I know there are many people out there wondering how I could possibly rate this book three stars given the conclusion to the love polygon. The answer is simple. Going into this novel I had zero emotional investment in any of the characters or in any of the relationships. Had this happened four books ago, I would have been possessed with the rage of a thousand suns and this review would have ended up being one long rant about the idiocy of Harris's decision to end the series the way she did. But the last four books did happen and the characters had already been thoroughly ruined, and frankly I couldn't care less who Sookie ended up with. I was merely reading this book so I could say I finished the series. So in this case a 2.5 star rating is more insulting than a one star rating because it just shows how uninvested I was in the characters.
So why rate this book this book 2.5 stars? I do feel like it was improvement over the last couple books in terms of pacing. The mystery was better developed and there was a lot less filler than in the previous book. The various story lines and character arcs were better integrated as well, and plot points stayed relevant throughout the entire book. Also, the fey were mostly absent, which was a breath of fresh air. Reading this book made it clear just how much the faeries bogged this series. Was the story perfect? No. There were some plot holes and unanswered questions, but my incredibly low expectations were exceeded.
As for the characters, Sookie remained pretty unlikable but somewhat less judgmental than she was in the previous books. Harris continued in her desecration of Eric in order to justify the romantic ending. Bill continued to have absolutely nothing to do and really should have been allowed to bow out a few books ago. It was nice to see some of the other characters gain redemption like Alcide and Amelia who haven't always been written in the best light, and I liked seeing all of the familiar faces.
The romantic ending was unsatisfying to say the least but I can't even say I was disappointed because that would suggest that I had hope. Going into this novel I was 98% sure who Sookie would end up with, and I was 100% sure (without having read any spoilers) of one character who she wasn't going to end up with. Harris dropped some pretty obvious hints in the previous four books so I was not surprised, and, again, the characters had been so thoroughly ruined that I just didn't care.
I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone other than those who, like me, just want to be able to say they finished the series. I doubt the ending will be satisfying to many people and the characters are consistent with their incarnations in the last few books, which means they were uninspiring. It's sad to see how far this series has fallen.