DEAD IN THE FAMILY Discussion and Spoilers

Dead in the Family

I just finished Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris and now I’m anxious to chat about the book and find out what others thought about it. I’m going to share some of my thoughts on the book and I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

SPOILER WARNING: This discussion is intended for readers who have finished Dead in the Family. Do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled. If you haven’t yet read Dead in the Family, read my spoiler-free review here.

My thoughts on Dead in the Family:
I think we can all agree that this was a very slow paced book without many huge plot developments. About halfway through I had a moment where I was like, “Wow, when is something going to happen in this book?” but then I decided to just sit back and enjoy it. So much happened in Dead and Gone that it was nice for Sookie to get a bit of a break. Ultimately, I liked Harris’ look at the different types of families that form among the supes, especially between vampires and the children they sire. We found out some new information about our favorite characters and I think it set up some conflicts that will be addressed in future books.

Let’s talk about some of the individual storylines:

The Roommate Situation
I think it was time for Amelia to go since she’s been Sookie’s roommate for a while now and it doesn’t really make sense for her to keep staying in Bon Temps. Claude moving in with her seemed to come out of left field, but at least he later explained that he was trying to protect her from Colman. When Claude makes an effort to be nice, I actually like him a lot, though I must say that I found the final scene with Claude, Dermot, and Sookie all sleeping in the same bed to be slightly creepy. I wonder if the three of them will continue to live together?

Sookie and Eric
I love me some Eric Northman, so I was happy to see him grow closer to Sookie in this book. In Dead and Gone, Sookie was so mad that Eric tricked her into a vampire marriage, but she seems to be pretty cool with it now. As much as I like the two of them together, it doesn’t feel like Eric’s first priority is Sookie. He seems to be trying to incorporate her into his life, but he’s so busy with vampire politics and running Fangtasia that he doesn’t have a lot of time to spare for her. I bring this up because Sookie just seems so lonely in this book and I was thinking about how she broke up with Quinn the weretiger because she said she wanted to come first in her man’s life. And she deserves to come first! I’m wondering if this will become an issue between Sookie and Eric in the future.

All in the Family
Family is a running theme throughout the aptly named Dead in the Family. Sookie grows closer to her cousin Claude, her other cousin Hunter, and even her brother Jason, who is incredibly mature in this book. Ever since Hunter was introduced, I’ve been so anxious for more information about him. I love the little guy! I’m curious if spending time with him will make Sookie want to have children of her own. Although, it could have the opposite effect because she might not want to bring another child into the world with the so-called “disability” of telepathy.

Meeting Eric’s maker, Appius Livius Ocella, threw me for a second because I thought Godric was his maker. Then I realized I was confusing the books with True Blood, which is slightly different. While he and Alexei were somewhat interesting, I didn’t find their story particularly compelling. I wasn’t too broken up when they both died at the end, and I think Eric will get over them quickly too.

Sookie’s Ex-boyfriends
As much as I like Eric, I’m always happy to see Bill Compton. He was so sickly that I was afraid that Harris was going to kill him off, but thankfully that didn’t happen. It was nice to see the Bellefleurs find out that he is their great-grandfather and mysterious benefactor. The one thing I didn’t get was why Bill didn’t contact Judith himself. He already had her email address! A quick “Hey, FYI, our vampire Mommy dearest is dead. kthanxbye, Bill” would have done the trick. Anyway, Sookie seemed to have a twinge of jealousy over Judith but she quickly got over it. What do you think? Is there still some unfinished business between Sookie and Bill?

As for Alcide, I really liked him when his character was first introduced but I like him less and less with each passing book. I can’t believe he just expected Sookie to drink some mysterious potion because he asked her to. Who does that? And then when she initially refused, he had the nerve to get all pissy. Jerk.

The Weres – Trouble Brewing?
I got the impression that Harris is setting the stage for a full-blown war between the humans and the supes. Humans were already having trouble accepting the vampires, and the Weres’ coming out party seems to have added fuel to the fire. Judging by the FBI’s interest in Sookie and the protester’s reaction to her, she will be caught in the middle. That’s my prediction anyway. I’d love to hear other opinions.

Similarities to Twilight?
While reading Dead in the Family, there were two parts that gave me déja vu to Twilight. First, Alexei’s ability to show Sookie events from his life was exactly like Renesmee’s ability in Breaking Dawn. He annoyed me about as much as Renesmee too. I was like, “Can we just stake the little bastard already? Please?”

