Review: Dead to the World

Reviewed by Jen

Ask any Sookie Stackhouse fan which book is the best in the series, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one that doesn’t pick Dead to the World. This is the very best that the series has to offer. And the crowning jewel of this masterpiece: a Viking Vampire with amnesia.

Thanks to the events in Club Dead, Sookie’s relationship with that asshat Bill is over. And as this book begins, Bill is heading off to Peru to work on his vampire-directory project. Shortly after he leaves, Sookie finds Eric, running barefoot on an old country road with no memory of who he is or how he got there. She brings him back to her house and learns through his second-in-command Pam, that he has been cursed by a powerful witch. Her coven is now searching for him and Sookie has to hide him in her home until the vamps can smoke out the coven. At the same time, Sookie’s brother Jason goes missing. And Sookie must divide her time and attention between searching for him and taking care of her houseguest.

Amnesiac Eric is exactly what Sookie needs in her life. He has all the sexy of his regular self, but he is also honest, unassuming, and hopelessly crazy about Sookie. It takes very little time for her to succumb to his charms. And holy cow, their love scenes are a sight to behold! (There is a reason that romp in the shower is a series landmark unto itself.)
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The nefarious witch and her reign of terror ends up drawing in the Weres, which means we are treated to some more of the luscious goodness of one Alcide Herveaux.
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We learn more about his pack… and unfortunately, we’re subjected to more Debbie as well. Let me be clear when I say, I love Eric. But Harris paints Alcide as such a great alternative in these early books –if only he could just get over that horrible, horrible woman.

In addition to the introduction of Alcide’s pack members, we learn more about Crystal and the shifters in Hot Shot. (They’ll feature prominently in the next book.) And we meet Claudine, a Fairy who will become a big part of Sookie’s life.

It’s hard to talk about this book without gushing. It’s got the best of everything: great characters, good story, plenty of action, emotion, and hot sex. Plus Eric and Alcide. What more could a woman want? 5 stars

Review: Club Dead

Reviewed by Jen

My, what a difference one book can make! This is the book that changes the Sookie Stackhouse series from the Sookie and Bill Show into so much more.

As the story begins, a chasm is growing between Bill and Sookie. She feels the distance, but is still surprised and hurt when he tells her he is taking an extended business trip and won’t be honest about the details. After he is gone a short time, his vampire-boss Eric comes to Sookie to tell her Bill has disappeared. To make matters worse, Bill had told Eric that he was planning on leaving her, once he returned. Despite the heartbreak this causes, Sookie agrees to travel to Jackson, using her gifts to try to seek out her (former) flame.

Eric pairs Sookie with sexy, earthy werewolf Alcide. The were agrees to help, so he can pay off a debt his family owes to Eric. Alcide helps ease Sookie into the supernatural world of Jackson and, together, they work to figure out what happened to Bill.

The chemistry between Sookie and Alcide is off the charts. Almost as fantastic as it is between her and Eric. It’s easy to find yourself asking, “Bill who?” as she interacts with both men. Alcide would be a great partner for Sookie if he could just get over his dysfunctional relationship with his ex-girlfriend Debbie (who hates Sookie in a big way). As for Eric… he and Sookie are drawn together like magnets. It’s easy to see how she is hanging on to her resolve not to sleep with him, by a thin thread. And Bill… well, it’s hard to see how anyone can leave this book without thinking he is a complete asshat.I really like where this book took us. I have to say, Bill’s distance and change of heart at the beginning of the book felt forced and abrupt. But since I hate him so much now, I don’t really care anymore. 4 1/2 stars

Review: Living Dead in Dallas

Reviewed by Jen

Sookie Stackhouse is back. She’s happy and she’s in love. Her romance with Vampire Bill is a few-months strong and for the first time, she has somewhere she belongs. But the peace she’s been enjoying can’t continue forever. The small town of Bon Temps is turned upside down again, when Lafayette, the flamboyant gay cook at Merlotte’s, is found dead in the backseat of Detective Andy Bellefleur’s car.

