Review of Club Dead

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[Although I don’t reveal whodunit, this review contains mondo, mondo spoilers.]

“I was missing Bill in a most elemental and unexpected way. My first clue had been the tug-below-the-waist I’d felt when I’d watched my tape of [easyazon-link asin=”B000Y5CHIE”]The Last of the Mohicans[/easyazon-link] the week before and I’d fixated on Daniel Day-Lewis bounding through the forest. If I could appear from behind a tree before he saw Madeleine Stowe…”

Synopsis

While working on a secret project for the Queen of Louisiana, Bill is kidnapped by Russell Edgington, the King of Mississippi. Eric asks Sookie to go on a Bill-finding mind-reading mission to Jackson with Eric’s associate, werewolf Alcide Herveaux. Experiencing a genuine attraction to each other, Sookie and Alcide go undercover as a fake couple at a supernatural bar called [easyazon-link asin=”B000O76OOK”]Club Dead[/easyazon-link], where Sookie meets Russell Edgington as well as Alcide’s nasty ex, shifter Debbie Pelt.

During their second night out at Club Dead, all hell breaks loose. Steve Newlin of the Fellowship of the Sun plunges a stake into Sookie’s side (it was intended for a vampire), and all of the shifters, including Alcide, shift and run off. Eric, who is also at the club undercover, talks Russell into taking Sookie to Russell’s mansion for some discreet medical attention. Eric heals her with his blood, there is a romantic interlude, and they hatch a plan for Sookie to rescue Bill during the day when all the vamps are sleeping. Which she does, and in the process, she kills Bill’s captor, torturer, and former lover, Lorena.

After quite a bit of mayhem and way too many attempts by Russell Edgington’s werewolves to kill her, Sookie decides she has had enough with all things supernatural, and shows Bill, Eric and Alcide the door.

Review

It’s interesting that Sookie spends most of the book romantically torn between a vampire and a shapeshifter. And the vampire is Eric, not Bill. And the shapeshifter is Alcide, not Sam.

Sookie spends a lot of time in this book realizing that she might have a supernatural romantic option other than vampires, and Alcide is definitely her type of down home pickup truck type of guy. The two of them are immediately in tune and strongly attracted. I don’t ship Sookie and Alcide at all, but I love their connection in this book, especially while pretending to be a couple at Club Dead, and the way they efficiently dispose of an unexpected body together.

But of course, for me, it’s all about Eric. This installment shows a real contrast between Bill and Eric, and Bill gets the worst of it. Although Bill never reveals Sookie’s name under torture at the mansion, he leaves Sookie for Lorena without a word. He rapes Sookie when Debbie locks the two of them in the trunk of a car. Yes, Bill was in dire straits, I get that, but rape is rape. Bill never even thinks of the consequences of creating a vampire name database, much less endangering Sookie by leaving it with her. And Bill gave money anonymously to the Bellefleurs while failing to notice that Sookie is too broke to have her long driveway re-graveled.

The scene in the beginning of the novel where Eric, Pam and Chow meet with Sookie at her house is so interesting and ambiguous, particularly in regard to Eric’s motives and feelings. He threatens to torture her if she doesn’t reveal what Bill was doing for the Queen, but later reveals that he was acting this way only because Chow was in the room. Eric sends Bubba to protect Sookie the moment he realizes she’s in danger. And after that exceptionally sexy blood exchange slash make-out session in Russell’s mansion, Eric doesn’t seem to be fighting his feelings for Sookie any more.

It’s so touching that in the end, Eric has Sookie’s driveway re-graveled. This is such a practical, thoughtful sort of gift, such a contrast to his vampire coldness. It makes me want to shake Sookie and say, if you’re going to go supernatural, why not Eric? He’s powerful, mysterious, smart, funny, considerate, protective and obsessed with you. Not to mention six-five and gorgeous. Okay, so he’s occasionally arrogant and overbearing, but there’s so much more to Eric. We know that by now.

And unlike Bill and Alcide, Eric isn’t obsessed with an evil, homicidal bitch. Bill’s Lorena and Alcide’s Debbie are pretty much parallel characters. Debbie even asks Alcide to kill Sookie. Alcide promises to dump Debbie, but I don’t believe him.

Just a couple more things I wanted to bring up, pretty much in the way of story boo-boos. The first is that vampires have invitation rules, and Bubba was never invited into Alcide’s apartment in Jackson — a critical plot point in the story. The second is Alcide’s description of werewolf reproduction. He tells Sookie that only two purebred werewolves can produce werewolf offspring, and only the firstborn is a werewolf. This makes no sense mathematically, because the species would have died out by now.