The other Twilight moment was when Sookie briefly channeled Bella and was worried about aging while Eric stayed the same. When weighing the prospect of becoming a vampire, I loved, loved, loved how Sookie was just so PRACTICAL. I was smiling as she thought about supporting herself for eternity and how being awake only at night would hurt her job opportunities. She’s the total opposite of the blinded-by-love Bella.

I would love to hear other opinions about Dead in the Family. Here are a few questions to get things started:

1. Do you like Sookie and Eric together? If not, which guy would you rather see her with: Bill, Alcide, Quinn, or Sam?
2. Sookie has changed a lot due to the torture and loss she suffered during the Fae War. In Dead in the Family, she is lonelier and more vengeful than ever before. What other changes did you notice?
3. There was some backlash against the Weres in Dead in the Family. Do you think there is a big Humans vs. Supes conflict looming?
4. Where do you think the Hunter storyline is going? Do you think he will make Sookie want children of her own? Or will he have the opposite effect?
5. There is a part in this book where Sookie considers what it would be like to become a vampire. Do you think it will ever happen?

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  • Pingback: DEAD IN THE FAMILY by Charlaine Harris | Daemon's Books()

  • http://www.daemonsbooks.com Jose @ Daemons

    2. Sookie has changed a lot due to the torture and loss she suffered during the Fae War. In Dead in the Family, she is lonelier and more vengeful than ever before. What other changes did you notice?

    Definitely noticed that shes a little more concerned about her mortality, especially when she starts thinking about becoming a Vampire and also in her wanting to spend time with her little cousin (almost a way of her to make sure her mind reading abilities remain in the family and safe).

    3. There was some backlash against the Weres in Dead in the Family. Do you think there is a big Humans vs. Supes conflict looming?

    I think there will be a large humans versus shapeshifters battle in one of the future books, with the vamps staying on the sidelines. Possibly the humans may offer vamps full rights to side with them. This would be a very civil war like situation a la North versus South, with the vamps playing the role of the slaves when they were offered freedom and citizenship if they would fight with the North.

    4. Where do you think the Hunter storyline is going? Do you think he will make Sookie want children of her own? Or will he have the opposite effect?

    I think that Hunter is going to become a proxy child for Sookie, whether she stays human or goes vamp. I think she likes the idea of having a child, but her selection of gentlemen callers that could lead to a child are limited and both turn into large animals.

    5. There is a part in this book where Sookie considers what it would be like to become a vampire. Do you think it will ever happen?

    I dont think they will ever turn her into a vampire, I think Harris could see how some fans reacted to Bella becoming a vampire in the Twilight series and deciding not to risk potential backlash. That being said, she could turn her in a future book, but it would have to be due to some other events forcing Sookie’s hand.

    • Kristen

      I agree with you about Sookie becoming a vampire. Unlike Bella, I don’t think she would ever choose that life just because she doesn’t want to grow older than her boyfriend. If she does, it will be because she’s forced into it or it happens accidentally.

  • wont

    I hope Sookie ends up with Bill. She has never stopped loving him and that is evident. I hope she stakes Eric good and proper. Yes, I mean in dead-dead.

    • Kristen

      It’s good to hear from a Bill lover! I always wonder if Charlaine Harris knows who she wants Sookie to end up with in the final book or if she just makes it up as she goes along.

    • wont

      Charlaine has posted on her website:

      1) Sookie will never become a vampire. This is per CH, so I do not question it.
      2) Charlaine has also posted in the threads (in answer to this question), she has known from the beginning who Sookie would end up with. She knew from the first couple of books. Possibly by the end of Living Dead in Dallas. She won’t reveal if that means the person Sookie ends with was in those books, or, if Charlaine had him in her mind but just had not revealed him at that point. This has been under endless discussion on the suitor threads.

    • Kristen

      Thanks for all the info!

