I watch True Blood, but I am not a fan. I don’t like Anna Paquin’s performance, and Stephen Moyer makes my skin crawl. I watch True Blood for Eric, I swoon over True Blood for Eric, I rewind and pause True Blood for Eric. So that, plus my monomaniacal loathing of all things Twilight might have you wondering why on earth I would go to the trouble of downloading this audiobook for my gym and running sessions. Why indeed? It just sort of happened, and now that it has, it’s not right but it’s ok. I won’t be reappraising the ghastly TV Sookie’n’Bill any time soon, but I didn’t mind this book.
For any of you who don’t know already, Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress in rural Louisiana. Vampires have recently ‘come out of the coffin’, although they are still something of a rarity in Sookie’s hometown. All that changes when Bill Compton, veteran of the American Civil War, walks into the bar where she works. The two are thrown together when Sookie saves his life, and before long they’ve fallen into bed, and in love. Alongside this unusual love story is a murder-mystery, as someone is killing local chicks who’ve got history with vampires. Sookie looks like she’s lined up to be the next victim, and her brother Jason is the prime suspect.
The murder element of the plot had much more traction in the book than I remember from the TV show, which is part of the reason I enjoyed it more than I was expecting. Johanna Parker’s reading is another. She manages to overcome the more banal sequences (much of the book is given over to descriptions of what Sookie is putting on as she gets dressed, down to the colour of the scrunchy she has put over the elastic band that’s holding her ponytail in place), and gives Sookie a voice that is down-home without quite being hokey. Sookie is selfish and frightened, but also loves her friends and family, and really cares about what happens to them. Johanna Parker gives her dignity and stops her from coming across as shrill (Anna Paquin, take note).
Dead Ever After is the last instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse book saga. The novel begins with Sookie fretting about her relationship with Eric. He’s been incommunicado after the events of Deadlocked. She is abruptly summoned to Fangtasia where they have a vampire divorce ceremony because Eric has to marry that new vampire Queen of Oklahoma. Before Sookie can descend into a puddle of sadness, she is accused of the murder of a local woman (& ex-friend) who is dumped behind Merlotte’s bar. Turns out, the devil is in town bringing together Sookie’s enemies from books past to string her up with a murder wrap. In a predictable turn, Sookie makes bail and aims to solve the case with the Bon Temps Scooby Gang.
I complete my Cannonball Read this year (yay!) with the final book about Sookie Stackhouse. While the book 12 in the series was in the top three worst books I read in 2012, this one wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful either. It probably helps to have low expectations. Be warned, it does contain a spoiler about the end of Deadlocked (book 12), so if you haven’t read it (and if this is the case, do yourself a favour and DON’T), you may want to skip the first bit of my review. Enough talk, right? Go forth, to my blog, and read for yourself.
Well, the time has come. After 10 years and a whopping 13 books, Charlaine Harris last week released the final novel in the long-running Sookie Stackhouse series, the literary impetus for hit HBO show True Blood.
People always ask me if they should bother reading these books, and the answer is: It depends. Do you like absurd plots and a murder-to-novel ratio of approximately 24:1? Do you enjoy a narration style that feels only a few degrees shy of a fifth-grade diary? Do you like sexy vampires? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then by all means, read the Sookie books. They’re like cotton candy–saccharine, fluffy, and delicious.
But if you’ve got something pesky like “standards,” or simply don’t have the time, worry not: I’ve got you covered. Here’s everything that happens in the Sookie Stackhouse world. [SPOILERS SPOILERS LIKE LITERALLY A BILLION SPOILERS]: Continue reading →