Anyone who has read Charlaine Harris has probably seen the fuss over her last Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Ever After. Others might recognize it as the base for True Blood, though the ‘based-on’ is fairly loose.

I haven’t read it yet, no spoilers, please!

If you click on the link to Goodreads, you will see some fan rage. In fact, I’d call it fan hate. Some people are very, very angry at Ms. Harris for this book. Fair enough.

Some are descending to personal attacks, which isn’t acceptable in my opinion.

On Amazon, the book has 2.1 stars; on Barnes & Noble, 2.73 stars; and Goodreads, 3.44 stars (as I’m writing this, I’m sure the numbers will change.) Every site has vitriolic comments and enthusiastic raves.

Reviews are personal opinions, but people are taking this too far.

Dead ever after

I agree that calling it the ‘final’ novel and then publishing a ‘coda’ is… odd. You can’t please everyone–many fans wanted the series to have ended some time ago, while others wish it would continue to infinity.

Books are a good to be sold, so writers need to make them commercial.  But what obligations do writers have to their fans? Should they change endings to please as many people as possible?

Part of me says ‘Yes!’ Especially when a writer chooses and ending that makes me upset. As someone who writes, I mostly feel the answer is ‘No.” It’s the writer’s story, after all, a dream that’s lived inside their heads for months or years and sometimes decades. How can a writer let someone significantly alter that?

Personally, I was less happy with Ms. Harris’ last few books, which is why I didn’t pre-order Dead Ever After. I’m waiting to read it at the library. I’ll likely get the ‘coda’ the same way.

Will I own it/them? That I don’t know yet.

As readers, we vote with our money.

We pre-order expensive hardbacks, or wait for the cheaper paperback. Sometimes we buy both. Or hunt for the book in a used book store. Or read it once from the library and never buy it at all.

We may buy related merchandise–we need a t-shirt with our favorite character, or a necklace with a recognizable symbol. We may recommend a friend buy the book, or buy extra copies to give as gifts.

How do you show your support of the authors you love?

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

3 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    I, too, stopped reading the Sookie books several books back. I had LOVED the series from the onset, but the minute the Alternate Sookieverse appeared on HBO, things changed. I absolutely feel the author has the right to tell her stories as she sees fit. But it is hard to swallow when an author has spent years carefully building personalities, and telling us “this is who these characters are,” then suddenly has them behaving in ways that are completely NOT who we’ve learned to love. For me, it just seemed Harris had lost track of who she was writing about, though that is only my opinion. I only know that Sookie morphed into someone no longer likable, and the storyline took twists that just wiped out my favorite characters one by one, by having them act in ways that made no sense. Did I blast Charlaine Harris personally? NO. Of course not. Only rude and ignorant people would turn a negative opinion of a book into a personal attack. Did I give a flaming, horrible review? Not exactly. I think I expressed disappointment in the direction the story had gone, and said I would just make up my own ending to suit myself. I have not read a word of the series, since, but I can tell from the ratings of the last few books that I was not alone in feeling like I did.

    When I love a series or an author, I will give them every chance to hook me with new books and new series. I do preorder, if I’m so hooked I can’t wait to get the next book. Most of the time, my favorites don’t disappoint. Once in a while, they write something that doesn’t pull me in. All authors can’t be all things to all people all of the time. (I made that up! It’s catchy, right?) And yes, I have bought merchandise before, just like a squeeeeeing fan-girl. I have also gone (finally) to an author signing and Q&A session. I would definitely do that again if the opportunity presented itself. And, when I was in bed for six weeks recovering from major surgery, there were several series that I read from beginning to end. I emailed each of the authors to let them know that their work had helped me get through a very trying time by providing wonderful outlets for escape. (I heard back from all but one of them, too, which was fun.)

    • caitlinstern says:

      I read a few places (no idea if it’s true) that someone had convinced Ms. Harris to write several more books than she planned. If that is true, it may be why so many people are disappointed.

      Meeting an author is fun, isn’t it? I’ve gone to a few signings, and it’s nice to see they’re usually weird and awkward just like the rest of us.
      And as happy to be loved as we fans are to love them–I bet you made somebody’s day with your emails!

      • Marcia says:

        I will tell you, I heard back from Ilona Andrews (the Kate Daniels, and Edge series), via Gordon writing me two very nice emails. I also heard back from Eileen Wilks (The World of the Lupi), and at least two others that I can’t remember, though I have saved the emails and can look them up. I was so thrilled that they took the time to write me, and I do hope it made their day to know how much pleasure their books had given me. What a treat it was. And it was Kim Harrison (the Rachel Morgan series) and Jeanienne Frost (Cat & Bones) that my friend and I went to see. They were absolutely delightful, and very funny & friendly. Down to earth, and approachable, giving us the impression they were as happy to meet their fans as their fans were to meet them. I expected polite, but I thought there might be an air of “another one of these signings to get through” about them. Not at all. I keep looking to see who might be coming to central Florida in the near future, but so far, no luck.

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