My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Eric looked down at me. He seemed to have a hickey on his neck. I opened my mouth, and then shut it again. Better not to comment.
"I don't like having feelings." Eric said coldly, and he left.
That was a tough exit line to top.
Club Dead is the third instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. You remember Sookie, right? The Bon Temps barmaid with the telepathic abilities and the Vampire boyfriend named Bill? Yes? Good.
This novel begins innocently enough, with Sookie enjoying semi-domestic bliss (as domestic and blissful as it could be with a Vampire, I suppose) with Bill in Bon Temps. Bill has discovered computers and the internet, and Sookie's worried that he's turning into a bit of a geek.
As it turns out, that is the least of her worries.
Bill is under strict, secret instructions from the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, and not even the Vampire boss of Area 5, Eric Northman, knows of it. When Bill leaves town for a few days but then suddenly disappears, Eric seeks Sookie's help in locating him amongst the undead underworld of Mississippi, which sees her risking her life to save her boyfriend from an untimely demise. Not only is danger present at every turn, but Sookie also finds herself having to grapple with the development of romantic feelings for her charming guide Alcide (a Were); the almost-unwanted attentions of Eric the Vampire; and the heartwrenching truth of her boyfriend Bill's betrayal.
Each novel in this series builds on the personalities, perspectives and histories of the characters, and whatever the situation in the previous two books, it is not necessarily the case in the third. Things are changing at a dramatic pace, and Sookie's world is quickly turned on its head, giving the otherwise perky Bon Temps barmaid a hell of a lot to think about - and her readers in turn. It is through the encounters that Sookie has with the Vampire Eric that the author hints at there being more to this character than what meets the eye (the never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover scenario).
For me, Club Dead is the novel that sees this series turn from a fun pastime into a major bookish obsession. Characters that once appeared simple and satisfying have become far more complicated than I originally anticipated they could be, which is an intriguing turn of events of which Sookie too is fast becoming aware. In Club Dead, Sookie can no longer hide behind innocence and naivety, being forced to make very adult decisions when faced with some nasty truths about the world in which she finds herself.
FYI: Team Eric. Totally.