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Review: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

I made it! I cut it close for the end of the Sookie Stackhouse reading challenge (ending 6/30/2010), but here I am. Over the last year, I’ve read and posted reviews of the first 8 Sookie Stackhouse books.  This is my review of the 9th book. The collection of short stories and the tenth book (published a month or so ago), were not included in the challenge.  I’ll get to them at some time, but probably not immediately.

Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, #9)

So, on to my review of Dead and Gone.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

For Sookie Stackhouse, the day to day activities of the vampire and were communities in and around Bon Temps, Louisiana, are of vital interest, She’s blood-bound to the leader of the vamps, a friend to the local were pack, works for a man who is shifter, and has a brother who is a were-panther…

But for most of the humans in Bon Temps, the vamps are mysterious seductive creatures-and they don’t even know about the weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world.

At first it seems to go well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of the bar where Sookie works. The victim is someone she knows, so she feels compelled to discover who-human or otherwise-did the deed.

But what she doesn’t realize is that there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings–older, more powerful and far more secretive than vampires or werewolves– is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…

This will be a quick jotting down of my thoughts.

I liked Sookie in Dead and Gone.   She’s growing up a bit, she’s trying to think proactively, and is actively working to figure out what her place in the world is.

Of course, the world isn’t cooperating.

As always, vampire leader Eric has his own view of the situation.  The blood bond they share makes for a compelling argument, and he’s got some good logic and a really hot body on his side.

Her family relationships are getting more complicated by the day.  Her brother set her up into a very unpleasant situation, and doesn’t understand why she won’t forgive and forget.  She’s not willing to go that far, but she will work to prove his innocence when he may be implicated in a murder.  Her newly discovered great-grandfather has inadvertently put her in the middle of a faery war.

And so on.

There’s a lot of big action here, and less of it involves the weres than I would have though, given that they’ve now revealed themselves to the human world.  In the end, I enjoyed Dead & Gone for the smaller moments between the characters.

Audio Notes

I’ve listened to all but one of these books.  7 were available as downloads through my library.  I bought one of the missing books in paperback, and I bought this one from Audible.com.

Narrator: Johanna Parker.  I really like her voice, and I think it brings the southern feel of the book home for me.

Audio vs. print? I liked these on audio because they have a comfortable feel that keeps me company as I go through my day.  I’m not sure that the audio version added to my appreciation of the series , but it did fit better in my day.  Pick whatever way fits better in yours.

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Posted by on June 30, 2010 in books, reviews

 

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Audio Reviews: All Together Dead & From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

It seems that June is National Audiobook Month!  I’m not sure how this escaped my notice, except that I’ve been pretty distracted lately.

I’ll figure out some way to celebrate on my blog later this month, but I thought I’d start out with an audiobook review.  I looked through my recent listens, and realized I had not one but two Sookie Stackhouse books I hadn’t reviewed yet!  Here are short reviews of books 7 and 8 of the series.

All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #7)

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brief summary:

Sookie goes to the big vampire political event of the year.  Secret plots abound!

All in all, probably one of the better books in the series so far. It takes itself a little more seriously, which could be a negative as well.  This is a larger  scale adventure, and gets more into the organization and politics of vampire society as well as their relationships with the other supernatural groups.

I do think that bringing in super-bodyguards from another dimension was a bit much, and there was another “Really!?!” moment when reading that has slipped my mind.

I enjoyed seeing Sookie behave as a competent adult, and I liked having a little less focus on her love life.  It still played out in the book, but I didn’t feel like it was the most important thing.

The end of this book has consequences taking it into
From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse, #8)

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I didn’t like this one as much as the past two. It just never seemed to come together as well– there wasn’t anything in particular wrong with it.

Part of the problem comes when I try to summarize.  Hmm.

Sookie meets her great-grandfather. Someone tries to kill Sookie.  Sookie and her guys (minus Quinn)  try to address the problem.

I think the book felt like a transition.  There were a lot of little things that needed to happen, none of them quite supporting an entire book by itself.  Together, they filled one up.

I still enjoyed listening.  It was better than  Dead as a Doornail, when I was wondering if I’d finish the series.

I am looking forward to the next book, particularly the implications of the revelation at the very, very end of the book.  I almost missed it due to a playback issue.  I thought I was pretty much at the end, and almost didn’t go back to try again.  Don’t do that with this one!

Final notes

As always, I enjoyed Johanna Parker’s narration.   Her voice adds so much to my mental picture of Sookie.  Other than that, I don’t think that these books are better or worse on audio than reading them the traditional way.  Listening fits into my schedule, and I’ll continue that way.

I thought I’d missed the end of the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge, but I still have another month to go!  I should be able to listen to the 9th book this month and complete the challenge!

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2010 in books, reviews

 

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Review: Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #6)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank goodness, I enjoyed this one much more than the previous Sookie Stackhouse book!

Sookie has her love life under control, and is pursuing only one man– Quinn, a were tiger. She’s dealing with feelings from past relationships (or almost relationships), and that’s fine. We have an explanation for her rather extreme attractiveness to supernatural men.

