This post will contain spoilers for the Sookie Stackhouse series, up to Deadlocked (book twelve).
I’ve been reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels for a few years now. I made sure to read at least the first book before watching the series, because I’m the sort of person who likes to do that.
Recently, I finished book twelve, Deadlocked. There is one more left to go, it was published this May but I haven’t managed to get a copy yet. And despite the fact that, from about book eight or nine, the series has gone steadily downhill, I will be reading it. I have to know what happens!
Do you ever have that with a series? You’ve stuck with it for so long, had so many ups and downs, that even though it’s getting so repetitive and things have happened that you’d rather forget about, you just have to finish it.
It all began with the brilliant first book, Dead Until Dark. We are introduced to Sookie, a waitress from Louisiana who is a bit… unusual. She happens to be a telepath, which has resulted in some people thinking she is a bit crazy. Charlaine Harris sets the background of the story up nicely: vampires have recently ‘come out’, that is they have revealed their existence, timed with the creation of synthetic blood by Japanese scientists. This means that they can live on this synthetic blood, without having to feed from humans. But some still do, and some humans enjoy it – they are known as fangbangers. And so the darker side of the story is revealed.
Sookie really is a great character. She’s strong, independent, hard-working, intelligent. When she meets Bill, she is intrigued but she doesn’t instantly fall for him, she’s not a swooning damsel in distress. In fact, she saves him. This is a character who has so many death threats, attempted murders and injuries throughout the series, that combined with her telepathic ability, it’s a miracle that she is still sane.
And it’s not just Sookie that’s a bit of a badass. There are so many fantastic characters through the series (so many characters in fact, that I have forgotten some…). There are vampires, werewolves, weretigers, werepanthers, shapeshifters, maenads, fairies, elves, witches – all cleverly entwined into a modern world. But of course, with that many amazing characters, there’s also some heartbreaking deaths. Claudette, Sookie’s fairy cousin, was quite possibly the one that got me the most.
To round this little section up: I love the series because it is just pure fun, fantastical creatures in the modern world, plus some sex and gore to make it just a little bit spicy!
Accurate representation of the series.
Charlaine Harris doesn’t hold back on any of that, which is what makes the series a true adult vampire series. In a world full of vampire books where the vampires are a bit… wimpy, it’s nice to have some proper vampires.
I’m also a fan of books set in the Southern US states. I now have a fascination with Louisiana and its history, thanks to Sookie.
So, why do I feel let down by the series recently?
When Charlaine Harris started writing the series, a quota was set down for thirteen books. I don’t know if that was when she actually wrote it, or when HBO picked the books up for TV, but now it really just feels like she is writing to fill that quota. And what other number but thirteen?
For me, the series really started to fall flat at the end of book nine (Dead and Gone). The Fairy War was a big event, and it feels almost like that should have been the culmination of the series, or close enough. I felt pretty hollow after that book, a bit like Sookie.
And from then on, it feels like Charlaine Harris is writing just to fill the pages. Sookie, I do not want to know every detail of your day. I did not need to know that you shaved your legs, or put out the rubbish. I don’t think the events of the Fairy War changed her from Sassy Sookie to Boring Narrator Sookie… I think the author just ran out of ideas.
Which brings me to Deadlocked. What an anti-climax! The whole plot with the cluviel dor, and Claude plotting against Niall – and it’s solved so quickly, without much fuss, that I couldn’t believe that was it. No big fight, no major drama. Just… a sudden end.
I don’t know what book thirteen holds. Eric is annoyed at Sookie, he’s disappeared off, possibly to hook up with Freda. I have no idea how Charlaine Harris plans to resolve everything (it better be action packed).
All I know is that despite not enjoying the last few books that much, I have to know how it ends.
Have you read the Sookie Stackhouse novels? What do you think of them?