Bits and pieces:

— Only months have passed since the action in book one, [easyazon-link asin=”B000OCXHRW”]Dead Until Dark[/easyazon-link]. Sookie is 26 years old.

— Eric gives Sookie a lot of blood. It heals her after being stabbed, makes her feel superhuman, and makes her strong enough to carry Bill. This is the second time Sookie has taken Eric’s blood.

— We learn in this episode that Bill works for the Queen of Louisiana.

— Sookie and Alcide run into Tara at Club Dead. She’s dating a vampire named Franklin Mott.

— The burrito. 🙂

— I really enjoy the continuing joke of the Word-a-Day calendar. It just keeps being funny.

Television series notes

Russell Edgington is king of Louisiana, has a mansion and a human boyfriend named Talbot, and werewolf employees, but there is nothing about him being very old and powerful, and nothing about werewolves addicted to human blood. Lorena is Bill’s old flame but it is never said that she is his maker, and we meet her for possibly five horrible minutes.

There is a real difference in the Sookie/Eric relationship, too. The best Sookie/Eric scenes from the book either don’t happen or are minimized. There is no extended make-out session at the mansion. And Bill is shown in a much more positive light — he doesn’t leave Sookie for Lorena, and doesn’t rape Sookie in the trunk of the car. The ire of the book fans at this treatment of Eric as a character got pretty intense, and I get that.

In closing…

This was my favorite book in the series so far. Partly because a lot of it heavily featured Eric Northman the Viking vamp, one of my favorite characters. And partly because it was just laugh out loud funny.

Four out of four stakes. My next review, [easyazon-link asin=”B000O76OOU”]Dead to the World[/easyazon-link], will be posted at the end of December.

Important notice! After eleven books and four seasons of the series, I have no idea what kind of spoiler limitations to put on the comments section under these circumstances — so I’m not going to put any. It’s a spoiler free for all! If you’re new to the books and haven’t seen all of the television series True Blood, reading the comments may, and probably will, spoil you. Read on at your own risk!

(Billie Doux and her contributing writers review science fiction, fantasy and cult television shows at BillieDoux.com.)

I’m a hopeless sci-fi geek and huge fan of shows like True Blood, Lost, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I write episode reviews and articles about many of the shows that I love. All of my reviews are at DouxReviews.com

13 Comments

  1. trixie

    December 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    This is probably in my top 3 Sookie books. It’s just so fun and it has some of the best Eric/sookie moments of the entire series.
    As much as I enjoyed season 3, when I started reading the books just after it aired, I completely understood why book fans were so angry. There’s just so many moments that would have translated wonderfully on screen, and instead they chose to eliminate pretty much every positive, fun, or sexy interaction between them. Such a shame…

  2. esw45

    December 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Club dead sounds like a very funny, romantic and interesting book…..to me this book just shows that Eric gets her more than her other suitors ever does thats why he fits with her.

    Eveb though TB has omitted some stuff like them making out in the mansion and bill raping her…..Eric still seems to get her and lets her be herself

  3. Sookieeleana

    December 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Great review – one of my favorite Sookie books. I loved Sookie / Eric in this, I even loved Sookie / Alcide and I loved that Sookie / Bill was finally over for good.
    Season 3 TB was the first time I got really upset with the writers, I couldn’t believe or understand why they missed out some of the greatest S/E stuff. The scene in Russell’s mansion when he gets into bed with her and the scene near the end when he calls her my future lover (and you pretty much know by that point they are almost there). I still feel cheated that we didn’t get to see Alexander Skarsgard do that stuff as he would have been amazing.
    I adore this book and was in no doubt by the end of it that S/E belong together.

    • esw45

      December 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Sookieleana, I also believe that a lot of people that were upset about season 3 was that not only was Eric and sookie scenes from,the book were done to make them have more of a bond but the raping that bill did to sookie upset a lot of people because even though having sookie almost beaten to death by the,ra tays just to get her blood inside of her to forge a bond by bill…..was horrible but actually raping her would make it almost impossible to continue this triangle.

      • L.

        December 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

        but season 4 downplayed the whole reveal, you know what bill has done to sookie, I still don´t get it why she asked him for forgiveness, for what reason exactly?? I like book sookie more because she is much stronger and I like all the wonderful parts that charlaine has written about eric and sookie…

        • esw45

          December 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

          That us still one of the worst lines I have ever scene when sookie ask for him to forgive her???? I still want to know why does he need to forgive her?

