Charlaine Harris’ final book in her much loved and popular series about the telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, from Bon Temps, Louisiana, was released this month. The reaction to Dead Ever After has been heated, to put it mildly. Hell hath no fury like thousands of women believing they have been cheated out of their happy ending.
Harris’ supernatural series, known to many as the True Blood books and to even more as The Southern Vampire Mysteries, has been around for quite a few years. Like many others, I hadn’t heard of it until the HBO show, True Blood, aired back in 2008. I picked up the first half dozen books instantly and got reading. I was hooked. I adored the sassy, ballsy heroine, Sookie, and loved hanging out with her at her job in Merlotte’s and at home in her grandmother’s house. Her life may not have been easy, but it was exciting, surrounded as she was by shifters and vampires. Sookie’s adventures were a mellow form of escapism for me. Harris is an entertaining writer and that’s why fans came back for more. We grew fond of Sookie and wanted to see what life had in store for her next.
However, the last couple of books haven’t been all that great. I only finished Deadlocked, the twelfth Sookie book, a week or so ago and could sum it up in one word, blah. Perhaps the author became bored with the characters after too many years and too many books, or maybe pressure from fans of the TV show got to be too much. Either way, it’s showing through her latest Sookie books. Since I didn’t love the last two books and book number 12, Deadlocked, was especially lacklustre and barely featured Eric – my absolute favourite of all Sookie’s love interests, I’m not going to be buying the last book any time soon. Perhaps when all the fuss and hatred (not an exaggeration – people are spitting mad) dies down, I’ll read it.
If you’re curious about the rage people are feeling after reading the final book, just go visit the reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. People are cancelling orders and demanding their money back in large droves. Fair enough some readers are annoyed by what they feel is less than quality writing, boring plots, continuity errors and so on, but those threatening to attack Harris and kill themselves because of the way Sookie’s story was wrapped up should consider therapy.
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From reading Deadlocked, it was pretty damn clear who Sookie WASN’T going to end up with, so if that’s a big cause of the anger, I don’t get it… Anyway, I put it to you, Gentle Reader. Should an author of romantic fiction pay attention to what thousands upon thousands of readers want? Or should a writer stick to her own path, fan reaction be damned.