I like how her relationship with Eric is playing out– she’s making it clear she isn’t falling in line as one of his subjects. Both are dealing with emotional fallout from past events, and are struggling for a grip on what this means to them.

I was interested in the background we get on Bill. I like the new character of Amelia.

Better yet, we have a plot or two! There were actual mystery/adventures that held my interest. There were also details of how vampire society works, and I always like that part of the world-building.

Looking around the net a bit, I found out there is a short story that falls between Dead as a Doornail and this one that fills in some of the details that I was wondering if I’d missed somewhere.

I read Dead as a Doornail for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge. This is book 6 of 9.

Other reviews:

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2009 in books, challenge, reviews

 

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Review: Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse, #5) My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This isn’t a full review, but does cover my main thoughts on the 5th Sookie Stackhouse book.

From Goodreads.com:

When Sookie’s brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population-and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks, unless the killer decides to find her first.

This is very clearly my least favorite Sookie book so far. The number of men drooling over Sookie has gotten ridiculous, particularly since she returns the interest of most of them. Pick any two of them, and it would be fine. I might even be able to stomach a third. But

  • Bill (vampire #1)
  • Eric (vampire #2)
  • Sam (shape changer)
  • Alcide (werewolf)
  • Calvin (werepanther)
  • Quinn (weretiger)

(and I feel like I’m forgetting one!) is just way too many.

Sookie StackhouseI’ll read the next one because (other than her extensive taste in men) I still like Sookie. I’m interested in what happens with Jason, and I did find the whole shapeshifter storyline in Dead as a Doornail interesting, but it was overshadowed by Sookie’s romantic possibilities.

I read Dead as a Doornail for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge.  This is book 5 of 9, with an end of year challenge deadline.

Other reviews:

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2009 in books, challenge, reviews

 

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Review: Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, Dead to the World may be my favorite Sookie Stackhouse book yet.

If you haven’t read this series, start at the beginning, with Dead Until Dark. It is a wonderfully fun world with a psychic waitress, lots of vampires, and a collection of werewolves and other shape changers. I’ve really enjoyed it (except when I tried to take the second book a little too seriously)!

In this book, vampire Bill has left the country after Sookie ended their relationship. (No causation implied. Probably.) Sookie is settling back into her normal life (or as normal as it gets for a psychic waitress). Returning home from work, she runs into (not quite literally) Eric, the local vampire leader. He’s wanted to be naked and in Sookie’s company for some time, but this isn’t quite how either of them pictured that happening.

In spite of her New Years resolution not to get beat up, Sookie ends up as bodyguard to a highly befuddled Eric. He’s been cursed by a group of witches that is new in town and looking for trouble, big time. Lowering Sookie’s odds of success in her vow is the disappearance of her brother, Jason. Local law enforcement figure he’s off for an extended sleep-over, so it is up to Sookie to figure out where he is.

That’s the set up. It just goes on from there…

I think the world is growing richer in each book, as we see into the communities of the different “supes” (supernaturals).

I loved kinder, gentler Eric (although it really took a lot of suspension of disbelief to think that’s what he’d be like if a curse stole his memory).

Sookie’s brother Jason is increasingly making decisions that bring him (unwillingly) into contact with the supes, and it will be interesting to watch his situation play out in future books.

I think Pam has possibilities for becoming a very interesting character.

Sookie had my sympathy, she’s finally coming to terms with her “disability” (psychic powers), but it isn’t making her life any better– she’s just getting drawn into more and more bad situations. This doesn’t seem to have any likelihood of changing soon.

I’m a little worried where Sookie’s love life is going to take her in subsequent books. She’s certainly in high demand. Will it go to her head? Will it be too much for her? Will the situation get silly?

I like that these books are quirky without getting silly, and I hope this balance is maintained in later books.

It’s interesting for me to reflect back– this is the first Sookie book I’ve read on paper rather than listened to. I think the series works equally well either way, so I’ll be returning to audio after this. I still wonder why Netlibrary has all but this one…

I read this book for the

Sookie Stackhouse 4 books down,
5 books left to go.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2009 in books, challenge, reviews

 

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(mini)Review: Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I had the right mind set for number 3 in this series.  (I took the second way too seriously, and didn’t enjoy it as much as the first). I have to say, I love Sookie Stackhouse. I’m still not so sure about those vampires!

Sookie takes off to track down (ex?-)boyfriend Bill. She performs feats of great bravery, every sentient male (whether human, vampire or shape shifter)  she meets falls at her feet (except a couple that are gay) and (big surprise) all is well in the end.

OK, so it is ridiculous. But ridiculous is what I wanted when I picked up these books. I missed it in the previous book (that may have just been me), but this time, full speed ahead!

I read this book for the

Sookie Stackhouse

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2009 in books, challenge, reviews

 

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Review: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, #2)My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I didn’t like this book as well as Dead Until Dark, probably because this wasn’t the book I was expecting.

From Goodreads.com:

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.

I read this book as part of the
Sookie Stackhouse

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in books, challenge, reviews

 

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