Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sookie: A Disappointment

Sookie Stackhouse and Charlaine Harris may be old news. But I work at Hastings, where people rent True Blood, the TV series based on the books, where we have a bottled beverage called Tru Blood, and where yesterday I rearranged all of the copies of the Sookie Stackhouse series. So let's just say it's on my mind. I wrote this post a year ago and never finished it. I present it to you now.

When I first heard of the Sookie Stackhouse series, I was vaguely intrigued, but I didn't make the effort to read one until I saw a coworker with a copy and he raved about it. Dead Until Dark, the first in the Sookie Stackhouse series, presents an intriguing world: Vampires have "come out of the coffin," letting their existence be known to the larger world. They claim they are not the supernatural undead, but victims of a disease which makes them allergic to garlic, silver, and sunlight. People who like to be fed from and like to get in the vampires' pants are called fangbangers. Vampires trying to live among humans are said to be "mainstreaming."

Sookie Stackhouse, young sexy waitress with the ability to read minds, is excited when a vampire comes to her bar and orders a bottle of synthetic blood. As Sookie gets friendly with the vampire, young women with vampire bites are being found strangled about the town. So begins this vampire story turned murder mystery.

In my experience, contemporary vampire stories either romanticize vampires or make them horrible monsters; vampire books are either romances or horror stories. Think Twilight and I Am Legend.

Dead Until Dark falls into the former category. Our sexy young waitress has maybe two conversations with the sexy old vampire, and suddenly they're madly in love. Surprise surprise. What had started out as a quirky take on the vampire genre with a saucy narrator turns out to be just another virgin-meets-vampire story. What follows is a number of sex scenes that try to titillate you while retaining a modicum of modesty. I have an idea: Let's describe sex while refusing to use the word penis or any of its synonyms. Gag me with a spoon.

The best part of the Sookie Stackhouse series may be the covers. I have to admit, they fill me with joy. You can't tell from the pictures, but they have glitter on them. I'm a sucker for glitter.

Still, the book was entertaining enough for me to read to the end and kind of want to read the next in the series. The romance may have been a drag, but the murder mystery was engaging.

At this point in the post I was going to compare Sookie Stackhouse to Sunshine, another modern vampire tale, but I've forgotten most of what I was going to say and it's been a couple years since I read Sunshine. I'll mull it about in my brain and post on it later. Stay tuned.


  1. Glitter is fantastic. Especially in the card I received from you.

  2. Interesting review! :D I recommend giving the rest of the novels a chance (if you have the time). I found them to have just the right amount of humor and small-town flavor for my tastes.

    As someone who was turned on to the books through True Blood, I can definitely understand being disappointed by the lack of sex scenes in the series!

    I read all the books in rapid succession last summer, and what I found most enjoyable was watching the author grow. By the time I got to book 6 or 7 (which happened faster than you'd think) I couldn't put it down!

    Of course, I also fully understand that not everyone wants to read something that makes their brain feel giggly. :D


  3. @Erin

    The problem wasn't a lack of sex scenes, it was that the sex scenes were bad. They were trying to be sexy without actually describing sex, as if the author were scared of sex. Either leave sex out, or put it in fully. Don't be wishy-washy about it.

    Maybe I'll give the series another try someday when I...feel like it.