I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The vamps have been out for years, and now the weres and shifters have decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world. Sookie Stackhouse already knows about them, of course - her brother turns into a panther at the full moon, she's friend to the local were pack, and Sam, her boss at Merlotte's bar, is a shapeshifter.
The great revelation goes well at first - then the horribly mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of Merlotte's, and Sookie agrees to use her telepathic talent to track down the murderer. But there is a far greater danger than this killer threatening Bon Temps: a race of unhuman beings, older, more powerful, and far more secretive than the vampires or the werewolves, is preparing for war. And Sookie is an all-too-human pawn in their ages-old battle...
This seems to be the point in this rather long series where the author was losing interest in these characters but was still being encouraged to produce books by her publisher. While still entertaining, they are becoming cookie-cutter books, with predictable characters in predictable predicaments solving their problems in predictable ways.
This should have been the book to deal with the “coming out” stories of the Were community, and instead it gets hijacked by fairy drama. So, while I would have liked more detail on Sam, for instance, instead we get a pointless war, complete with the death of Claudine, the only fairy character that I actually liked. The horrible death of Sookie’s shifter sister-in-law gets almost glossed over and it seems that no one actually misses the poor woman.
Eric gets much more attention in this installment, as he tricks our gullible heroine into a vampire marriage. Supposedly this is to protect Sookie from the new vamp hierarchy, but it seems pretty self-serving, especially when a quick conversation could have straightened everything out. By contrast, Vampire Bill comes out of this smelling like a rose, having proven himself devoted to Ms. Stackhouse.
One wonders how many more “wars” can be invented to be the centre of each new book. I do truly enjoy the setting and many of the characters, but can appreciate why others would quit reading around this point. For me, this was an easy read during a struggle of my own with a migraine headache (which may actually have affected my enjoyment and account for the crankiness of this review).