  • Laura

    I was never a big Eric / Sookie fan. It’s not that I dislike Eric, or how she writes them together, it just never struck a chord with me. With this new book, the relationship doesn’t make a lot of sense to me since he’s become all sensitive. He’s a masculine, ambitious vampire, not a hair braiding, crying, sensitive boyfriend. I feel like we’ve toned down some of the key qualities that made Eric an interesting character.
    What I disliked about the book the most was the focus on the Ware’s. What I wanted to know more about was Appius and Eric and Bill and his silver poisoning. These are character’s I’ve invested a lot of time getting to know and love. I want to know more about them, not minor characters. Did anyone else feel like Dead in the Family was bogged down with secondary characters? And yes, Alcide is a prominent figure through several of the books — but the Ware’s are always having drama within the pack. Bill is potentially DYING (again) as a direct result of saving Sookie’s life. I wanted to read about that! I know Charline tells us that Sookie tried multiple times to go see him, and he ignored her. Someone else has to think that learning about his silver poisoning, his avoiding Sookie and Judith, his and Judith’s history, and making that a larger point of the book would have been more interesting than yet another murder of a character we don’t really care about and the never-ending Ware politics? I always liked Bill though. I’m thrilled that Judith was written in.

    On Appius: You’d think a 2000 year old vampire who has complete control over Eric would warrant more pages and more involvement in the overall plot. I’m all for a good, exciting read, and after the last book I would have been happy with some good character development in Dead in the Family. Appius had so much to offer, but instead he barely said or did anything, and then poof, dead. The little bit that Eric talked about Appius in the last book was more interesting than Appius’s entire time in DIF. Alexi was interesting, but it was good that he went out when he did. Too much drama to sustain over the course of several books.

    On the Fairy plot: I felt it was pointless. Granted, I love Claude. I thought his interactions with Sookie, and then with Hunter was very good. But the mystery “Fairy in the woods” plot ended on a flat note for me. It wraps up all in about two pages. We didn’t even get to know Claudine’s baby-daddy, which made his death kind of a ‘eh, whatever’. And instead of the danger of killing Sookie, since he knew it wasn’t her fault that Claudine died, he was just plotting for her to get thrown in jail? After the mortal danger of Dead and Gone, didn’t that seem a little bland for the climax of the “deadly fairy in the woods” mystery?
    Of course, I love the series. I love the characters, which is why I always want to read as much about them as I can. While this wasn’t my favorite book, it definitely set-up for some good reading in the next.
    In closing, my favorite word of the whole book was when Sookie says “Foof! Eric!” I love the word foof.

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Laura – You make a really good point about Bill and the fact that he was dying should have been a more prominent storyline. Now that you mention it, I would like to know more about Judith too. It seems like she is going to stick around so maybe she and Bill will play a larger role in the next book.

  • Angie

    I just finished reading this book, and for the most part I liked it. But I agree that some interesting characters, like Appius and Colman were in and out of the story in too short a time, before we really got to see them. Eric and Sookie’s relationship still doesn’t sit well with me. I like Eric as a character and I just love his sense of humor, but I cannot help but feel that Sookie is just another one of his possessions. Does anyone agree? In past books he has made sure to get Bill out of the way, no matter how much these revelations hurt Sookie, and has pushed her into the blood bond and marriage, all for her “own good”. I am trying to like the two of them together because everyone else seems to, but it just doesn’t work for me.
    Bill is still my favorite for her, because he has paid for his mistakes and seems to truly appreciate her for who she is now. I also remember the peace and sensuality she felt with him in earlier books, that she doesn’t really seem to have had with anyone else.
    I liked the introduction of Judith’s character, but honestly, I hope she moves back to Little Rock – alone. Btw, in his note to Sookie, Bill wrote he didn’t contact Judith because he was afraid she hated him (I guess because she was turned because she looked like his wife).
    I absolutely loved the part with Bill and Caroline Bellefleur! It was very touching and I wish I could have been there to just see Portia’s and Andy’s faces.
    This book was definitely slower moving than the last one, but I enjoyed that, for a change, Sookie wasn’t beaten to a pulp again.

    I also agree with Laura on the fairy (Colman)plot. Since when do fairies put their faith into the human justice system? That didn’t make sense to me either…

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Angie – I agree, that part with Bill and the Bellefleurs was priceless!

  • http://www.daemonsbooks.com Amie

    Loved your review and discussion on this book. Now that i have finally finished I can play along :)

    1. Do you like Sookie and Eric together? If not, which guy would you rather see her with: Bill, Alcide, Quinn, or Sam? Eric is amazing. I love how he refers to Sookie as “lover” – that makes me giggle every time.

    2. Sookie has changed a lot due to the torture and loss she suffered during the Fae War. In Dead in the Family, she is lonelier and more vengeful than ever before. What other changes did you notice? I noticed that too. Her first reaction to Victor was that she wanted to kill him! Uh-oh. I hope Sookie doesn’t go too dark.

