Review: Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, Books #1-11 Widgets

    Sookie Stackhouse aka Southern Vampire
Charlaine Harris; Published May 1st 2001-May 3rd 2011 by Ace
Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is no typical Southern belle. She can read minds. And she’s got a thing for vampires. Which, in a town like Bon Temps, Louisiana, means she’ll have to watch her back-and neck..
 – Goodreads on Sookie Stackhouse 8 Volume Set

Okay…okay, this is going to be the sort of review I don’t generally do. The spoiler-y, ranting review; if you don’t know the sort, you will when I’ll be done with it. If you haven’t read all the 11 books until now, you might want to skip over this review. I’m sorry, but I can’t help it! *sigh*

I have chosen to speak of the whole package of novels published up to date in the series, instead of going on a book by book case, since I’ve read them all this week and not one at a time, year by year. I see a pattern here…the next one will be published in May next year, won’t it? All of them seem to be published beginning of May, each year, since 2001. I tip my hat to anyone that had so much strength to wait, time after time, for the new novel to be published. I’ve been putting off reading the novels for years already, waiting for the last one to be published before I’d buy them all and read them in one go. Obviously, as it turns out, I was only able to put it off for so long, and last week I fell in the vampire trap.

Also, I’m one of those that have seen the show first, and then read the books. It may be suspected of me that my likes and dislikes for the books might have been influenced by the TV series cast – such an observation would be pertinent, perhaps. But aside putting on each character from the show a really clear face for the books, I don’t really think it influenced me much.

Action-wise, I think all of the novels so far are on the awesome side. The pace, of course, differs from one novel to the other; one of the slower paced is Book 11, I believe. It’s also the one that gave me some frustrating tangent ideas about the series coming to an end, but I’ll get into that a bit later.
 As far as plotting, scheming, and generally convoluted plans go, all of the books were pretty well packed. What I like the most of Charlaine Harris‘s world are the vampires, and the vampire society, if we can call it that. They’re quite different one from the other, but keep a sum of traits well enough to set them well apart other species of the Harris world. Of all the species, I like the humans the least, I must admit. Not that she hasn’t written them well, she has, in fact she has written them so well, that I dislike them most of the time – that’s a reaction I generally have for real people only.
 The shifters, faes and vampires make a really interesting crowd. Of course, they’ll be disrespectful with one another, hold grudges, act all nasty, and in this Harris‘s beings hold a horribly human streak, no matter how supernatural they seem to be.
 The plot thickens all the time, but it retains a certain density above which it doesn’t really seem to go. After a few of the novels, I found whatever the twists and turns were, and there are enough of them each and every time, there’s a sort of constant beat to it, and a chorus of sorts, that doesn’t suffer drastic change. I find that comforting, not disappointing. The author has built her world, and she envisions all sorts of things happening in it; the game of sum 0 is one of the things that really makes it all feel so beautifully real, and sort of addictive.

Now, as far as my favorites go, Sookie Stackhouse is not on the list. I disliked her in the TV show, and I dislike her in the books. I don’t hate her, but I dislike her. There’s something about her thought process that just irks me; maybe it’s the hypocritical take on things that she just refuses to evolve out of; Sookie seems to me like the rather simple minded, prejudiced sort, deep down inside. Of course, that only makes her more real. I’m not blaming her for it, she’s a simple woman, though with a very special gift, from a relatively simple world, for the major part of her life. Then all sorts of heaven and hell break loose on her, and considering it all, I think she copes quite well.
 What I sort of dislike about her is the fact that she seems to have grown to understand and/or sort of accept some things, and then, a bit later, she’s shocked by it again, and goes through the denial stage, and then struggles with it again, and then accepts/understands it, and then we go all through it…again! It’s a bit too unstable for my personal liking. And when it’s met with the eternal pragmatism of the vampires around her, it sticks out all the more, fact that is, I am sure, thoroughly intentional, but I’ll elaborate on that a bit later.
 Generally speaking, I don’t agree with Sookie’s thinking a lot of the time, and I don’t like her choices, but I’d go along for the ride for one simple reason: no matter how irksome Sookie Stackhouse may be, there’s a lot of interesting characters mingling in her crowd.

The vampires are the masterpiece bit of the whole series; of course, I’d think so, I’ve been fascinated with the notion since I was 7 yo. Charlaine Harris‘s vampires are nothing short of spectacular, really showing off their cultural diversity and the many changes in mentality and character-patterns all through history.

Bill Compton, Sookie’s first lover, and vampire lover as well (way to start it off, Sook  ), seems to be grating on my nerves, more so in the novels then in the TV show, in fact. As far as I’ve seen and read, he’s the one character that suffers the most changes translated from book to TV show, and boy was I surprised. There are a lot of differences between the novels and the show, and since I understand there are 2 novels more to go and then the series ends, I’m glad the TV show has gone such a different way – it gives me hope I’ll see more of my favorites even when the novel series will be over.

Those favorites are Eric Northman and his “child”, Pam. Of course, predictable, right? Eric (the) Northman, a Viking turned a whole lotta area sheriff hunk in present times, is nothing else but drool-worthy. He’s a vicious fighter, a take-charge without assuming it sort of man, he’s charismatic, witty, very well mannered (unless pi$$ed off, in which case he’s sort of ruthless and deadly…*yum*), sophisticated (though I suppose one becomes that automatically after living for 1000 years or so?)…and hot, did I mention hot? He’s drop dead gorgeous, in pretty much all the ways. Pam is very much like him, a female version of him in many ways, so it stands to reason they’d be my favorites.
 Though I could easily see Eric as feeling provoked to conquer and claim Sookie, I wouldn’t have seen him as the type to actually have feelings for her; or anyone else, actually. If you’re 1000 years old, and are keenly aware chances are you’ll live thousands more if all goes well, I don’t see how you’d actually be able to have really intense feelings any more, but that’s obviously a very personal view of things. If I would see him getting involved with someone, I’d see him get involved with another vampire, not a human being, and the burning passion might be an element there, but emotional intensity I would not have thought of.
 It does make a lot of sense to me that the amnesic Eric falls for Sookie, and that she falls for him; that’s the very human version of Eric, the much easier to live with morally I presume, the emotional Eric – the Eric that has probably died in his first hundred years of life. I was very surprised that the affair went on when he was his former self, but I figured his amnesic time had woken up in him a more human, caring, feeling part, that didn’t exactly die off when his memories returned.

This all, coupled with the very human reaction that Sookie has at the end of Book #11 of the series, makes me seriously doubt they’ll end up together in the end. The author weaves also a very convenient and frankly logical end for the 1000-years-old vampire and the 20 something woman couple, and I have a feeling Sookie’s happy ending won’t be with Eric, if she gets one.
 I hate that, because if they are involved until the end, then there’ll be more Eric in the remaining books. Of course, considering he seems to be more present when he’s a frenemy then a lover, it might be more of a joyride if they aren’t a couple.

Anyways, I’m really really looking forward to finding out if my suspicions will turn out to be on the money or not. Unfortunately, if they stick to schedule, I’ll have to wait a lot of months before finding out. From the author’s FAQ section on her webiste, I clearly see Eric will not be turned human by Sookie with the help of the fairy artifact that she finds in the attic-stored desk, so that happy ending is out of the picture as well. If Eric isn’t in the picture, she can end up with anyone as far as I’m concerned, it could be Sam, it could be Bill, it could be some random guy from the gas station, won’t do much of a difference for me.
 What I really really hope is Eric doesn’t get killed off in one of the two upcoming books, or I’m gonna get royalty pi$$ed off with the whole thing.
 Best case scenario for me? That the author starts a spin-off series mainly about or heavily starring Eric; he’s freaking fangtabulous, yumfull and bloody delicious

Ah, anyways, all in all, I really do recommend the series; the characters are well written, whether you’ll like some of them or not, the plot is rich with action of all kinds (fu~fu), there’s all sorts of creatures and adventures awaiting you, with a healthy dose of humor and some angsty-feel to top it off.
 If you’re thinking, “No point in reading the books, I’m watching the TV show!”, you’re sorely mistaken, there are enough differences between them to make the stories relatives, but not identical twins  So go ahead and read them, we’ll fidget together about the upcoming book in the series, and we’ll fangirl over Eric together too!!

And, to end this is on an appropriate note, I give you the ultimate hot-stud (thank GOD they cut his hair short, his hunk factor skyrocketed after that) that I’ve constantly been thinking about, each and every time Eric (the) Northman is mentioned in all of the books.

I’d sure as hell go Viking, wouldn’t you?  Roarrrr!!


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