From Dead to Worse is the eighth book in the series, and the one where things start getting weird. Weirder than vampire conventions and complicated murder plots, you ask? Yes. Fairies start showing up, and it’s all downhill from here. Spoilers to follow…
What’s Bill Compton up to, these days?, you might ask. No one’s asking that. Sookie isn’t asking that, and you shouldn’t, either. Sookie is working the Bellefleur weddings as a cocktail waitress, but at the last second, Halleigh Robinson asks her to step in as a bridesmaid. Bill barges in on Sookie when she’s upstairs changing to go back to work, and says, “I would give anything to lie with you again.” Okay, one, just because you’ve seen her naked before does mean you are still entitled to, you dick. Two, what. Three, he is very much there with another woman, his girlfriend Selah. Four, it is a pity invite that he got only because Sookie basically forced Portia to invite him. I just hate Bill, you guys. Later on Selah accuses Sookie of trying to lure Bill in with her wiles. Turns out she was creeping in the hallway, listening. She’s not really much of a winner, either. They deserve each other. Sookie points out that there was no way Bill the vampire did not hear someone creeping in the hallway, so he knows she was listening. Later, Bill drops by Sookie’s to let her know Selah moved abruptly to Little Rock. Bill continues to moon around the woods by Sookie’s house as if anyone gives a crap.
Amelia’s dad shows up. Amelia’s dad is a construction bigwig in New Orleans, named Copley Carmichael. He is very much a man who throws money at his problems, and Amelia is eager to impress him. I honestly can’t remember what he’s there for, nor do I care.
Amelia gets another visitor in the form of her mentor from New Orleans, Octavia Fant. Octavia lost her home in Katrina and Amelia’s been half-heartedly attempting to hunt her down. She cares about the older woman, but she also left town in a bit of a shameful hurry, having accidentally turned her lover Bob into a cat, so she’s not too eager to receive Octavia’s judgement. Long story short, Octavia turns Bob human again (and Sookie loses her second cat of the series), he peaces out, and the older Octavia becomes Sookie and Amelia’s newest roommate.
Sookie’s in-theory boyfriend Quinn has gone missing since Rhodes. He and his sister Frannie do show up – her as messenger with a warning that Quinn’s been taken by the vampires of Nevada (following some whole thing with his mom escaping and possibly eating a guy in Vegas), who are about ten minutes away, and prepped for hostile takeover. There’s a standoff at Sookie’s house, her, Bill, Amelia, and Eric, against Victor Madden of Vegas and his legion of ten vampires and a captive weretiger. Madden and the vampires of Vegas (an awesome band name) have killed off the other Louisiana sheriffs, as well as Sophie-Anne, who was still recovering from Rhodes and did not have legs. It takes a lot of balls to attempt a coup on a woman who lost her legs in an explosion, even if she is a vampire. The vamp gang of Area 5 are all that remain, so a reluctant Eric agrees fealty to a new king, to save everyone’s asses from further murder.
Also, Sookie definitively breaks up with Quinn. She wants to come first in a man’s life, and Quinn has too much on his plate, what with his job that takes him all over the country, his mentally unstable mother, and his underage sister. Sookie admits she is probably being selfish, but she’s saving herself some heartache down the line.
In any case, she’s got a lot going on, herself. Sookie’s been tracked down by a distant relative, her great-grandfather. He’s a fairy prince. Sookie, as you may recall, doesn’t really have a lot in the way of family. Her parents died in a flash flood, her grandmother was murdered, her aunt died of cancer, her great-uncle (the child molester) was murdered, and her cousin was murdered. All she has is Jason, and he is a piece of crap, so really, a fairy prince showing up illegitimately in the bloodline isn’t too bad. This leads to two new revelations: one, that twins Claudine and Claude are Sookie’s cousins, and two, that Sookie herself is part fairy. Andre had guessed that, sampling her blood two books ago, but it’s nice to see where that comes from. Even if it means upright citizen Adele Stackhouse cheated on her husband with a fairy. Hey, like your family’s that great.
Speaking of Jason being a piece of crap, he and Crystal are at odds. He’s going out of town for the day for work, and asks Sookie to swing by the house to check on pregnant and perpetually miscarrying Crystal. Sookie swings by, to find Crystal in bed with one of Jason’s employees. Calvin Norris shows up not minutes later, which means that not only did Jason know about the affair, but he deliberately set up both his sister and his uncle-in-law (who is the leader of the Hotshot werepanther community) to be witnesses to it. Now Hotshot has to have one of their weirdo ‘live by the claw’ ceremonies. Because Crystal is pregnant, Calvin has to stand in for her. Jason can enact his symbolic revenge himself, but he volunteers Sookie for it, because he is awful. Sookie has to break her friend’s hand with a brick, because it is their way. Jason is a piece of crap, and Sookie vows to never speak to him again.
