My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It seemed kind of strange that I was on the side of vampires and werewolves, and that was the good side. That made me laugh a little, all to myself. Oh, yes, we good guys would save the day.
The fourth novel in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris sees us return to Bon Temps, Louisiana, where telepathic waitress Sookie is now single after her nasty breakup with Bill Compton, resident vampire. Determined to move on with her life she makes the resolution not to get beaten up in the new year, which entails keeping out of trouble and staying away from vampires.
That is until she finds Eric Northman, vampire sheriff of Area 5, wandering scarred and scared on the road to her house in the middle of the night. Eric has had his memory taken from him by a group of powerful witches who wish to see him dead (the true death. Obviously) and steal his fortune. Sookie offers her house to Eric as a safe haven, whilst she, Weres and vampires work towards ridding Shreveport of the nasty memory-thieving witches.
At the same time, her brother disappears and she has a crazy were intent on causing her harm.
So much for avoiding vampires and staying out of trouble!
Dead to the World sees monumental changes take place to Sookie and the people/supes around her. Eric is not the Eric she has come to love-hate. He is a far more serious, gentle character when unaware of the importance of himself and what he can do. Rather than the sure and cocky vampire sheriff we have come to know and love (or hate, depending on which side of the fence you're on), the Eric in this novel is far more sincere, finding genuine comfort in Sookie's companionship. It significantly builds on the other side of Eric Northman's nature, the side that we've only seen brief glimpses of in the previous novels.
Most importantly, however, are the changes taking place within Sookie. The confines of her mind have always been an enjoyable place to spend time, yet in Dead to the World those confines are becoming increasingly dark. Sookie is no longer the bright and innocent Bon Temps barmaid of the earlier novels; instead, Sookie proves that you don't need to be a vampire to do drastic and dangerous things. The other side to Sookie's nature is seriously gloomy.
Dead to the World is my favourite of the Sookie Stackhouse novels to date. I love that in this novel the stakes are higher than they've ever been before and the characters more serious. The novel still retains that funny, light edge that makes these books so enjoyable, but getting more of an insight into the character's personalities and true natures is genuinely intriguing.
One questions remains, though: Why was it that when Eric lost his memory, of all the places in the world he could have gone, he chose Bon Temps and the road leading to Sookie's house? I guess I'll have to wait and see if that little ponderment is revealed in the books to follow. Just an excuse to keep reading them, I suppose.