A review of Charlaine Harris’s ‘Definitely Dead’ chapter eighteen

The ectoplasmic reconstruction is stopped at this point because the witches are all utterly exhausted and collapsing everywhere.  And then we get another load of plot exposition because the witches want to know what’s going on. Boring, boring, it’s just repeating everything over again. Then Amelia shoots her mouth and upsets the queen.  It looks like everyone might die.  Well done there Amelia.

I don’t know what would have happened next if Quinn hadn’t driven through the gate.

He ambles about, kisses Sookie and calms everything down.  He’s told about Jake, and it turns out he’s a missing employee of his, and Quinn then asks about the burnt demon in Sookie’s yard.

“Lots of people dying in your yard, babe.”

Thinking about it, actually, no Quinn, it’s not that many.  Much, much more in the house.

The Queen and Andre take Sookie upstairs back to Hadley’s apartment to have a pleasant little chat.  It’s a pretty amazing conversation, so I am going to quote it all.

Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq, a history.

“I began my life in what became northern France, about… one thousand, one hundred years ago.  I didn’t know where I was, of course, but I think it was Lotharingia.  […] My mother was the wife of the wealthiest man in the town, which meant he had two more pigs than anyone else. My name then was Judith.  [While yes, this is a Hebrew name, it was not common during the early medieval period, and was not really used a great amount until the Protestant reformation. I know, splitting hairs, but just FYI] When I was about ten or twelve, I think, a peddlar came to us from down the road. We hadn’t seen a new face in six months. We were excited.  He carried an illness that had never come to us before. I think now that it was some form of influenza. Within two weeks of his stay in our town, everyone in it was dead, excepting me and a boy somewhat older. Clovis did not like me. I’ve forgotten why.  Our fathers… I don’t remember.  Things might have gone differently if he had cared for me. As it was, he raped me and then took me to the next town, where he began offering me about.  For money, of course, or food. Though the influenza traveled across our region, we never got sick.  What happened next was, we were camped in the woods, and a vampire got him. The vampire was very hungry, and started on Clovis first, because he was bigger, but when he was through with Clovis, he could take a minute to look at me and think it might be nice to have a companion. His name was Alain. For three years or more I traveled with Alain. Vampires were secret then, of course. Their existence was only in stories told by old women by the fire. And Alain was good at keeping it that way. Alain had been a priest, and he was very fond of surprising people in their beds.”

The history so far has been all right, nothing glaringly terrible, until that last bit. France has no native vampires myths from this period.  They would not know what a vampire was at all. The vampiric myth, at least within Europe, would have been confined to more eastern and Germanic regions in the eleventh century.

“Alain promised and promised to bring me over, because of course I wanted to be as he was, I wanted the strength.  But when he needed money, for clothes and food for me, he would do the same thing with me that Clovis had, sell me for money. He knew the men would notice if I was cold, and he knew I would bite them if he brought me over. I grew tired of his failing in his promise. Then one night we came into a village where the headman knew Alain for what he was. Stupid Alain had forgotten he had passed through before and drained the headman’s wife!”

Why are you using the phrase ‘headman’? Are you implying they still had a certain tribal quality? Because… no. Just no.

“So the villagers bound him with a silver chain, which was amazing to find in such a small village, I can tell you… and they threw him into a hut, planning to keep him until the village priest returned from a trip. Then they meant to put him in the sun with some church ceremony. It was a poor village, but on top of him they piled all the bits of silver and all the garlic the people possessed, in an effort to keep him subdued.  They knew I was a human, and they knew he had abused me.  So they didn’t tie me up.  The headman’s family discussed taking me as a slave, since they had lost a woman to the vampire.  I knew what they would be like. That night, I pulled out some weak planks from the rear of the hut and crawled in.”

Wooden huts? Seriously? Uh, no.

“I told Alain that when he’d brought me over, I’d free him. We bargained for quite a time, and then he agreed. I dug a hole in the floor, big enough for my body. We planned that Alain would drain me and bury me under the pallet he lay on, smoothing the dirt floor over as best he could. He could move enough for that. On the third night, I would rise. I would break his chain and toss away the garlic, though it would burn my hands. We would flee into the darkness. But the priest returned before three days were up. By that time I clawed my way out of the dirt, Alain was blackened ash in the wind. It was the priest’s hut they’d stored Alain in. The old priest was the one who told me what had happened.”

Yes, that’s a huge chunk of writing, but I found this to be amazingly fascinating. Small historic quibbles aside, Sophie-Anne is the perhaps the most interesting vampire in the series so far – at least, one of the best conceived. She made Andre because he was abused, and took Hadley under her wing because she was abused too. She then asks Sookie about her childhood molestation, because that’s always appropriate and pleasant to talk about.

I didn’t know which made me more uncomfortable, the idea of the queen and my cousin Hadley having sex, or having pillow talk about me afterword.

Also apparently Hadley took a very expensive bracelet from the queen and she really wants it back. PLOT POINT.

Also Sookie and Andre have to pretend that they had sex so no one will be suspicious of them having talked.

“I love the smell of fairy. Do you think she knows she has fairy blood?” he asked.




Andre and the queen leave, and of course, Quinn is rather pissed about the whole business, thinking that Sookie was forced into having sex with Andre.  She calms him down, and then he asks her for sex (what a quick turn around of mood), and she declines, saying that she couldn’t sex with him without knowing him better.  Good call.

Well done for having read this large wall of text. Enjoy my new video as a treat!


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