I recently finished the Sookie Stackhouse series written by Charlaine Harris, which inspired the TV series True Blood. Since I already wrote a short review on Goodreads after reading each book, I just copied them all here for you. As you can see by reading, I really enjoyed this series early on, but Harris began to drag toward the end, which I guess is to be expected with such a long series. The series centers around a young telepathic woman, Sookie Stackhouse, who lives in a small town in Louisiana near her friends and family. It all starts with the first time she meets a vampire, whose thoughts she can't hear, and goes from there on a wild ride of mystery, comedy, and para-normalcy.
#1 Dead Until Dark: This
was great! Charlaine Harris creates a world that I find very
believable. If vampires were real and "came out of the coffin," as she
puts it, I'm pretty sure some parts of the world would be similar to how
she writes it. I've seen a little bit of True Blood, so I knew some
pieces of story to expect, but I was certainly surprised at some of the
differences in character which I found. I also liked the extra
background information that I got (as always) from the details in the
book that you don't get from television. I enjoyed the book a bit more
than the show, and I plan on reading more in this series.
#2 Living Dead in Dallas: I've
enjoyed both of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that I've read so far.
This one is quite a bit different than the TV show True Blood, while the
first one was fairly similar. I figure they'll become more and more
different, which is alright. They're both good in their own rights, but I
like the books better, to be honest. There are a few things I don't
like as much, such as Jason's attitude to Sookie in the first novel, but
overall, it seems more real/detailed/enjoyable, etc. The main reason
might be Sookie's narration, but I suppose I'll learn more as the series
goes on. Overall, it keeps the blood pumping with mystery, action,
intrigue, and it's just a nice, quick read.
#3 Club Dead: I'm
really enjoying this series. It's almost like a palate cleanser for
other things I'm reading, since the language and the general concept are
easier to grasp. The best thing about the writing, I think, is that the
narration is so consistent. Harris really has a grasp on Sookie's
character. One thing I don't like is some of the rehashing. I understand
a little rehashing of vampire capabilities and such toward the
beginning of each book, I assume for the ease of those who didn't start
the series at the beginning, but it bothers me when those comments
continue throughout the story, almost to the very end. Even if some of
the main characters aren't the smartest people (a flaw which isn't often
found in main characters and is appreciated by this reader for its
rarity), Harris might improve parts of the book by assuming that her
readers are a little smarter. Just a sidenote. In general, I really
liked this story and the fact that Sookie decides she isn't willing to
sacrifice herself for the sake of a cheating, abusive vampire boyfriend,
since every other vampire's girlfriend in modern writing seems
compelled to do so.
#4 Dead to the World: I
really enjoyed the step aside in Eric's amnesia. This one was a bit
different than the usual Sookie Stackhouse book, but not in a bad way. I
appreciate how Charlaine Harris can keep two intertwining plot lines
going so well; it leaves a really nice way to emphasize her choice of
first-person narrative, since Sookie always has suspicions of things
being connected in ways that they never are. Also, I liked how she
introduced witches to the series, although I think that became a "bark
bigger than bite" situation.
#5 Dead as a Doornail: This
book was a "win some on this part, lose some on this part" for me.
There were definite sections to the book, and I think readers will
probably take a very certain stance on which parts they liked and which
they did not. What I mean to say is that the entire book will not appeal
to one person or another--different parts will appeal to different
people. That being said, the parts that I didn't like were excusable
because I can still see how it fits in the world Harris is creating. The
werewolves' competition for a new packmaster was not something I agreed
with or that I would have written, but I can see how it works with the
persona of the pack. Also, I'd like to mention that I never quite
predict how these Sookie Stackhouse books will end. I like that I can
read the series and, although I can predict certain events, I can never
completely know what's going to happen. Harris goes very different
directions than I would personally, and there's a lot I admire about
that. She has a unique way of writing and represents the voice of her
main character very well.
#6 Definitely Dead:
sure how to feel about this one. I liked it, but I was suspicious the
whole time since there were so many newly-introduced characters.
Everything with the Pelts was insane, and I don't like that Sookie keeps
getting almost sexually-assaulted. Other than that, the book was really
good, and Quinn was a unique addition to the characters.
#7 All Together Dead: What
a roller-coaster ride! This book was on high speed almost the whole
time, but it almost provides a crazy adrenaline rush for the reader! The
vampire summit was a brilliant event idea on Harris's part, I think. It
provided new territory with basically unlimited possibilities. I cannot
put this series down! You can ask my husband--as soon as I finish one, I
pick the next one up. This was one of my favorites in the series so
far, and I can't wait to see what's next for Sookie and her (sort-of)
#8 From Dead to Worse: What?!