    3. There was some backlash against the Weres in Dead in the Family. Do you think there is a big Humans vs. Supes conflict looming? I hope not. Sookie needs just 1 book where she doesn’t get the hell beaten out of her.

    4. Where do you think the Hunter storyline is going? Do you think he will make Sookie want children of her own? Or will he have the opposite effect? My prediction is that something will happen to the dad and Sookie will get custody.

    5. There is a part in this book where Sookie considers what it would be like to become a vampire. Do you think it will ever happen? No, but I’m hoping CH will do something to give Sookie a longer than average life like other fairies.

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Amie – I’m so glad you finished the series! I love your point about Sookie living longer than the average human. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that, duh. That’s brilliant!

  • Maan

    It was such a great review and I can’t help but comment. :)

    I am such a fan of Eric-Sookie tandem. I know Eric is perfect physically, but as a partner no. Eventhough he has been living in the world for centuries, there are still a lot more to learn for Eric. He is too much involved in vampire politics and this leaves Sookie alone in most parts of the novel. The thing that I like here is it shows Eric weaknesses. In the end, Sookie does not always depend on Eric, rather it is the other way around. It shows how powerful Sookie is despite that she is human and a woman. Eric is Sookie’s superhero and Sookie is Eric’s superhero. They save each other whoever needs help and support. In the latter part of the novel, Sookie’s determination, hope and persistence to go on despite the loses that they have gone through is shown, while Eric is losing hope to move forward. Without Sookie’s positivity and encouragement, Eric would just breakdown.

    Another thing that I like in the novel is how the Jason’s character transformed and matured. Jason started as a usual guy who loves sex and women. But then after he became a two-natured creature, he became more mature. He settled down and finally found his stable partner Michele. We all know that he is dumb, but then in this part of the series we saw his wisdom over things. Sookie might think that Jason is naive or ignorant on vampire and were’s affairs, but he isn’t. He is such a great help to Sookie especially in the pack meeting and the scene at Erics’s home.

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Maan – I just love what you wrote:

      “In the end, Sookie does not always depend on Eric, rather it is the other way around. It shows how powerful Sookie is despite that she is human and a woman. Eric is Sookie’s superhero and Sookie is Eric’s superhero. They save each other whoever needs help and support.”

      YES! You said it perfectly :)

  • Christabel

    2. Sookie has changed a lot due to the torture and loss she suffered during the Fae War. In Dead in the Family, she is lonelier and more vengeful than ever before. What other changes did you notice?

    IMHO, the Sookie character did not change the way one would expect. Harris probably should have researched torture a little more — e.g., there are literally thousands of first-had accounts of torture survivors in Latin America, most of them translated into English.

    I do think that throughout the series, as Sookie has been exposed to more violence, she has become more violent in thought and deed. I can’t remember if it’s in the books or the TV series, but there seems to be a change in her language over time too.

    4. Where do you think the Hunter storyline is going? Do you think he will make Sookie want children of her own? Or will he have the opposite effect?

    Sookie is in her mid-to-late 20’s, so there’s still time for her biological clock to start ticking. Of Sookie’s various love interests, neither Bill nor Eric could give her children. One way around that would be for Harris to kill off the Remy Savoy character and have Sookie adopt Hunter. Or she could end up w/ Remy.

    5. There is a part in this book where Sookie considers what it would be like to become a vampire. Do you think it will ever happen?

    When Bill writes to Sookie to thank her for contacting Judith, he says “I would never condemn someone to our life unless she wanted it and told me so.” Though it’s meant to clarify that he had no part in Lorena’s murder & turning of Judith, it may be foreshadowing.

  • Cassie

    Ok, like many people, I just finished “Dead in the Family” and I’m ashamed to say I picked it up at 11 last night and finished it 6 this morning! lol. Slightly addicted? Just a bit!