But that mystery has to wait. Because Bill’s vampire-boss Eric is sending Sookie to Dallas to do a job. He’s loaned her out to the vampires there to help them find one of their own who has gone missing. Sookie uses her telepathic skills to figure out what happened to Russell. That draws her into the clutches of the nefarious Fellowship of the Sun, a group dedicated to the destruction of all vampires.

A lot happens to Sookie in this book. She meets Barry, a hotel bell boy who is also a telepath. She makes a big impression on the Texas vampires, including their leader Stan… who will be back in later books. For the first time, we get glimpses of the sizzling sexual tension between Sookie and Eric. And fissures begin to show in her relationship with Bill. We see, along with Sookie, what Bill’s lack of humanity really means. And she has to ask herself some very tough questions about what she can and cannot accept in her life.

I enjoy Sookie’s voice. She maintains her spunky, country-girl mentality. She holds on to her own morality, though admittedly she doesn’t stay too rigid –she allows herself to recognize that some of her formerly held beliefs may have been naive and in need of adjustments. But Eric is definitely a shining star here… just a glimpse of the supernova character he’ll become.

Season two of True Blood is based on this book. But there are some very big differences here. And I have to say, as with every season so far, other than the glory that is Alexander Skarsgard, the show is vastly substandard to the storyline in the book. There is a maenad, but it’s only a very small part of the storyline. Lafayette is the body in the car, because there is no Miss Jeanette. Tara is not Lafayette’s cousin. In fact, her role is very small and her character is nothing like it is the show. Oh yeah. And Godric is not the kidnapped vampire. He was the bait that helped kidnap Russell. And he’s not Eric’s maker. He is a child molester and killer. Just read the book.

4 stars.

Review: Dead Until Dark

Reviewed by Jen

If you’ve learned everything you know about Sookie Stackhouse from watching True Blood, you are missing out in a big way. Yeah, yeah, there is definitely something to be said about the joys of watching Alexander Skarsgard brood and wear muscle shirts. But the books put the tv series to shame. The biggest difference is that these books are all first-person Sookie. Everything is about her and the world from her perspective. (Most of the more ridiculous subplots of the series don’t even exist in the books.)

Sookie is a waitress in small town in northern Louisiana. She can read minds and it’s a curse that has plagued her for her entire life. It has isolated her and prevented her from ever developing real relationships… until she meets Bill. He is a vampire; his kind has just “come out” to the world. And when she is with him, there is no noise… just peace and silence. Their relationship kicks off when she saves his life from a wayward couple, planning to drain him and sell his blood as a drug. Not long after she rescues him, he ends up doing the same for her, when the couple returns to retaliate.

The relationship between Bill and Sookie develops quickly. (There are definitely some sexy scenes between the two that can get your blood racing, but nothing likely to make you blush if you’re reading in public.) But there is much more to the story than their relationship. Women are being murdered in their small town of Bon Temps. The victims all seem to have ties to vampires –and eventually, the murders hit very close to home for our heroine. There is action and suspense –and a great element of surprise when the killer is finally revealed.

Sookie is a likeable lead… a sweet country girl who is often underestimated. We see Bill through her eyes as this dashing, sexy, larger-than-life guy, who straddles the line between man and monster. There is a great supporting cast, lead by her boss Sam, her slutty brother Jason (who, despite his portrayal on tv, is not a complete idiot,) and the enigmatic Viking vampire Eric. This first installment really only gives us a peek into the supernatural world that will eventually be revealed as the series progresses. But it’s a great start. It’s fun and fantastic series for any fan of the Urban Fantasy genre. 4 1/2 stars

Click to purchase: Amazon

Series Reading Order: Sookie Stackhouse

This is the chronological reading order for the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris:

*Denotes short story/ novella
**There are other short stories set in the Sookie universe, but only these feature Sookie