For some reason I’ve slacked off on the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mysteries from Charlaine Harris. I think that the stories don’t seem to hold my interest as much, at least the last book, “Dead in the Family,” didn’t. I was browsing the internet looking for more books to load up on my iPod when I saw that Charlaine Harris was releasing a new book. I then realized that I had missed one, and since this series is not one to jump into in the middle, I had to go back and get this one from last year first. While each can be read as a single story, they tend to refer to events and ideas introduced in previous novels, and it just works out better if you have all the books under your belt and preferably in order.
To begin with, Johanna Parker is remarkable in her reading of the series, her voice sounds just like what Sookie Stackhouse should sound like. If you are a fan of the HBO series “True Blood,” you probably already know that the series is based on these books. Anna Paquin plays the part of Sookie in the series and does a good job, but I think the voice work of Johanna Parker is better. Parker is also able to let the listener know when other characters are speaking with subtle voice changes. She does a nice job capturing the spirit of the other characters, but she has Sookie down perfect.
Since it is almost impossible to recap all the books in the series in one article, I will give you a quick overview of what is going on up to this book.
Basically the world of Sookie Stackhouse is filled with all sorts of supernatural creatures. The vampires have revealed themselves to the world and are in the process of becoming accepted citizens in the world. Seeing the success of this, the were-creatures (were-wolves, were-panthers, were-tigers) have recently revealed themselves as well. As you can guess, the religious right are protesting these abominations, and there are certain factions of people who want the supernatural beings dead.
In another twist of supernatural fate, Sookie herself has discovered she is half-faery. The faery and fae have recently gone back to their realm and have closed all portals to the human world. Some faeries have stayed behind, some willingly and some not.
Sookie herself has dug a deeper hole for herself in the supernatural culture by falling in love and being married, technically, to Eric Northman, the Sheriff of an area of Louisiana which includes Bon Temps, Sookies hometown, and Shreveport. The vampire world is run by Kings and Queens of regions which in the United States runs along with state borders. Recently, the Queen of Louisiana has been killed and the area is under the Rule of the king of Nevada, Felipe de Castro. Felipe has sent his second in command, Victor, to Louisiana to watch over the area. The problem is, Victor seems to want power for himself and sees Eric as someone to conquer. Eric sees Victor as someone to kill.
In this book, friends and enemies from Sookie’s past are causing problems. Sandra Pelt, a werewolf whose sister was killed by Sookie, has a score to settle. Victor is challenging Eric’s position and, in other ways, threatening her friend and employer Sam Merlotte, a shape-shifter. Sookie’s Great-uncle Dermot and cousin Claude, a couple of Faeries, are making themselves at home in Sookie’s house in the aftermath of the separation with the faery world. Amelia and Bob, a couple of witches from New Orleans come to make sure the wards to keep the evil out of Sookie’s home make a mistake and nearly wrecking Sookie and Eric’s relationship. Bill Compton, or Vampire Bill, Sookie’s first vampire lover, admits he’s still in love with Sookie. Meanwhile, Sookie is learning more about her grandmother Adele’s relationship with her half-fairy grandfather Fintan.
So with all these faeries, werewolves, witches and even a vampire Elvis, Sookie has to find out who is trying to kill her and destroy Merlotte’s bar.
I think that if all the love story aspects were thrown out then I’d be more interested and wouldn’t have to play catch-up to get the latest book. I just really like the fun romp in the supernatural world while trying to solve mysteries. Almost like Scooby-Doo but with more adult content.