By Charlaine Harris
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ace Books, c2004, 2005
Genres: Mystery, fantasy, dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal, paranormal romance, romance, vampire
Series: Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse); 4
Intended audience: Adult
Number of pages: 291 (310 including an excerpt from the next book – Dead as a Doornail)
Setting: Bon Temps & Shreveport, Louisiana
Time period: Contemporary
Plot summary: Sookie begins her New Year by finding her former boyfriend’s boss, the vampire Eric Northman, running naked through the woods on her way home from work. When Sookie realizes that Eric has no idea where he is, who he is, or who Sookie is, she invites a whole new set of problems into her life when she takes him home and calls his friends. Eric has been put under a spell which made him lose his memory. Unfortunately for the rebounding Sookie, this has made him much more attractive.
Pacing: Similar to the previous three books in the series; this story is very fast paced. Sookie must do most of her resting between books.
Characterization: As with previous books, the story continues to be told in first person through Sookie. Many familiar characters are found in this story including Alcide Herveaux and Debbie Pelt. Also, a few new characters are introduced who will probably reappear somewhere later in the series.
Frame: The story begins with Bill trying to explain his actions in the previous book to Sookie before leaving for Peru. This scene establishes Sookie’s emotional frame for the story – lonely and confused.
Story line: Sookie’s New Year’s wish is to not get beaten up. While she manages to avoid much physical trauma in this book as she tries to both protect Eric from harm and seek her missing brother, her life continues to be an emotional rollercoaster. By the end of the book, she is feeling the downhill effects.
Vampires — Fiction.
Louisiana — Fiction.
Telepathy — Fiction.
Waitresses — Fiction.
City and town life — Fiction.
Stackhouse, Sookie (Fictitious character) – Fiction
Similar authors: Charlie Huston, Laurell K. Hamilton, Marjorie Lui, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon
Personal notes: I love how quickly these stories move, although this story had a much rougher ending for Sookie than the previous book (even though she didn’t get beat up). It’s definitely part of the series appeal, though – Sookie’s loneliness and longing for both romance and some semblance of a “normal” life.
Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – telepath, vampires, shape shifters, werewolves, witches, Wiccans, fairy, amnesiac
Since the series has grown quite long and complex, the author recommends reading the series in order.