    I usually don’t make a comment about books, but I’ve read a lot of bad reviews on the internet about this latest Sookie addition and I just feel so strongly that this critism is misplaced. Yes, the book was slow and if one had looked to this book to be as action-packed as the previous books, I can understand the disapointment. However, what Ms. Harris did here was truly genius. I mean, I love Sookie as if I know her in real life. But somewhere in the back of my mind I felt uneasy about how unaffected Sookie seemed be with all the killing, the constant upheaval of her personal life, and general mayhem that is so addicting to watch unfold. I think, more than anything, what Harris did in DITF was make Sookie more human. Anyone who has ever experienced personally a death or a traumatic event can completely relate to the dispondent, pragmatic, and dark nature that is brewing inside Sookie as she struggles to cope with the things she can’t control. Consider, would we, in her shoes, come away seamlessly put together in a logical narrative? Unlikely. I think if events seemed disjointed and Sookie came across is “unSookie-like”, that this makes perfect sense. Especially since she is a human who was tortured and experienced betrayal and disappointment over and over again. Acting depressed, lonely, etc, is quite human indeed. Furthermore, this is a first person narrative. Sookie is really the story teller, not Harris, and if she spent more time pondering her humanity or her mundane every day events, if she spent more time with friends/family who made her feel whole, and less with those that drained her….well, I say good for her! Because when she’s done healing, Sookie is going to come out stronger in the end! And the “adventure” will be all more alluring in the next book.

    To your questions… I have alot of the same musings. :) I think Eric is the perfect vampire fit for her. And I think now that his maker is out of the way (and we know Victor will be shortly, too!), I think Eric will be able to find a more permenant place for Sookie in his “life”. I kinda think he might even gain more political power whether he’s out to get it or not. He just seems like he’s the type of guy who can’t go anywhere but up. And he’s trying SO hard in the romantic department for such an independent, self-sufficient guy! This just makes me want him more than ever to “get the girl” in the end. Sookie’s skeptical, but I really think there’s something good with Eric.

    HOWEVER…I think Sookie is going to want to settle down sooner than later. I really do. She’s getting older, and for a woman, it’s very natural to consider having children of her own. I think Hunter will play a big role in deciding that for her; whether it be that she could handle a telepathic baby or not. The option to be a vampire is one way to settle on a direction. But I believe that Sookie would never do it. That just wouldn’t be Sookie being true to herself. I think this will become an issue with Eric and might (I’m guessing) severe their tie to each other. In that case, if no other characters pop up, I think Sam is really the only logical choice for her. Sam has always been in the background…one could almost say waiting for her…and I think these little scenes of Sookie and Sam spending time together, both appreciating what the other can offer in way of stability, will pull them in that direction. As far as the other suitors, I think Bill and Alcide are done. I like Bill, but he’s too controlled and distant. I think Sookie recognises that she needs more from a man. Alcide is, well, a jerk. I loved him in “Club Dead” but after the whole Debbie Pelt thing and the werewolves pack “rituals”, I say don’t touch him with a ten foot pole! I do think, though, that Quinn might come back. I could see her trying to make it work if circumstances happen to change. I think in the back of her mind, she realized that she could have handled the situation differently and may feel compelled to give it a go. But overall, I think she would be happiest with Sam. He would be able to get her out of the cyle of supes beating her up emotionally and would provide a good foundation for her to go explore more adventures! :)

    • http://www.daemonsbooks.com/author/kristen Kristen

      Cassie – thanks for sharing your thoughts! You’ve had a long night, lol. I think we agree on A LOT. I can totally relate to what you said about feeling like you know Sookie in real life :)

      I love Eric, but you make a good argument for Sam. He could provide her a stable, somewhat normal life, but he’s still a supe so he’s not totally boring (like you said, they could still have adventures). Sookie doesn’t have the same chemistry with Sam as she does with Eric, but maybe that’s because Sookie tends to think of him as her boss. They definitely have a nice friendship, so I could see that turning into something more. I can’t wait to see where Charlaine Harris takes Sookie :)

  • Al

    I have to say that I like your site and your break down of Dead in the Family. Although I have not read the last two books, it seems consistent with everything else in the series so far. While I enjoy knowing where the series is going, the last three books have really caused me to loose interest. I feel that the plots have become overly-complicated and the relationships extremely complex. I know that may be expected with a series so long, but I still want to enjoy the reading, which I don’t. I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way. But again, I like your summary of the main points. And I am not sure why, but I hope Sookie ends up with Eric. Maybe its a girl thing, but he is the bad boy who has been true to himself almost the whole time, whereas Bill has been deceitful. I don’t feel she and Quinn have the chemistry, and Alcide has become an ass.

    • Anonymous

      Al – Thanks for your comments! I’m still enjoying the series, but I can see your point of view and I wouldn’t be surprised if others felt the same way too. I’m rooting for Sookie and Eric too. There’s just something about those bad boys :)