A few weeks ago I finished the final instalment in the Sookie Stackhouse novels (also previously known as the Southern Vampire Series), Dead Ever After. I loved it! It was everything I wanted in the final book to the series, and I think Charlaine Harris handled everything perfectly. I’m a newbie on this bandwagon, only getting into the series (which I sped through) this year, and for this reason I feel like there are many others who may need an introduction, despite these books being such bestsellers. These novels will be a perfect fit for some of you, and for others not even come close- so here’s a little guide to help you out.
Reasons why you should read these awesome books:
1. Sookie is a strong female lead. She works hard for what she has (despite inheritances). It is refreshing to have a practical character to read about.
2. The awesome love interests. Harris has a wonderful knack for getting just the right amount of romance and action. Mostly this means that the romance often takes the backseat in the plot, but when it pops up, it’s pretty darn great.
3. If you’re a fan of the supernatural, this book will fill your quota. From vampires to weres to fairies and even a couple demons and an elf, this book will keep you on your toes.
4. The Southern perspective. Reading about everyday life in the southern states (in any era) is always interesting because many parts of the life are so foreign to me.
5. The series is over. There are no more books to wait for. Instead, they’re waiting for you!
6. These are great, easy reads. No Nobel-prize winning literature here! Harris is talented and these books will and most definitely do, appeal to many readers. They’re easy to pick up and hard to put down.
7. Sookie is interesting to read about. When you have 13 books in first-person narrative this is a pretty good quality to have. To emphasize the first point, she is practical, moral and can often remind you of a friend you have in the real world. She isn’t as complex as some other great female leads, but because she is written so well, that’s her selling feature. Though we don’t share the same lifestyle, in most instances I felt like Sookie and I were very similar or relatable. It helped make the books more personable.
8. It will help make the tv show based off these novels, True Blood, make a lot more sense. It is awesome to have characters you love realized on the tv screen. Though the show is not my favourite (the plot changes are a little crazy/intense), it’s nice to spend a bit more time with these guys.
9. I am not going to spill the beans about how the final book ends, but if you’re really, really not wanting to have any inkling you may not want to read about my feelings on the most awesome major-series finale ever.
This was mostly due to how realistic and level-headed it was. While Sookie finds love and can see a very happy future ahead of her, at the same time she also realizes that if this romance were to fizzle out, she would still have a great life ahead of her. Maybe this doesn’t seem like much, but it struck a chord with me. How (unfortunately) rare this is! A female character whose happiness is not dependant on the man in her life! Kudos to you, Charlaine Harris.
Reason you Shouldn’t
1. You’re not into the whole ‘vampire thing’. Or love hexagons.
2. You’re not interested in reading the whole series. The books only get better.
3. You’re not open-minded enough to accept new characters/situations. Many a reader has lost their head at Sookie’s love life. If you’re going to freak out that she isn’t with your favourite guy, these books may not be healthy for you. (But you’ll probably love them.)
4. You’re not a fan of chick lit. These books pack in some serious drama, but they will not really appeal to readers who don’t like to vary into the chick lit genre.
5. You get prissy with the kissy. I love how this book blends in the romance with the rest of the story. There are no helpless damsels or, despite the many fantastical elements to this book, insane scenarios that really detract from the story. (Okay, maybe it can get a little crazy, but nothing compared to those Scottish romances.) I think Harris has the perfect touch, but what works for me may not work for you. Though there’s not a lot of bedroom action, if you’d rather not know than maybe these aren’t the right books for you.
6. You judge a book by it’s cover. The cover illustrations are not my favourite, but they’re at least unique and I’ve certainly seen worse. What I don’t like is the crazy adherence to having the word ‘dead’ in the title. It went way too far, and I can never remember which book is called what.
7. If you don’t like the idea of vampires drinking human blood, people transforming into their were-form, or having your great grandfather come visit you from another realm, these books are not for you.
8. You get squeamish with the literary bloodshed. Throughout the whole series quite a few people find themselves 6 feet under. These books are often banned from certain audiences, as I found out at the library a few months ago. It oddly felt like a walk of shame when the librarian pointed out that the book was on their display on banned books. But it was in the illustrious company of a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and To Kill a Mockingbird, which made me laugh.
9. You’re not a fan of the TV show. This is a hard point because the books are so much better. A lot of the characters on the show are barely in the books, and neither are their crazy plot twists (ie: all that Lillith insanity). But if you really hate the show, you’ll probably hate the books.
10. These guys just don’t do it for you: