Charles de Lint said once that the current urban-fantasy novels are highly focused on character, and that readers like or dislike a series based on whether they connect with the protagonist. (I wish I could find that quote!) Based on this, I’m not surprised that Charlaine Harris has, as I write this review, the top three best-selling fantasy titles on Amazon. Disclaimer: I’ve only read this first book so far, and haven’t seen the TV series. But from what I’ve seen, Sookie Stackhouse is a delight.
Sookie is a Louisiana waitress with telepathic abilities. She sees her telepathy as a disability, not a gift; it’s brought her a lot of trouble over the years and hampered her social life and love life. Other than the telepathy, though, she’s a fairly normal woman. Sookie stands out among the impossibly tough heroines who populate this subgenre. She’s brave, yet vulnerable, and she knows her limits. Best of all, she’s funny! I really liked spending time “in her head,” and I think I spoke with a slight Southern twang for a day or two afterward!
Her life gets complicated when Bill, a handsome vampire, walks into her bar one night. To Sookie’s shock and delight, she can’t read his thoughts! Then, when her telepathy tips her off that his dining companions have foul play in mind, she rescues him and their romance begins.
Soon, Sookie finds herself tangled up in vampire politics and a murder mystery. The story is fast-paced and suspenseful. I was especially on the edge of my seat at one point when Bill may or may not have been killed, and Sookie has no way of knowing whether he’s OK until the sun goes down. Sookie’s fear and sadness come right through the page.
I enjoyed Dead Until Dark, and I’ll definitely be reading further in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
It’s easy to see why this series is so popular. Sookie’s a likable character who’s got a great voice. Readers who like paranormal romances should enjoy this series. However, Dead Until Dark didn’t quite work for me. Though I like Sookie, I didn’t like many of the other characters or the redneck backwoods setting and, most of all, I was bored by the romance, which was a main focus of the story. I listened to the audio version read by Johanna Parker. She was awesome. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone who likes paranormal romance in a rural Southern setting. It’s just not for me.
Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire / True Blood) — (2001-2013) A Touch of Dead is a collection of short stories. Publisher: Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life — and one of her coworkers checks out… Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.