SPOILER ALERT!
Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse, #13) - Charlaine Harris

I've been torn between rating this 3 or 2 stars. I guess it's perhaps a 2.5. When I initially got started with this, I was enjoying the heck out of it, and figured on a solid 4 stars. The reason only 4 when I was enjoying it was because I was not thrilled with the format in this one that included third person segments featuring other people. It veers away from the style of the rest of the series and just felt out of place and totally unnecessary. But I was intrigued by the initial plot and was sucked in right away.

I don't feel I can continue talking about this book without MASSIVE SPOILERS. So, if you haven't read the book and are trying to decide whether or not you want to, this is not the review for you to read. You've been warned. SPOILERS AHEAD.

As I said, I initially found the plot interesting, with regard to the people plotting against Sookie, and with Arlene's murder. It has been obvious since at least the previous book that the author was arranging for Sookie and Sam to wind up together. It was obvious long before that that she and Eric were not going to last. If anything, that was dragged out beyond where it should have.

I admit, I was a fan of Eric. He did a number of bad things, but compared to every other man Sookie had a relationship with, he was far and away the least abusive. That's not saying much, considering Bill fed on her against her will and raped her in the trunk of a car, paid people to attack her in order to get close enough to seduce and spy on her, and frankly, for a while I was angry that she chose to forgive him for all that. Quinn didn't have me particularly impressed either. He seemed overly pushy sexually, even when Sookie wasn't necessarily in the mood. And then he blamed her for not being able to deal with all of his baggage. It never sat right with me. Eric had many problems himself, from tricking her into drinking his blood, tricking her into a marriage, and apparently contemplating turning her into a vampire against her will.

So, it was predictable that in the end, Sam was the one she'd wind up with. And he's okay. I don't mind him. Unfortunately, that's as strong as my feelings go, there. The way she wound up with him was sensible. It fit her character to want to be cautious and go more slowly. It was satisfactory.

I really wasn't thrilled with the resolution with any of the antagonists. Tyrese, well, I couldn't feel bad for him. I consider his bargain to win the love of Gypsy to have been no better than rape. His rage over her suicide was obviously misdirected, but everyone could see he wasn't right in the head. Carmichael's capture felt like Deus Ex Machina, and rather abrupt. It was a bit of a letdown, having that all handled for her. And I wasn't thrilled with Sookie's decision to give him over to Pam. The worst of it was the last confrontation, though, with Newlin, Claude, and the lawyer whose name I just read hours ago and have already forgotten. I admit I had a soft spot for Claude. I felt his interaction with Hunter was a sign of at least some small spark of good in him. I can accept being wrong, and apparently I was. What bothered me was Sookie's lack of feeling regarding his end. This guy was part of her family. He'd shared space in her bed when they'd been lonely, played with Hunter. And yet she felt no sorrow over the way things turned out. Certainly she should be angry at the things he'd done, but her apathy regarding his death really turned me off.

I wasn't thrilled with Eric's resolution. I'm not sure what I wanted for him, but his brush off seemed unsatisfactory given the prominence this character has had throughout the series.

I will say I was pleased with Pam getting to replace him as Sheriff. For some reason I'd been expecting that to be Bill, but I'm glad it turned out to be Pam. She actually made the most sense, after thinking it through.

So, overall, it was an okay, lackluster ending, in my opinion. There were things I liked, but a good amount was disappointing, too.