Tag Archives: Sookie Stackhouse

How Are They Doing?

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You’ve followed the protagonist and her friends and enemies through a whole series of books, finally closing the last volume with a sigh… So, which character would you like to revisit to see how they’re now getting on? Thanks to Anastasia, who first posed this question here, I’ve compiled my own list of top ten characters I’d like to catch up with.
In no particular order…
1. Corporal Carrot from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett – Okay – I lied. There is an order – GuardsGuardsbecause this wonderful body of work has to be one of the major starting points for any speculative fiction fan. And why Corporal Carrot out of the cast of Discworld characters? Because if anyone is liable to suddenly march out of obscurity and into a Hero’s storyline, then it’s got to be Corporal Carrot. And I’m betting even an ordinary day in his life is probably rather more event-filled than most folks – particularly if he and Angua ever get around to producing offspring…
2. Johan Eschback from the Ghosts of Columbia series by L.E. Modesitt Jr – This fascinating series is set in an alternate world where America was settled by the Dutch – and large parts of the world are uninhabitable because whenever anyone suffers a violent death, they return as ghosts able to cause havoc to the living. Johan Eschback is a retired secret agent, now happily remarried to an opera singer, who finds himself unable to turn down an offer to resume his former career in a series of enthralling adventures. I’d love to peep back into his life and ensure that he and the lovely Llysette are still thriving…
3. Jarra from the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards – This YA science fiction trilogy follows the adventures of Jarra, who is part of a minority of humans trapped on Earth due to an allergic reaction she suffers whenever travelling offplanet – leading to discrimination by the majority of humanity who have now relocated to more desirable planets. Is Jarra enjoying her new role? I really hope she retains all her energy and enthusiasm which makes her such an engaging protagonist.
4. Tintaglia from The Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb – This series of four books set in Hobb’s world concentrates on the dragons and their keepers struggling to find the fabled dragon city. Tintaglia has to be the most defiantly self-centred and arrogant protagonist I’ve ever cared about – and I’d love to know if the beautiful blue dragon is still engrossed in her own affairs to the exclusion of everyone and everything else.
5. Sookie Stackhouse from the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris – I read all the books and Deaduntildarkeven followed the first couple of series on TV until I decided that it was all a bit too gory. While the TV series followed the storyline of the books reasonably closely, it couldn’t successfully recreate the dry humour that ran throughout Sookie’s first person narrative, which makes her a solid favourite of mine. Is she still well and happy? I’d love to drop in and find out.

6. Nadia Stafford from the Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong – This entertaining trilogy features an ex-policewoman who embarked on a career as a hit woman after being kicked off the force for taking the law into her own hands. The story arc over this enjoyable thriller/whodunit series with a difference is a cracking read – and I’d love to know that if the choices Nadia finally made are still working for her…
7. Jon from the Jon and Lobo series by Mark L. Van Name – This science fiction romp is about a duo, so I suppose I should have also added Lobo’s name. Jon is an ex-labrat who has done some fairly awful things in his time – and teamed up with Lobo, a mouthy AI. Together they are a formidable twosome who try to provide might for the right. With mixed results… I love the non-stop action and sharp dialogue that accompanies this entertaining, well written offering. And would like to think that Jon enjoys a measure of peace in his life – though I have my doubts, given he has Lobo alongside…
8. Matthew Swift from the Midnight Mayor series by Kate Griffin – To say that Matthew is a troubled soul is something of an understatement, given that he’d been murdered and spent two years living in the wires cris-crossing London before being reincarnated as the spiritual saviour of the city. I’d like to think he is now putting his feet up – but somehow have my doubts. He does occasionally put in an appearance in Griffin’s spinoff series – and I wait patiently to see if he settles down. Or better still, steps away from the gruelling post of Midnight Mayor.
9. Lila from the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson – This genre mash-up is a tour de force and I still find myself sliding back to considering these remarkable books. The premise is that a quantum bomb has allowed creatures from other realities to bleed through into our world without anyone really noticing… And yes – you’re right. It sounds mad, but Robson makes it work. I’d love to know that Lila is still raising hell somewhere. Preferably a safe distance from where I am.
10. Devi from the Paradox series by Rachel Bach – This enjoyable space opera romp featuring adrenaline œF$¿Æ‘$8Òò¤»däå¸R8BIjunkie Devi, who gets into more scrapes than I’ve had hot dinners, is a blast from start to finish. And I’d like to think that she and Rupert are still dancing around each other and causing sufficient chaos to keep them happy, though probably – knowing Devi – she’s probably up to her eyebrows in trouble.

Those are my choices for protagonists I got to know and would love to be able to just peep into their futures and ensure everything is still going smoothly for them. Who would you like to revisit and check out?

Review of Deadlocked – Book 12 of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

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Our favourite cocktail waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, is once more embroiled in another adventure… A young girl has died at a vampire party – and it looks as though her lover, Eric, might be responsible. Eric swears he didn’t do it, the police don’t believe him, and even Sookie isn’t so sure. Nor is she inclined to take his word for it, having caught him enjoying the victim’s blood minutes before she was killed.

deadlockedBut something strange is going on. Why was Sookie asked to come to the fateful party a few minutes early – just to catch Eric in the act? And why had the victim spiked her own blood before approaching Eric? Was it simply because she wanted to be irresistible, or was it something more sinister?  Sookie will have to find out… but it’s the worst moment to investigate, as her Fae family are having troubles of their own and Sookie is, inevitably, drawn in.

