I didn’t like this book as well as Dead Until Dark, probably because this wasn’t the book I was expecting.
Waiting tables, sweeping floors, reading minds and solving mysteries for the undead. It’s all in a day’s work for Sookie…
Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of real bad luck. First, her co-worker gets murdered and no one seems to care. Then Sookie is attacked – and poisoned – late one night by some weird and apparently mythical beast. She only survives because the local vampires roll up and graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it). But in return the blood-suckers need a favor.
Which is why Sookie ends up in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire, on the condition that her undead friends don’t do anything, well, vampiric while she’s there. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…
So, starting with the bad news (at least for me):
This book wasn’t as quirky as the first. It seems to be going more for serious issues mixed in with the adventure, rather than the straight fun I enjoyed last time. Thinking back on Dead Until Dark, I recognized themes about how we treat people who are different, but they weren’t what I was paying attention to while reading.
I also didn’t really like how the two stories in this book were handled. One was introduced, the story jumps over to the second, once it’s resolved it is back to the first. This bugged me, since they were so unrelated to each other.
The characters were also a mixed bag for me this time around.
As Sookie develops her special skills and gets more vampire blood into her, she becomes more of a superwoman and less of the normal person in a crazy world that attracted me to her in the first place. She’s developing into an interesting character, just a different one.
I really didn’t like the direction Sam went. He didn’t seem like the same character to me. He was less fully fleshed out as a character, but served more as a plot device.
The book examined Bill’s vampire side more deeply– getting philosophical about what are reasonable behavioral expectations for a vampire. It followed this into several other vampire characters, and looked at the question of what is right/wrong from several angles.
It also (briefly) looked at the moral implications of a human/vampire relationship. It didn’t stick with this, just went back to the hot sex– which is more of what I was expecting to start with. Not the details of the sex, but the fun of a relationship which wouldn’t really work, but who cares? It makes a good story.
I’m interested in the world that is being revealed, with other supernatural creatures. It is filling out quite nicely, even if it is more serious and political than I expected.
The thing is that, other than the structural issue I mentioned above, this book did a very good job with what it was doing. It just wasn’t the book I was expecting. The rating may well not be fair. But life isn’t fair– not in real life, and certainly not in this book.
I’d decided before starting this book to take a short break before continuing on to the next one. I think that is probably a good call for me. I’ll reset my expectations in the interval.