My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quinn gave me a broad smile. He bent to crouch on the ground. I knew what was coming. The air around Quinn began to shimmer and tremble, and then within that envelope Quinn began to change. Muscles rippled and flowed and remformed, bones reshaped, fur rolled out of somewhere inside him - though I knew that couldn't be, that was the illusion. The sound was dreadful.
Definitely Dead is book six in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. It should be noted from the outset that the plot is based around events that take place before the beginning of this novel, in a short story called 'One Word Answer', which slots between books five and six. I will admit that if you've not read the short story you will probably find the start of Definitely Dead a little confusing, yet it doesn't ruin the story as a whole: The author does attempt to fill in gaps and with a little imagination it is relatively easy to work out exactly what has happened to bring us to the here and now.
You see, Sookie's cousin Hadley has died and Sookie is named as her beneficiary. Hadley's death is somewhat unusual in that she was a vampire who was turned by her lover, the Queen of Lousiana, and then killed by a rival for the Queen's affection. So, as beneficiary Sookie travels to New Orleans with ex-boyfriend Vampire Bill and Mr Cataliades and Diantha (members of the Queen's entourage) to sort through her cousin's belongings. In New Orleans she is introduced to a variety of characters and makes new friends and enemies amongst the vamps, witches and weres, in typical Sookie fashion.
Sookie also finds herself in a brand new romance with a weretiger named Quinn, introduced into the series near the end of book five (Dead as a Doornail). Quinn is mysterious and macho, but entirely sweet when it comes to Sookie and is easily likeable. He's obviously carrying some baggage from his past, but Sookie remains fond of him too, although she decides not to rush things with her new beau. Even though I like Quinn as a character, I find he lacks the charismatic allure of Eric, and Sookie's growing attachment to him does not have the same intensity as her relationship with Vampire Bill in book one (Dead Until Dark) and her romantic rendezvous with Eric in book four (Dead to the World).
Despite the new love interest, Sookie's personality continues to undertake major transformations. In Definitely Dead she learns the truth behind her relationship with Bill, which leaves her shocked and bitter. Sookie is growing hard, less trusting and more unforgiving. The dark side to Sookie's character has been seen before, although the changes don't make her any less likeable; it's simply interesting to see the innocent, naive Sookie mature into the somewhat cynical woman-of-the-world that she's becoming. Sookie is fast learning that life isn't always easy, especially when the big bad world likes to regularly slap you in the face.
No matter where she is or who she's with, Sookie always seems to find herself in some kind of trouble! Definitely Dead has a fascinating plot where lots of stuff happens to keep the reader interested, although I do recommend reading these books in order, and sourcing 'One Word Answer' before starting this one, just to save confusion. Overall, I found it exhilerating to be back into Sookie's rough-and-tumble world after the slight disappointment of book five.
THE LADY OF THE RIVERS GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
I am currently hosting a giveaway for The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory, and this is your absolute LAST CHANCE to go into the draw!
All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment on my review post. Entries will be taken until midnight (Australian Central Standard Time) tonight, Friday, 10 February 2012. The winner will be announced sometime over the weekend (11 - 12 February).
Giveaway is open to everyone, on the condition that the Book Depository ships free to your country.
The winner will receive this paperback copy of The Lady of the Rivers.
Best of luck!