I get kinda pissed at people who review on Amazon sometimes. You'd think they'd been personally offended just because an author *did not do* precisely what they felt should have been done in the next installment of a series. I swear in some of the reviews they nitpick a novel to death so much I just want to scream! Authors simply cannot make everyone happy by a)including every character ever introduced, b) making their characters do something because of what was done in the past, and c) make the book longer/shorter/less sexy/more sexy/, etc., etc., etc. I think some people simply delight in finding issues with a book and then blasting them; this seems to happen most frequently with books in a series.
I personally loved Dead and Gone, the 9th Sookie Stackhouse book. I raced through it, even with a sick child and work, kicking myself frequently because now I'll have to wait a year for the next one. After I'd closed the book and moseyed on over to Amazon to begin my own review, I was simply amazed at the recent reviews that gave one, two, or three stars. You'd not believe some of the problems some reviewers had; I don't have a problem with a negative review when it's based on something solid, but when it's just a rant because the author didn't include character A or had character B do something the reader didn't like, it becomes about the reviewer wanting to direct the author's words and ideas. One reviewer had the nerve to mention her own upcoming vampire book and how she would never do so-and-so...well, good for you, honey. But Amazon's not the place for BSP (blatant self-promotion) when writing reviews for others' books.
Below is my own personal review of Dead and Gone, and if you don't agree with it, that's okay. But I refuse to blast an author because of the direction she's taking her characters. Poor story, yes; poor writing, an even bigger yes. This book was delightful, and I stand by that opinion.
The ninth entry in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, Dead and Gone, opens with Sookie Stackhouse back at work at Merlotte's in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and the world being rocked with the revelation of were-creatures. Sookie, telepath extraordinaire, has known of the existence of not only the weres but all sorts of other supernaturals for a while now (even having dated the weretiger Quinn), but those who haven't aren't necessarily thrilled with the news. Even her boss Sam's stepfather doesn't react well to the announcement, so Sam must leave the bar temporarily in Sookie's care while he travels home. Unfortunately, Sookie's erstwhile sister-in-law Crystal turns up mysteriously crucified in the parking lot, and that is just the beginning of her troubles. Her great-grandfather Niall, a fairy, turns up long enough to tell her she's in danger because of his politics, and Eric, her sometimes lover/vampire friend, tricks Sookie into becoming "his"...and Sookie's not sure if that means they are married, bonded, or simply stuck with each other.
There are a lot of characters in this book, from Sookie's roommate Amelia to sadistic fairies to vengeful ex-friends intent on harm. Sookie's more serious than in the past, but there is a lot to deal with with her own life in danger and the death of Crystal. Sookie's confused: is Bill really such a bad guy? Is a relationship with Eric what she truly wants? Should she trust her brother Jason? All of these events combine to a good deal of action that is often bloody and violent, even with Sookie doing her best to stay on top of things.
I am not disappointed with this installment of Ms. Harris's series, though of course I would have liked more story to flesh out some of the action. There are a couple of convenient explanations that seem to come out of nowhere--seriously, Mel?--but there is an air of plausibility to Sookie's actions that certainly follow what she has done in the past. The push/pull between Bill and Eric is intriguing and believable, and while I desperately want her to end up with Eric, I can see how hard it is to banish an old flame. I did at times feel that the canvas was too crowded, and had to stop and think about who a character was and what his/her place was in Bon Temps, but I don't have a good solution as to paring things down. It would be easy to pick apart the book if I sat and pondered it too much, but honestly, you can't please everyone by adding in everything they want in one novel. Ms. Harris did a fine job of weaving action and emotion into Dead and Gone, and I am looking forward to more in this series.