Synopsis: Sookie is going to face sharp, unexpected turns and twists of fate. Nothing new, right? Ok, perhaps nothing new for the faithful readers of the series but it is supposed to be new to her. You see, she will have to redefine her love life and her social status. She will have to face the music after the magic revival of Sam Merlotte, her former boss and her business partner. She will be pursued and harmed and hurt. She will experience the force of true friendship and the bitterness of an estrangement. She will find her true partner for life. She will be shot at and wrongly accused of murder. Will she survive? It’s the last part, officially anything can happen and yet…and yet… you don’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes to guess the rest. Because the rest is the silence (and I would love to add ‘the silence of the lambs’ but I suppose I would get you spooked so let’s leave that out, ok? Just an innocent remark in parentheses). My impressions (with spoilers): Writing a book is a strange business. Sometimes you think you get all the ingredients for a great story and you find yourself one character or one scene short for a complete, unparallel disaster. Sometimes you think the whole enterprise is just a silly prank and you are wrong again. Finishing a popular series is even a stranger business. You already know it’s been a success, you have your devout audience, plenty of people have nourished their own expectations concerning the story and now they want you to deliver. What to do? Fulfill the wishes of your most faithful fans (hey, they deserve it! They’ve voted with their money and made it happen!)? Follow stubbornly and proudly your own vision (providing you’d had one at all)? Listening to your editor, publisher and marketing gurus who are whispering in your ear some uncomfortable truths (‘hey, it’s the last chance to earn a bit more, most probably not to be repeated any time soon!’)? All of the above? Neither of the above? I completely agree that finishing a series is more daunting a task than starting one. I do applaud Ms Harris that she never went back on her word (she’d promised she wouldn’t follow the example of Twilight and her Sookie would never become a vampiress). Still the last Sookie novel left me cold, miserable, shrugging and sad. As I predicted some time ago (and no, I wasn’t alone) Sookie ended up with Sam. Yes, it was a kind of disaster. I’m writing it without even a drop of malicious satisfaction. Yes, I used to like that silly Sookie girl and her supernaturally exciting albeit completely small-scale life in the middle of nowhere (read: the southern rural America). Some of the installments were better, some were worse but in those better ones I found really good observations about the contemporary America and its inhabitants – their hopes and fears dressed up as supernatural creatures of different but mostly bloody sorts. Meanwhile the last part sounded banal and boring, from the beginning to the very end, as if it was written by somebody else who just gritted her teeth and ploughed through the plot to finish the blasted thing once and for good. Yes, the book consisted of roughly the same elements as the previous ones but somehow the whole magic was gone and my interest was never stirred, not even once. Now the list of my woes. Sookie predicaments rang hollow. Her love life went into a nose-dive with Eric so clearly out of the picture most of the time (if I had to be honest it had gone into a nose-dive even one or two installments earlier but at that point you still could hope). I didn’t care whether the unimportant and completely superficial crime riddle concerning the death of a certain white trash slut called Arlene would be solved or not. I didn’t enjoy the cavalcade of different, half-forgotten characters from previous parts the authoress forced to parade through more than half of the book without any sense, reason or fun. The new child of Eric, an ashen blonde called Katrin the Slaughterer, was almost comically bland compared to other vampires who had been presented in the heyday of the series. The almost- final sex scene between Sookie and Sam left me bored stiff and yawning (seriously, I bet sex in elderly nursing homes can be more hot than that). Nothing made sense. Nothing was new or clever or funny. Final verdict: Yes, I have been warned not to read this one. Yes, I couldn’t stop myself, especially that a friend lent me the book so I didn’t have to buy it. Yes, I regret it ended how it ended. Yes, I wasted an hour or two of my life again. Flames to dust… Now I need a pick-me-up rather badly. In fact it should be added to every copy of this novel for free.