          • Cha

            December 16, 2011 at 8:39 pm

            I was a little perplexed myself about why she was extending an apology to Bill at first but I watched it many times and then got to thinking and…………………….. I think she was saying sorry for how everything played out as far as her and him not working out (yes he lied I know, but all is fair in love, like Stevie said loves a crazy game 🙂 ) her not wanting to hear a word he had to say or giving him a chance to explain himself but mostly for Bill having to see her end up with Eric (even though it was short lived in season 4) which was something he’d always feared and something she was always saying she would never do.
            We all know she did nothing wrong by moving on so what else could it be that she felt remorseful about?

          • esw45

            December 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

            Cha I never thought about it that way and it could be why she apologized to bill, but still it doesn’t make much sense to me ….I know she needs to forgive him to move on ….but it just sounded so wrong.

            Sookie and bill discussed her having feelings for Eric at the end of season 3 so even though he was upset she and Eric became lovers …..I still believe he couldnt have been too shocked because of her feelings for Eric and now she was available……he knows Eric wants her…..bill just was surprised that Eric was really in love with her….he thought Eric just wanted to use her to get at him..

          • Sookieeleana

            December 17, 2011 at 4:11 am

            I pretty much view the season 3 revelation about the beating and the trunk rape in CD as parallels. Both are horrifically bad for Sookie. As I was reading the books I was never entirely satisfied at the way book Sookie dealt with her ordeal at Bill’s hands. I’m not as good a person as she is and I don’t think I would have been able to even look at him again. But as Charlaine Harris is a rape victim herself, I never felt that I was in a position to question how she deals with it (I have no personal experience of an attack). Now I’ve seen TB Sookie asking for forgiveness I think that book Sookie dealt with it very well. There were so many things wrong with that scene in the show, but if I could ask the writers just one question it would indeed be what exactly is Sookie asking forgiveness for? I see where Cha is coming from with her explanation, but it still sits uncomfortably with me. Sookie doesn’t need to apologize for falling for Eric. Bill moved on and slept with at least 2 other people, why shouldn’t she? Also Eric waited for her whilst she was away. The only person who needed a “sorry” for me was Eric, as she has no viable explanation for dumping him at this point.

          • Cha

            December 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm

            A quagmire indeed we may never fully get the answer to the what was Bill’s apology about question…. Or maybe Liz is on the right track and we may get a little explanation like in a random conversation with…. Darn I’m not even sure I can say Tara :-/ ?
            Waiting Really does Suck!

  4. Bethany

    December 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Firsst, everyone thinks that this is the 2nd time Sookie took Eric’s blood, but she got a 2nd taste of it at the end of LDID during the Maenad’s madness. Eric puts his hand over her mouth to quiet her screams and she bites down, tastes the blood in her mouth, and in her state she could not possibly help to get some of that blood in her system, but since she only got a little blood the first time with the gunshot, I figured it was like the two must make up one complete taking of his blood? That always bugged me, but then I read that CH got someone to help her with such things so there was less confussion later on in the books.

    I like everyone on the planet (IMHO) agree about season 3 TB. I mean I don’t think people tune in to watch Sookie and Bill get it on in a hot sex way. We were ALL waiting for Eric/Sookie post staking scenes. And how they made Janice into a biker B**** just didn’t sit well with me. I can remeber thinking that the teaser they showed when Eric came to Sookie’s window was going to be it. However they turned it into a dream sequence, which was fun, but not even remotely close to the hotness and humor that we got in the book. And I kept looking for someone to take up Bubba’s role in the book, which also never happened. I know they won’t ever cast Bubba himself, but somebody should take on his best lines at the very least. (When he follows Sookie all the way to Jackson cracks me up even thinking about it, and when he doesn’t tell anyone that the body is in the closet??? I loved those scenes in the book when they put that together.)

    I also felt that they missed the mark setting up the relationship between Alcide/Sookie. There was heat in the book, not as hot as Eric/Sookie, or even Bill/Sookie, but I found absolutely no heat between them here. And poor girl Sookie didn’t get to get all dressed up as she did in the book. I always liked that in a cinderella sort of way.

    I love that you are doing these reviews of the books. I read them regularly (I love to read but don’t have money to buy enough books to satisfy my desires and our library in town sucks) and it is always nice to chat about them with people who care and have read them from time to time.

  5. Bethany

    December 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    I also missed Curly, just a last note.

    • esw45

      December 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Bethany, what I did like about season 3 the dream with Eric and Sookie was that she knew as a child he grew up around the ocean……that she knew something about him that no one else knew about him. He was so shocked that he was daydreaming about her that he was taken aback and the way Pam looked at him…..wondering whart happened was priceless…..even though they cut out a lot of Eric/sookie book scenes that season…..this showed that Eric had fallen in love with her and didn’t realized it…