Sookie and Eric are hanging out in the Merlotte’s parking lot when the new king, Felipe de Castro shows up. (A sidenote: writing this on my tablet, it autocorrects to Felipe definitely Castro. He is definitely a definitely.) (Another note: He wears a cape and looks like a hotter Jimmy Smits.) Sookie wants no part in his blah-blah, so she peaces out, but the blood bond makes her anxious. She sneaks back to find out that Sigebert clearly survived the hostile takeover, and wants revenge. He also hates Eric now for what he perceives as switching sides. They’re tied up with silver chains. Sam’s there too, because he lives there. Sookie runs Sigebert over with her car, as she never does things by halves. She unties Eric, who chops off Sigebert’s head. This is a bad evening with a good result: Felipe is now in Sookie’s debt, and she’s in his esteem.
(He pays lone wolf Tray Dawson to fix Sookie’s car. Tray asks for Amelia’s number.)
Eric gets all his memories back from the time he stayed with Sookie (Dead to the World). He admits his feelings, at the time, were genuine, and it was the happiest he’d been in decades.
Sookie finds out the Pelt parents have died, and thus Sandra’s promise to them to leave Sookie alone is no longer safe. She has Tanya go out and casually mess up Sookie’s life from afar, but Amelia and Octavia put a spell on her to remove Sandra’s influence from her mind. Tanya is living out in Hotshot now, and she’s got eyes on Calvin Norris.
Maria-Star Cooper, Alcide’s girlfriend and Sookie’s acquaintance, gets murdered. Alcide, who is running his own coup within the Shreveport pack, is ready to take on packmaster Patrick Furnan. But then Furnan’s wife goes missing and Sookie suspects something is up. She gets both men to agree to a meeting, where she’ll act as an intermediary and read their minds. Turns out neither of them were trying to sabotage either group, it was an outside pack attempting to take over after theirs suffered from Katrina. There’s a big old battle in a warehouse, which Sookie escapes more or less unscathed, but Patrick Furnan does not. Alcide is now packmaster of Shreveport.
And then this book ends on what Sookie herself would call an Oh, shit! moment. Through Amelia’s dad Copley, who is trying to drop a bomb for no real reason, Sookie finds out that Hadley had a son with her ex-husband. She manages to track the dad, Remy Savoy, to elsewhere in Louisiana, where he lives with his son Hunter. They have an awkward meeting, and Sookie realizes that wee little Hunter, who loves his Duplos (who doesn’t), is a telepath like his Aunt Sook. WELL, DAMN.
And the bullet points:
–Does anyone new get introduced that in theory will come up later as a recurring character?
Felipe de Castro and his henchvamp Victor Madden. Hunter Savoy, Sookie’s cousin. (And his human dad Remy.) Octavia Fant, old lady, new roommate. Niall Brigant, fairy prince, great-grandfather.
–Does Sookie get laid and/or romantically propositioned? (And by whom?)
Sookie gets anti-laid, she breaks up with her boyfriend and is in a real snit most of the book.
–Does anyone wind up dead?
A crap-ton of vampires, but everyone at Fangtasia lives, for once. A bunch of werewolves, too. People just dying left and right.
–Does Sookie get injured in some capacity?
Nah, she’s basically fine for once, just emotionally traumatized from everything and in a snit.
–Is Andy Bellefleur a pain in the ass?
Despite the book opening on Andy’s wedding, he isn’t even in this, and we are the better for it. If you’re asking yourself why I hate him so much when he hasn’t done anything in awhile, a quick recap: that time he deliberately thought about Sookie and Jason having sex because he knew she could read his mind; that time he arrested her brother for murder, but then wanted her help when a dead body was found in his car; that time Sookie helped him with a local crime because he was worried about it affecting his girlfriend’s job, and when she did it, he wanted her to help him solve every case.
–Sookie Paramours: Who Wore It Best?
No one’s a real winner in this. While Quinn is generally an okay dude, he did team up with a violent band of vampires. Sure, it was against his will, but he led them right to Sookie’s house. Bill is an asshole. Alcide, in grieving over the loss of his girlfriend (fair), is kind of an asshole too. Sam, as always, is great, but he and Sookie get into a bit of a fight and it puts her out of sorts. Eric gets all of his memories back and becomes almost human, having long chats in the night, but he is having issues with having feelings, and it isn’t great.
WHEN NEXT WE MEET, Sookie’s murderous reign continues, and like three people get their groove back.