May 12, 2006

Charlaine Harris

Date: May 11, 2006 6:04 PM
Topic: Charlaine Harris

I love the Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries which features mind-reader Sookie Stackhouse as narrator. The first book, Dead Until Dark, came out in 2001, and I came across it quite by accident while browsing the paperback mystery section in the library. I read it and was hooked. I have made sure to read everyone as they have been published. It's not necessary to read the books in order, but it's probable best to do so. Although Harris, like most series authors tries to bring readers up to speed with each book, a lot of nuance concerning plot and characters are lost.

Some have likened this series to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels because of the intrepid heroine and the variety of paranormal creatures that abound. There are vampires, of course, and, as in Hamilton’s world, these undead now have made themselves known to the human world and have legal status. Others connected to the nether
world include - werewolves, fairies, witches, were-tigers, were-foxes, and demons. It seems that the list gets longer with every book. Unlike Anita Blake, Sookie stories have a less sex and more plot. Some refer to the series as Anita Blake light.

The settings are usually southern Louisiana. Sookie lives in Bon Temp and often must travel to New Orleans. In the most recent novel -
Definitely Dead (Ace, May 2006) much of the story does take place in the Big Easy. Harris explains in an author’s note that this book had gone to press before Hurricane Katrina, but the reader should keep in mind that the story takes place before the devastation of last summer.

Here are some of the notes I made while reading Definitely Dead: Quite a bit of the first part of the story is about things currently going on is Sookie’s life. Like Eric - the handsome Viking Vampire and the boss of her former lover Bill. Sookie fills in the gaps for anyone new to her musings. She’s had sexual relations with both vamps although not at the same time. Bill was her very first love. But things have been strained between them recently and he is dating someone else although it is obvious to the reader if not Sookie that he still has strong feelings for her.

Eric owns a bar - Fangtasia - in New Orleans? Not sure but somewhere in the state of LA. He also has a thing for Sookie but has pretty much been hands off with her until the novel where he lost his memory and she found him walking naked along a road near where he lived. So they made a great twosome while his memory was blank. Sookie eventually found out that some witches had put a curse on him. She took care of that. Eric was back to normal but without remembering their “close encounter”. Sookie decides it’s best to keep it that way.

In this novel the tall, muscled, gorgeous Quinn comes calling. First he must tell Sookie that the Queen of Louisiana wants her to come to New Orleans. Then he lets Sookie know that he finds her most attractive and of course the feeling is mutual. There are plenty of kisses between them but not much else until close to the end.

Southern Vampire Mysteries in order of publication

Dead Until Dark (Ace, 2001)
Living Dead in Dallas (Ace, 2002)
Club Dead (Ace, 2003)
Dead to the World(Ace, 2004)
Dead as a Doornail (Ace, 2005)
Definitely Dead (Ace, 2006)

2 comments:

Llyrae said...

Hi, I do need to make a couple of clarifications to your blog.

"Eric owns a bar - Fangtasia - in New Orleans? Not sure but somewhere in the state of LA. He also has a thing for Sookie but has pretty much been hands off with her until the novel where he lost his memory and she found him walking naked along a road near where he lived. So they made a great twosome while his memory was blank. Sookie eventually found out that some witches had put a curse on him. She took care of that. Eric was back to normal but without remembering their “close encounter”. Sookie decides it’s best to keep it that way."

1. Eric's bar is in Shreveport.
2. He wasn't naked, he was wearing jeans when she found him running down the side of the road.
3. She didn't take care of his memory or the witch who cursed him. Pam tortured the witch into reversing the curse and killed same.

Otherwise good work :)

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Llyrae

Yes, the bar is in Shreveport. I should have checked that before posting.

You are absolutely right, Eric was wearing jeans while running down that cold, lonely road. Somehow I remembered him being naked. Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part! Of course a bit later we do get to see more of this gorgeous guy.

As for the final battle with the witches, I agree, Sookie was not alone. She and Pam made quite a formidable team.

I should have mentioned in the post that the events discussed here took place in Dead to the World (2004).

Llyrae, thanks for writing and keeping honst!