Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris I read this right when it came out, and have been spending all this time thinking about what to say about it. I enjoyed the book a lot, overall, and I see that not everyone did.

One thing I particularly enjoyed was the fact that all of the characters have changed so much. Sookie is thinking in much more ruthless terms than she used to, and that is perfectly understandable after everything she has been through. She even looked into herself and realized she felt less guilt about the deaths of vampires than she did about non-vampires. These are all things that I'm glad to see her examining. She's also finally really starting to think about the things she wants for herself for her future, and looking at whether or not she can have all of this with a vampire. I know some saw this as foreshadowing that her relationship with Eric is doomed. I say it's still uncertain. These are things she needs to figure out. If she were with Bill, she would still need to look at these things.

I remember Eric, way back in book three or so, lamenting that he hated having feelings. As if feelings are cooties. And now, he unashamedly professes his love for Sookie without hesitation. Of course, it's my opinion that he has loved her for a long time, but only recently has found the confidence to allow himself the vulnerability that comes with admitting it. And, it's my opinion that Pam knew he was in love with Sookie long before Eric was willing to admit to his feelings.

I appreciated the conclusion with Bill. Sookie's feelings still seem to be a little bit mixed there, but that's pretty natural, I think. A lot of people have a lot of conflicting emotions when it comes to their ex, even when they know that the relationship is wrong for them.

I also really enjoyed seeing more of Claude. I can't necessarily fit him in the category of someone who has changed a lot, simply because we've never really had the chance to know him very well. Maybe he always loved children and this is just our first opportunity to see that side of him. At any rate, I enjoy him immensely and am crossing my fingers that there will be more of him in the future. I'm also interested in seeing more of Dermot.

I could have done without Alexis, I admit. Something about that whole thing just didn't feel right to me. Of course, he was the catalyst for Eric's sire coming around again, but I still think the story could have done without him. I think he was the only thing I didn't really care for in the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I know some people see characters growing and changing as bad characterization, but that's not how it works in real life. People don't stay the same. Sookie is finally growing up and becoming more mature. And although it's rather late, so is Eric.