RELEASE DATE: 2009
PAPERBACK: 324 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
As a person with so few living relatives, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never guessed that it would be her cousin Hadley—a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. After all, technically speaking, Hadley was already dead. And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers the inheritance definitely comes with a risk. Someone doesn’t want Sookie looking too deeply into Hadley’s past—or for that matter, Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. But who? The range of suspects runs from the Rogue Weres who reject Sookie as a friend of the Pack to the Vampire Queen herself, who could be working through a particularly vulnerable subject—Sookie’s first love, Bill. (Goodreads)
I think it would be fair to say that DEFINITELY DEAD wasn’t my favourite book of the series. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but the problem was I missed some of my favourite characters were either absent or only in it for a few scenes.
I also had a bit of a bugbear as for a while I thought I’d started reading the wrong book in the series. I was a bit baffled as the story kept referring to the murder of Sookie’s cousin as an event that happened in the last book. But I’d only read the last book 3 weeks before, and I can assure you that it hadn’t! After a bit of internet research, it turns out that Sookie’s cousin was murdered in an interim short story that Harris published in an anthology prior to DEFINITELY DEAD’s publication. Now, I don’t mind that there are mini short stories out there, but as I’m not a great fan of anthologies I often chose not to read them. So it did irritate me that an anthology that I was unaware of basically had set up the entire premise for this book.
I had to sort of put this to one side, but it did feel like I was playing catch up for part of the book, which caused a few grumbles on my part.
Once again Sookie goes off on a road trip (honestly, how does she keep her job?!), as she goes to New Orleans to pack up Hadley’s flat and claim her inheritance. Of course nothing is ever that simple in Sookie’s world, cue an attempt on her life and it all gets a bit deadly.
I have to agree with Laura on the big chunks of timeline that appears to be missing. You are just expected to accept that Sookie’s cousin, Hadley has died, but without the actual details, you don’t know how or if Sookie was involved.
Unlike Laura, I rather liked the fact that the cast of usual suspects were not in the book that much. It gave me time to get used to the new faces and allow them to develop more easily than if we had our fan favourites.
What was really interesting, at least for me was the whole political minefield between the different vampires. I enjoyed the TV show The Tudors, so this backstabbing and infighting had me hooked. Due to our Bon Temp waitress’s links to the Supernaturals, she gets pulled into the mess. The girl really needs to get out of town or go into witness protection.
DEFINITELY DEAD isn’t my favourite book in the series, but I did like the change of scenery. It showed that there were lots going on outside the little bubble of Sookie’s home town.
Oh yes Gemma’s right. DEFINITELY DEAD gives us a much greater insight into the greater world of vampire politics and it’s fascinating! The manoeuvres between them are subtle and clever which once again attests to Harris’s writing talent.
The story also involves the usual supernatural mystery as Sookie discovers a dead werewolf body in Hadley’s closet. We also learn a lot more about witches and discover they have some very cool skills. I do have a bit of a soft spot for witches, the end kind of hints there is more to come from them and I really hope there is.
Talking of Harris’s writing, her focus on detail did seem to go into overdrive in this novel. I normally don’t mind it, it’s part of her quirky style. But, when she mentioned that Sookie was on her period on over three separate occasions, including the fact werewolves and vampires could smell it! I mean honestly. Enough already!
*Laughs out Loud* I do agree with ‘ick‘ factor with regards to Sookie’s period and the fact both vampires and werewolves could smell it. Still a wee bit clueless on why that piece of information was added as it is a bit of too much detail.
For me the most interesting part of the plot was the Vampire Council meeting and the wedding of Russell and Sophie-Ann. The fact it was more political than for any romantic notions, showed how it was more like a joining of nations. By the end of the book I was still left with the notion of ‘where does that leave our band of Bon Temp residents’. There are a lot of loose ends still to be cleared up. It does mean that the books are moving away from self-contained stories and that you have to read them in order.
The side plot with the witches was really cleverly handled and I did like how the book wasn’t solely concentrated on the Vampire Council. The new witch characters are interesting and I rather have a soft spot for Holly now.
I do like the fact that it appears that the whole Debbie Pelt plot is coming to some sort of conclusion, but I don’t think it will be the end of it with regards to Sookie’s involvement. That is a skeleton that may rear its ugly head again for our fae-half-mortal heroine.
I’d completely forgotten to write about the whole Debbie Pelt element of the storyline. Like you said Gemma, I’m kind of hoping it’s over, I’m a little bored of it now.
However, you can’t write a review for the book without mentioning Sookie’s love life. DEFINITELY DEAD gives us a new piece of man candy in the shape of Quinn. The tiger shapeshifter makes a major play for her. They make a hot couple and he definitely has the sexy, gentleman thing going on. But as much as I enjoyed their scenes together I just missed Eric. I’m not sure why Harris has decided to move the story away from a Sookie/Eric love affair, I imagine there’s a reason. Maybe she’s just making us wait and building the anticipation! But I’m feeling rather desperate for them to get back together again and frustrated.
Then there’s Bill. There is another revelation about him that just makes him sink even lower in my opinion. If only he would disappear like Debbie pelt *evil laugh*! I have a feeling I’m not going to get my wish, I suspect Bill isn’t going anywhere.
It was interesting how Sookie interacted with the New Orleans vampires, in particular the Queen. As Gemma mentions, you are starting to become aware of larger plot running through the books now. But also how Sookie may slot into this larger plot too. I keep wondering where Harris is going to take her telepathic powers to, if they’re going to expand? We know she has her very own fairy godmother, but perhaps not why or why she has made her presence known now. Then there’s the fact that Sookie seems to get admirers wherever she goes, she’s kind of like a supernatural lust magnet!
Ah, Quinn! If ever there were a hot blooded shifter to take my interest other than Alcide, it would have to be him. I really liked the addition of Quinn, since he has little political motivation for snaring Sookie. He genuinely seems to like her and I think it shows that not everyone is desperate to use Sookie as a pawn.
I also really liked the back story of Sophie-Ann. She has been one of the more interesting characters in the books and to find out how she became a vampire was nice to see. Sophie-Ann is a woman in a man’s world and she is as much of a pawn as Sookie is.
Sookie is beginning to see how events have been orchestrated in order to push her in one direction. The revelation of Bill’s involvement just made me dislike him even more. He really isn’t coming across all that great in the books.
DEFINITELY DEAD is perhaps not the best so far, but this still continues to be one of my favourite urban fantasy series. It’s opened up the story for lots of possibilities and I’m intrigued as to how the wider plot will develop now. I’m not totally into the whole Sookie/Quinn love affair and I’m still routing for Eric, a girl can hope!
I agree with Laura that DEFINITELY DEAD isn’t the best book in the series, but I did like the shift away from Bon Temp and the fact that the whole Eric/Bill thing has taken a back seat for a moment. I’m with Laura on hoping that Sookie picks Eric, especially as both Bill and Alcide have become such pains. There is some new avenues now open in the books and Harris could delve deeper into Sookie’s own heritage.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER:
1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. All Together Dead
8. From Dead to Worse
9. Dead and Gone
10. Dead in the Family
11. Dead Reckoning
BUY THE BOOK