This is the penultimate book in the series, and I think even if you didn’t actually know it, there is a sense of Harris drawing together various storylines and starting to provide us with the concluding storylines for some of the main players in this popular, likeable series. There is a marked darkening in the overall tone of this book. Sookie is increasingly unhappy with her single status as her biological clock is chiming… There is also a significant lack of steamy sex in this book. Having turned 28 and experienced enough tumult in the last few years of her life to fell an ox (the two-natured kind, of course) Sookie is bound to be tired of constantly being in danger – and fed up with the lop-sided power ratio in her relationship with Eric. Even the most infatuated girlfriends start counting the cost when they have to continually drop everything to spend quality time with that special someone – and Eric is never going to do contented domesticity. While Sookie is, at heart, an intensely domesticated woman…

Hooray for Harris having the guts to shine a bit of honest relationship reality in amongst the supernatural murder and mayhem! So, does Deadlocked unduly suffer with Sookie so depressed? Well, the pace is certainly slower than the usual headlong rush – but that didn’t find me wanting to skim or skip. I was enjoying catching up with the other characters, while appreciating Sookie’s issues. It’s refreshing to find a feisty female protagonist struggling to cope.

Harris is clearly cranking up the overarching story climax ready for the final denouement in the final book of the series, Dead Ever After, due to be released next year. In the meantime, does the murder investigation in Deadlocked reach a credible conclusion? Yes, I think it does. Like many others, I’d already guessed who had killed the girl well before the end – but that isn’t the heart of this plot. The other issue surrounding Sookie’s unique qualities were being addressed in this book – I’m going to some lengths to avoid Spoiler territory, here – which was one plot-point waving in the wind that was starting to annoy me, anyhow. So I was quite happy to see Harris tie it into previous storylines and other characters, while providing yet more information on Sookie’s background. I happen to think that she is one of the most competently written main characters in urban fantasy and all that Deadlocked has done is confirm that opinion.

I know that I’ll miss my annual visit to Bon Temps, but the way that Harris is winding up the series makes some kind of crisis leading to a step-change in Sookie’s fortunes an inevitability. All I’m hoping is that poor Sookie ends up with someone who will ultimately make her happy – and I, for one, am not convinced that someone should be Eric…
9/10

Review of Dead Reckoning – Book 11 of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

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So… with the TV adaptation of this series by HBO acclaimed by both critics and fans and as yet another volume hits the bookshelves, the question has to be – has Harris managed to give us yet another slice of Sookie magic? Is she able to still deliver the freshness and appeal of our favourite cocktail waitress after she’s been through more scary adventures than you’d want in a lifetime?

Sookie Stackhouse is a cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. It’s a job that has its own challenges, but now the vampires and thedead reckoning shapeshifters are finally ‘out’, you’d think the supernaturals would get on with each other. But nothing is that simple in Bon Temps! …and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble’s way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is known to be two-natured, suspicion immediately falls on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but before she can investigate something else – something even more dangerous comes up.

Sookie’s lover, Eric Northman and his ‘child’ Pam are plotting something in secret. Whatever it is, they seem determined to keep Sookie out of it, almost as determined as Sookie is to find out what is going on. She can’t sit on the sidelines when both her work and her love life are under threat – but as their plans gradually become clear, Sookie finds the situation is deadlier than she could ever have imagined.

And there you have it. As you’ll have gathered from the blurb, Harris is still capable of delivering a plot full of narrative tension and adventure as Sookie is plunged once more into the heart of vampire politics. As the plot drew me in and once more whisked me off into Bon Temps alongside Sookie, I was once more filled with admiration at how adroitly Harris avoids pitfalls other less able writers nosedive into. For starters, Harris doesn’t assume that everyone who picks up Dead Reckoning has read any or all of the previous books in the series. There is the odd explanatory sentence slipped in as to who all the characters are and a quick mention of a previous incident – also very handy for the more forgetful of her fans. And – even more importantly – Harris ensures right at the start of the book, there is a scene featuring Sookie in trouble to bond her with the readers, either for the first time or reintroduce her to those of us who have read one or three other books since the last time we lost ourselves in a Sookie adventure… It’s a neat trick. One I wish other multi-book authors would use more often (Jim Butcher, John Scalzi, C.J. Cherryh and Lois McMaster Bujold are among the honourable exceptions who also successfully employ this strategy). It’s exasperating to wade through a sequel with a boring protagonist I really cared about in the first book, because the author hasn’t made the effort to establish that main character with the readership, again.

I’ve always enjoyed Sookie’s character and the bone-dry humour threading through the books – and this book continues to deliver, as we see her on one hand wandering around with a handbag full of stakes while planning a baby shower for her friend, Tara. I enjoy the tension between all the supernatural happenings and Sookie’s efforts to keep on top of the housework and going to work. No one else manages to weave the mundane and weird together so well, heightening one with the everyday contrast and sharpening our sympathy with someone who also struggles to keep her house clean and tidy…

I was slightly startled to register that I plucked this book off the shelf marked ‘Horror’. Of course it is a judgement call – one person’s urban fantasy is another person’s horror, but I do worry whether the steamy, blood-soaked depiction of Bon Temps by the folks at HBO are skewing expectations of this delightful series. Yes, Sookie’s sexual encounters are described, but Harris isn’t anything like as graphic as many other writers in the sub-genre – and certainly doesn’t go in for a blow-by-blow account of the naked writhings HBO insists on showing us. While I do think that HBO have absolutely nailed the sense of the world and have managed to get Sookie, Bill, Eric and Pam physically very close to Harris’s creations, a lot of the humour that leavens the horror is missing.

While I’ll continue to tune into True Blood, I still feel that the TV series is lacking some of the best elements of the books. This is one of a handful of worlds I happily reread, and the latest offering, Dead Reckoning, still delivers Sookie with all her vivid Southern charm.

10/10