This is a short novel (336 pages) that might have benefited from being a little longer. It has the feeling of "The next episode in" rather than a full novel BUT it is a very pleasing episode (and so much better than the gratuitous, exploitive, porn-candy that Ball produces in "TrueBlood").
I continue to be impressed by how deftly Charlaine Harris uses Sookie's interior dialogues to create a distinctive and evolving world view. Her writing takes no effort at all to read but this is because she writes well, not because she has nothing to say.
This novel continues to explore the arc Sookie is going through from "telepathic girl next door" with a crush on a vampire to someone powerful and dangerous in their own right. In this book Sookie comes to terms with some hard truths about herself, learns new things about her grand mother and reappraises her relationship with just about everyone.
I admire the way Charlaine Harris can make a mundane baby-shower seem like the part of Sookie's life where she is pretending to be someone she has long ago stopped being.
There is a lot of violence and death in this book. It is described with flair and fills the mind while it's happening, but the violence is not gratuitous, its purpose is to show us how, with each killing, Sookie takes another step away from being human.
At one point in Sookie's interior dialog she notes, with some relief, that all the humans have left the room. I believe that she no longer automatically counts herself in that category.