From Dead to Worse is a bit scattered, and boy, does it end with a
bombshell! Rather than the usual two plot intertwining, Harris uses a
bunch of smaller plots to pull this book together. Between the Were
succession, the vampire takeover, Sookie's great-grandfather, and
Amelia's witch dilemmas, I think this book is meant to be a segway in
the series connecting larger plot lines. Harris puts everything together
with clever attention to detail. Harris allows Ms. Stackhouse to make
peace with her past and brings in other family so Sookie won't be alone
after Jason's mistakes. Also, she makes way for a reconciliation with
Bill, more open communication with Sam, and a closer connection to Eric
(possibly without the same expectations). And as Sookie appears to break
further away from the humans around her, she makes more connections to
supes across the country, an effective substitute for the storyline.
This book didn't give me the same emotional roller coaster I felt with
the others, but it seems to be a very smooth transition, and I look
forward to reading the next one in the series.
#4.1, 4.3, 5.1, 7.1, 8.1 A Touch of Dead: I liked having the short
stories that belong in-between the books. It was kind of fun to read
some smaller events going on in Sookie's life, although the books are
set in such a close timeline to one another that I didn't find it
necessary. I was a little surprised that she had such little interaction
with some of the main male characters, considering what a large role
they play in the books themselves. Overall kind of fun to read through,
but I wouldn't spend a lot of time on it or want to own the book.
#9 Dead and Gone: This
is the saddest of the Sookie Stackhouse books that I have read so far.
In all of the series' books, there is some death and some crazy wars and
things, but in this one it becomes personal. Not only is the war taking
place primarily centered around Sookie's family, but the people who die
are ones you never would have wished or expected, and Sookie is damaged
(emotionally and physically) more than ever before. Who knows where the
series will go from here.
#10 Dead in the Family: I
like how this one started--slowly, with a focus on Sookie's physical
and emotional recovery after the insanity of the last book. The entire
book was really an aftermath of previous events, a picking-up of pieces,
if you will. Although the "mysterious players" (because there's always
at least one in each book) in this book were easier to discover than
they usually are, the ending was fairly unpredictable. Also, the
characters were changing quite a bit as the story went on, which
confused me a bit. I understood how they were changing, I just didn't
know how to feel about it. I'm still not sure how I feel about some
characters that were very clear to me before.
#11 Dead Reckoning: This
book was...complicated and frustrating, to say the least. Not that it
wasn't good. It's one of those where you want to yell at the characters
constantly for saying certain things or not taking action that makes
sense to you. Also, most of the Sookie Stackhouse books end somewhat
happily, but this one didn't. Each plot within the story culminates into
something sad or horrible from which Sookie might never recover.
Harris's book ends with a cliffhanger of epic proportions, and I know
I'm nearing the end of the series. I believe there is one book after
this one and one that has yet to be published, but I might be wrong.
There are about six reasonable pathways I could see this story taking. I
won't reveal them at this moment, but I'm waiting on the edge of my
seat to see what will happen to complete the Sookie Stackhouse series.
#11.5 The Sookie Stackhouse Companion: I
was a bit disappointed by this book. I guess I didn't really understand
what it was supposed to be until I read it. I'll explain: the book is a
companion, as it's described, and it contains lots of recap information
to keep the book straight as well as some extra information. I'll cover
this in three sections. Parts I knew I wouldn't care for: the recap of
each story (I already read the books), the index of everyone in the
series (read above parentheses), and the fan narrative (pointless?).
Okay parts that disappointed me: the interviews with the author and the
director of True Blood (these were interesting, but not enough for me to
ever read again--they might make more sense as a magazine article or a
post online) and the secret conversations between Eric and Bill (I was
really excited about these and expected them to have new, interesting
information, but there was only enough to brush the references in the
series to their conversations). The third part is the short story in the
beginning, which saved this book for me. I think my problem was in
buying the book. I never had any trouble keeping track of the characters
or events in the series itself, and the primary purpose of the book
(apparently) was to lay-out these things. I should have borrowed it from
the library or tried to find it used. I'll probably pass my copy on to
someone else and never pick it up again.
#12 Deadlocked: Wow.
I'll be honest: after everything that has happened in this series, I
don't like the characters nearly as much as I did before. I guess I
still like some of them, but their actions make it harder for me to root
for anyone to survive or be happy. I guess this is good, since the
series is almost over. It makes it easier for me to let go. I really
feel like I've been watching a TV show rather than reading a series,
which I guess is why it translates so well into the show True Blood
(although they've changed it quite a bit for the show). Although I'm not
as emotionally invested in the series since my disappointment in the
characters, I've still enjoyed reading it, and I'm looking forward to
reading the conclusion in May.
#13 Dead Ever After: I
can't decide what to say about this book because it's the ending of
such a long series. I won't say I'm disappointed, but I will say that
this book felt anti-climactic to me. Harris does a good job pulling in a
lot of loose threads from the old books. Unfortunately, she also pulls
in some threads that I thought were tied and could have been left out.
Without ruining it for anyone who doesn't know, I'll say this: Instead
of taking care of random people I barely remembered, she could have
spent a little more time settling things with the people I did. Harris
uses her beloved signature writing style for this book, which still
makes it worth the read, but it felt like she just put together a bunch
of little ideas for ending the series, and the only way they connected
was in having contact with Sookie at some point in the series.