It is New Year's Eve, and cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has one major resolution for the upcoming New Year: not to get beat up. But when, on her way home from work that night, she sees a naked man running down the side of the road, her impulse to stop and help him leads her straight down a path that she suspects is going to throw that resolution straight out the window.
It turns out that the naked man is ultra-sexy vampire Eric - only he's not quite himself. He's been cursed by a witch and has no memory of who he is. Sookie is shocked and a bit fascinated by the change in his personality - the uber-confident, high-handed, self-satisfied Eric has been replaced by someone who is sweet, vulnerable and gallant. Sookie finds herself falling for this new Eric, even though she knows it's foolish.
The witches are on the hunt for Eric, and Sookie soon learns they are a force to be reckoned with. To complicate matters, Sookie's brother Jason disappears, after having last been seen with a young woman Sookie knows is a shape-shifter of some sort. When the police find a smear of blood on the dock behind Jason's house, Sookie fears the worst.
I enjoyed this installment in the Southern Vampire series, having reread the first three so I could continue on with the series. I like that, unlike so many heroines in this genre, Sookie is not a vengeful kick-ass heroine - she's more a polite, reluctant oops-I-just-kicked-ass, but-only-because-I-had-no-other-choice kind of heroine. She is kind and gracious, and when she finds herself having less than kind thoughts about truly odious people, she takes herself to task for it. I might not have noticed this so much had I not been reading Death's Mistress at about the same time I was listening to this one, and while the two heroines are equally likable, they are extremely different!
There were a few things that didn't quite gel for me (possible spoilers here - be warned), such as why, in the witch-house melee, the people she's gone in to save end up being escorted from the building by her nemesis while she stays inside - why? Made no sense. Also, why would the blood on her jacket be proof of anything untoward, as far as Eric is concerned, when she was wearing it at the witch house, which was the scene of an enormous, bloody fight? Of course her clothes would have been bloody.
Still, this was an engaging installment in the series, and once again I found Johanna Parker's narration to really bring the story to life. I enjoy the story arcs that move across books in the series, and the way in which events continually shape and change the course of Sookie's life. Things are not easy for her, but she does her best to live according to the values she's been brought up with - despite the fact that the world has changed to include vampires, werewolves, witches and other strange and unusual creatures. This installment has a bittersweetness to it, and it takes Sookie to some surprising places - I look forward to seeing what happens next.
Books in the Southern Vampire (Sookie Stackhouse) series:
1. Dead Until Dark
2. Living Dead in Dallas
3. Club Dead
4. Dead to the World
5. Dead as a Doornail
6. Definitely Dead
7. Altogether Dead
8. From Dead to Worse
9. Dead and Gone
10. A Touch of Dead (short stories)
11. Dead in the Family
Dead to the World (# in the Southern Vampire series) by Charlaine Harris; read by Johanna Parker (Recorded Books, 2008)
Also reviewed at:
Avidbookreader: "While Dead to the World is not my favorite of the series, it was still a good, quick read. My favorite is still Dead Until Dark and I prefer Bill Compton, no matter how boring he may be to some of you (and you know who you are)."
Confessions of a Bibliophile: "I liked how there are some events that happen here that will definitely change Sookie’s future — I can’t wait to see where the story’s going!"
Fyrefly's Book Blog: "Oh, this one was really, really good. It’s the same fun mixture of romance and fantasy and mystery and chick-lit as the rest of the series, but it comes together much more smoothly here."