All Together Dead) and ending with Bethany Zanelli (couldn't find her in any of the books, including The SS Companion). Some characters rate a sentence; most get a short paragraph; and the main ones get a page or two. Some of the entries overlap, as when one character marries another or one character's children marry those of another character. You'll learn the answers to many fateful questions: Will Jane Bodehouse dry out and join AA? Does Jason remain faithful to Michele? Do they have children? Does Niall ever contact Sookie? Where is Bubba? What happens to Hadley's son, Hunter Savoy? Does Barry the Bellboy get pulled into vampire life because of his telepathy skills or does he escape? Do Tara's twins stay in Bon Temps? What happens between Quinn and the mother of his children? (Note: Harris hints that she may have more stories ahead for Barry and Quinn.) By the end, the reader has a clear picture of what happens in Sookie's world during the next few decades. That's what Harris said she would do in this book, and she definitely does it.
Some reviewers are upset with the brevity of some of the entries, but I don't entirely agree. If a minor character dies of a venereal disease, for example, how much more do you need to know? Harris maintains her usual dry humor and her sense of humanity as she maps out each character's life, so she weaves both smiles and tears through the entries. One of my favorite entries was the one for Amelia Broadway—her son's name and his choice of careers are both a hilarious link to his father's troubles in Definitely Dead.
Of course, the entries for Sookie, Sam, Bill, and Eric are longer than the rest, and that is to be expected. You'll be surprised at how well everyone's life turns out, particularly Bill and Eric. I give it four stars for content.
I have read all of the books, but I have also watched all of the True Blood episodes, and I have to admit that I had to stop and concentrate sometimes to keep my thoughts on the books and not the TV shows, which are by now entirely different in their story lines, even for the most familiar characters (Tara and Jason being prime examples). All in all, though, I'm glad that I bought the book. It's a beautifully crafted object that contains a wealth of information about a large group of characters that I have come to know well over the past decade. I consider it to be a handsome addition to my bookshelf, and I think that its selling price is quite fair because of its quality design and construction as well as its content.
If, like me, your memory of some of the minor characters is a bit fuzzy, check out these references:
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: Look for the section entitled "A Guide to the World of Sookie Stackhouse." It begins on page 313 and contains annotations on nearly every character in the books (but not Bethany Zanelli).
Here are two Internet sites that provide annotations for many of the characters: Click HERE to go to annotations on the main characters and the top supporting characters. Click HERE to go to a longer list of annotations that includes characters who made it to the end as well as those who didn't.
Now, let's get to the review, which won't give many details because I hate Spoilers. Needless to say, Harris ties up a lot of loose ends in this final episode in Sookie's life. Several characters from previous relationships and entanglements return—both good guys and bad guys—and they play significant parts in our final visit to Bon Temps, Louisiana.
I suggest that you read the book without perusing the amazon reviews (too many Spoilers) and make your own judgment. Just remember though, that Sookie's choice won't be Alexander Skarsgård or Stephen Moyer or Sam Trammell or Joe Manganiello. Those are True Blood's actors—not Charlaine Harris's characters—and there are many, many differences between the TV characters and the print characters.
I'm looking forward to reading After Dead, the coda to the series. This book will contain a list of characters arranged alphabetically with information about what the future holds for each one. It will even include an update on Sookie's own HEA. Series artist Lisa Desimini has designed a Sookieverse alphabet, color endpapers, and several full-page black and white interior illustrations.
After you read Dead Ever After, click HERE to read posts on the "Dead Ever After Spoilers and Speculation" forum on amazon.com.
Harris has also collaborated on a video game, Dying for Daylight, that takes place in the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE world. Click HERE to go to that web site.