This review is full of spoilers.
This is book 4 in the Sookie Stackhouse books, and I thought that it was about to par with the third book, and quite a lot better than the first two. I guess I'll take this moment to mention, in case you haven't seen my reviews of the first 3 books that before I decided to read this series, I watched all 6 of the currently aired seasons of True Blood, so my opinion of this book is obviously not what it would have been had I read the books first.
The book begins with Sookie at a new year's eve party where Sookie makes the sad, but circumstantially impressive resolution not to 'get beat up' this year, even if this means spending less time with Bill. I was actually really proud of Sookie for this, and in the long term (books 1-4) the author way she handled Sookie and Bill's relationship. I admit that in the first few books I assumed that this was another whisk-me-away, I-am-nothing-without-you stories where, the treatment of the leading lady by her love interest makes me cringe at it's presentation as a beautiful story. This does not seem to be the case though, because this book (as far as the relationship aspect of it) read to me like a healing, moving on story. I particularly liked the scene in which Sookie morns the loss of her 'one partner status' because I think that it is something that a lot of people don't think about until they, or someone they know are put in the situation. She had fallen in love with Bill, and slept with him, and I think she believed that they would end up getting married (pending legal changes) and that was that. I liked the very real pause she had when she slept with Eric, and the little internal debate about her own self image, because I know quite a few people who have had one of those moments.
Even though I enjoyed Sookie being with someone other than Bill, I'm not sure that I liked it being a memory wiped Eric. Somehow it felt a little bit shady her starting up a sexual relationship with someone who had no idea who he, or anyone else was (but I guess it's a little bit less shady because he obviously wanted to have sex with her before, during, and after his memory was wiped...).
I actually was able to enjoy the mystery aspect of Jason's sorry line, even though I already watched the show, because I guess it just didn't click with me where he was because of the differences throughout the show I just assumed it was different. I was a little disappointed in the way that his captivity ended though, because Jason running through the wood shouting about werepanthers was one of my favorite parts of the entire show, but I have hopes that it might happen in the next book.
I continue to be disappointed because of the lack of sub plots in the books, because as far as the series went I felt like Sookie and Bill's collective story lines (and to be honest, their separate ones) were the weak link.
I think that this book was better than the previous three, at least partially because it seemed to be structured better, with a more easily followed plot. Reading this book felt a lot more natural, and less like wading through muddy water that the previous three. I feel confident that I could have enjoyed this book without the crutch of the show to help me figure out where I was at some points.
I would still recommend this book to people who enjoyed the Vampire Diaries series and Beautiful Creatures, but I think that this one would appeal to a wider range of people (if they could get past books 1-3, or they didn't mind reading books out of order).