This is the third book in the series and Sookie is suffering from inattentive boyfriend syndrome, who prefers the computer to her.  Bill then tells her that he has to go to ‘Seattle’, but her worst fears are confirmed when Pam, who I am really starting to like and is far nicer in the book than in the TV series, tells her that Bill wasn’t being entirely truthful – what a surprise.  It turns out that he had gone back to his old vampire lover and was going to pension Sookie off.  What a charmer.  However, before he could do that, he was going to visit Eric and Pam but he disappeared before doing so and they want to find him because his tinkering on the computer was actually something “really important”.

Going forward from the last book, we have new supernatural characters, including Weres in the form of Alcide.  He’s been blackmailed by Eric into going to Jackson with Sookie so she can read the minds of people who might know where Bill is.  He is everything that Bill isn’t, complete with a beating heart, but sadly he is hung up on his ex girlfriend who is engaged to someone else (and is also a nutjob).  Of course Sookie is still mourning for Bill which is why she if risking her life (again) to save him, but she is also starting to pay attention to all of the supernaturals who are making gooey eyes at her.

I was trying to figure out why Sookie irritates me. First of all, she has this ‘oh I am blonde, pretty, with hidden talents and big boobs – I also wear tiny clothes and I don’t know *why* all these men want me…’ thing going on for her.  Sure, in the first two books where she was getting to understand the world of vampires and discovering that her ‘disability’ is in fact a gift; but every supernatural from Sam to vampires and the weres all want to shag her, yet she still complains that the bigoted idiots who frequent the bar don’t like her.  However there was a line in the book that revealed the real source of my irritation.   Sookie was in the bar and had bumped into Tara who started reminiscing about their school days and in particular a raunchy dance that they did for a school contest, which Tara wanted to perform.  Sookie said how ‘it gave her (Tara) so much pleasure (to perform the dance) how could I deny that to her’.  This sums up Sookie and is what annoys me so much.  She will do whatever anyone else wants her to do, just because it makes the other person happy, regardless of her own ideas/feelings/morals/dignity.  If the rough sex that she didn’t really want to take part in gave Bill pleasure then she’d give in and do it, if Tara wanted to do a stripper dance in front of a bunch of vampires and weres on a full moon when tensions were running high, she’d do that too – hey, Sookie, if someone wanted you to do crystal meth because it gave them pleasure, would you?  Gah.

So here she is in Jackson with Alcide, Bubba and Eric on hand to look after her, but she still ends up getting fatally injured when she saves a vampire who was about to get staked.  Eric is on hand to give her his blood and she survives, finding herself recovering in the building where Bill is being held.  So after being hurt she has to go and save him, cue lots of fun and games.  It gets worse, just when she thinks that it is all OK, Alcide’s vindictive ex-girlfriend, traps her in the boot of a car with a starved Bill, who not only drinks from her, but also rapes her.  Congratulations Bill, on going to even deeper levels of scumbaggery.

Again, Eric is on hand to show that vampires aren’t all the same as Bill.  Even after Sookie risks her life finding Bill and then again when Bill finds her, she finds herself on the sharp end of the weres who are out for blood and have secured the help of a particularly brutal gang of humans.  Yet again, Sookie is being battered, at least this time Eric was on hand to help.

One question I have is, why, when Sookie is mauled by Bill, do they get her to drink the synthetic blood to help with the blood loss?  Surely she needs a blood transfusion rather than just eating blood which would have no more effect than eating a steak.  Of course vampire blood is different, but this glaring question bugs me …

Finally, I like the way that Eric sorts out her driveway and cleans up her house so discretely and kindly.  Of course he still wants to shag her, but he is also showing kindness – not something that old Bill the Berk would do… So I did enjoy this book fractionally more than the first two, but I would like to have more details about the supernatural world as it seems that Sookie is becoming more a part of that than the human world.  The author keeps on hinting at things, but only touching on the same details over and over again which is starting to get it is very frustrating.

I liked the end of the book where Sookie was having a good old chuckle to herself after rescinding the invitations to Bill and Eric to her house and relishing her new-found freedom.  Let’s hope that she keeps it up.