DEAD IN THE FAMILY by Charlaine Harris [Review]

SPOILER WARNING: I’ve tried to avoid including spoilers from Dead in the Family, but the review does contain spoilers from previous books. If you are new to the series, start with my review of the first book, Dead Until Dark.

Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris is the tenth book in the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series. It picks up shortly after Dead and Gone left off and, unfortunately, things are not going well for our beloved characters. Now that the Fae War is over, the survivors must deal with the aftermath: Sookie is mentally and physically scarred by the torture she endured, Bill is still very sick with silver poisoning, Jason is moving on after the death of his wife, and Amelia heads back to New Orleans. The main theme running through the aptly named Dead in the Family is the relationships between family members, such as the bonds between vampires and the children they sire, as well as those between Werewolf pack members.

Of course there’s also the colorful Stackhouse family tree, which includes fairies, telepaths, and a Werepanther. Sookie spends some time in this book connecting with her family, including Eric with whom she shares a strong blood bond. Harris also devotes some pages to explaining the complex world of vampire politics, information Sookie needs to understand if she is going to have a relationship with Eric.

Dead in the Family is Charlaine Harris’ take on the complicated nature of familial bonds, both human and supernatural. The book is introspective and gives the reader background information on some of our favorite characters like Bill and Eric. At times, Dead in the Family’s slow pace and low key approach almost seems sluggish, but I think it’s a refreshing follow-up to Dead and Gone, which was overly jam packed with different plotlines. I enjoyed how Dead in the Family followed up on some of those storylines that had been left dangling, like the FBI’s interest in Sookie. I had also been anxious to find out more about Sookie’s telepathic little cousin, Hunter, so I was glad to see him make an appearance.

I’m giving Dead in the Family four stars because I admire its subtle approach and I just enjoy spending time in Sookie’s world. I think some fans will take issue with the book’s lack of plot, which I can totally understand. However, I think, besides tying up some loose ends, Harris is setting the stage for some major developments with the Weres, as well as some hard decisions to come for Sookie. I’m just happy to go along for the ride and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the next book.

Quotes from Dead in the Family:

Pam to Sookie: “You’re my favorite breather.”

Pam: “F@$! a zombie!”

Eric to Sookie: “While you were with Neave and Lochlan, I suffered with you,” he said, meeting my eyes directly. “I hurt with you. I bled with you-not only because we’re bonded, but because of the love I have for you.”
A red tear fell on my bare shoulder and coursed down. I swept it up on my finger, putting my finger to his lips-offering his pain back to him. I had plenty of my own.

Sam came to stand beside me as Claude went out the door. “Elvis has left the building, ” he said dryly.
“No, I haven’t seen him in a while,” I said, definitely on auto-mouth.

If you have already read the book, feel free to join our discussion on Dead In The Family.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Ace Hardcover | Pages: 320 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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