Friday, December 18, 2009

Dead and Gone; A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, by Charlaine Harris

The library in our new town is tiny. Their collection is added to/rotated through the Utah Driven to Read program, where large semi trucks with sattelite internet services go through rural stops offering books/DVDs/audiobooks to residents and school children. My young kids were sitting at one of the library's two small tables and I grabbed this book off the shelf behind me. I didn't have much time to browse.

This book is one of the latest in a long series of Sookie Stackhouse novels. And apparently they are the basis of the HBO series Trueblood, yet another vampire franchise. I hate picking up a book in the middle of a series. I feel like there is so much I missed. After reading Dead and Gone, I'm not sorry I missed the rest of them.

Sookie is a southern barmaid, who is part fairy. Like as in magical fairy, not homosexual, she has telepathic powers. Her brother Jason is a werepanther. Go figure.

In Sookie's world, vampires have come out of hiding and wereanimals are just taking the step in making themselves known to the public. Sookie's fairy relatives do NOT want to be known by humans, and there is a growing conflict between Sookie's relatives and other fairies who wish to completely shut off the fairy world from humans altogether. Sookie is tricked into getting engaged/married to Eric, a vampire sheriff trying to negotiate his way in a new vampire kingdom after a violent regime change. Her roommate Amelia, a witch, is dating a werepanther. And then Sookie's sister-in-law, another werepanther, who cheated on her brother Jason is found half transformed and crucified outside the bar where Sookie works.

Let's just say it's the most bizarre, soap-opera-esque, book I've come upon. I hate soap operas. The tawdry affairs are in there, the vengeful family feuds are there, the confused "I don't know if I love you but I'll go to bed with you anyway" emotions are there. And for those that like gore and torture mixed with sex, that's been thrown in too. No wonder HBO made it into a series.

I would not recommend this for teens. Moral issues aside, there isn't much to keep a reader involved in the story except for the constant conflict. The characters don't grow, don't evolve (except maybe the wereanimals but in a physical way), and nothing is really resolved so another book can follow.

It was a waste of time and now I need to go wash my hands. Blech.

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